What's so racist about Blackface?

Jun 2013
Why not ask a harder question. If a young person loves the music of Diana Ross and admires Diana Ross, how is dressing in a costume that represents Diana Ross, related to all that "blackface" represented? The same if someone admired Sitting Bull and wanted to dress in costume that made them look like Sitting Bull, in order to honor Sitting Bull, not to mock him or Native Americans? There are heralded White Americans that were responsible for the death of many thousands of Native Americans. What of the statuary of CSA heroes?

How do we resolve the differences of opinion about what is offensive, what is not, with or without context? How far does it go and why and what happens, when it comes around to some people who think being "PC" is foolishness, when all of the sudden, they find themselves wanting to be "PC" about something that offends them? What are the tests used to determine legitimate feelings of being offended with a real consensus, what determines that which might very well be legitimate feelings to a small few, but are not considered offensive by the vast majority of those that share the same characteristics (like skin color, religion, ethnicity......) as the few that are offended? Again, isn't context vital to determinations in many, if not most cases? Same with education and being informed.

Most of the world and people of all ages are familiar with Hitler and what he did. While some might have some strange attraction to Hitler and the NAZI party, there is little, in ANY context, that one might admire about them. The same with "Blackface" for anyone that is informed about it, in context. People were NOT dressing up as blacks to honor and admire them, they were doing so to mock them. At the same time, a young white girl who absolutely loves the music of Diana Ross and Diana Ross herself, is hardly the same. She is not dressing up to mock Diana Ross or to mock them, but to emulate how great they think what they accomplished is. In some ways one could consider someone dressing up as Diana Ross as being racist, as taking away credit from people of their own race or from blacks, suggesting that no white people might have a reason to admire a black person. What would someone think of a white person dressing up as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? Would they equate that to "blackface"? Still, context is important as someone can dress up as anything or anyone, for a variety of reasons, two of those reasons being to mock of to admire. Sometimes context is easy to identify, sometimes it is not. "Blackface" would be as hard to put into a good context as trying to do the same as Hitler. Dressing up as Diana Ross or Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be harder, but for someone acting in such costumes in ways that demonstrate a mocking disrespect for them related to their race. A lot of times, context has to do with current times, as well as history. ANYONE dressing up as Bill Cosby for Halloween 30 years ago would not have had anyone think twice about it and many thinking of Cosby as a respected person. Now, dressing up in a Bill Cosby costume, again, by ANYONE would NOT be viewed by most as representing something good, and not necessarily because of Cosby's skin color, but because of what he was determined to be guilty of.

Someone, no matter what their skin color, dressing up as Donald Trump, might be taken in numerous and varied ways, from it being okay or funny, to representing a lot of things some do not like about Trump, like adultery, lying, fraud, narcissism, greed, gluttony and more, so conceivably it could be deemed offensive by as many or more than find it the opposite, depending upon context and the interaction.

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