Why hello there!
Every year before Halloween I try to warn people not to wear blackface for Halloween. So let's get started shall we?
Sassy, what's the big deal about blackface?
Blackface has a troubling racial history with African-Americans. It's considered offensive which is why people of all ethnicities react so strongly when people who aren't black darken their skin to portray a black character for Halloween.
From the website http://black-face.com/
Blackface makeup was either a layer of burnt cork on a layer of coca butter or black grease paint. In the early years exaggerated red lips were painted around their mouths, like those of today's circus clowns.
Minstrel show entertainment included imitating black music and dance and speaking in a "plantation" dialect. The shows featured a variety of jokes, songs, dances and skits that were based on the ugliest stereotypes of African American slaves.
White audiences in the 19th Century wouldn't accept real black entertainers on stage unless they performed in blackface makeup.
In short, blackface was meant to show that blacks were inferior and lower than humans and more closer to animals.
Ok Sassy but I'm not darking my skin to make fun of black people, I'm not racist! It's just a costume!
Are many people who dress up and darken their skin thinking "hee hee today I'll be racist!", I don't believe so at all! But that doesn't change the fact that the history behind it is racist. You can do something racist and not be racist.
BUT IT'S JUST A COSTUME!
A COSTUME is hair, clothes, affectations, not skin color. If your costume is good enough you do not need to darken your skin to portray that character. For example:
Miley Cyrus dressed as Nicki Minaj:
You can instantly tell who she is by her clothes and expression. She didn't need to darken her skin to do that.
This man dressed as Prince:
In short if your costume is great you don't need to add the extra of putting on bronzer or whatever else to darken your skin to show what person you are portraying.
Whatever Sassy this is America! I'll dress how I want for Halloween!
That's what so great about this country! You have the RIGHT to darken your skin on Halloween if you want. No one can stop you.
At the same time, people also have the right to complain about your outfit if they see it on social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram are powerful tools as these 3 people are finding out this week:
Do they have a right do it? Sure? Do people have a right to react? Sure they do. If I dressed up as a victim of the Boston Bombing how quick do you think Clearchannel would be contacted about my outfit? Exactly.
Why am I telling you all this? Because by the end of this week someone will be fired over a costume they wore using blackface that was shared on social media. A fraternity/sorority headquarters are going to have to send out a national apology for some of it's chapter members throwing an innappropiate party with images similiar to the one above and suspend that local chapter, DON'T LET THIS BE US DETROIT I'M COUNTING ON YOU!
Have a great Halloween!