No, Blackface is not OK!

2014-08-07 02:52

Respect the position of people that aren't you. It’s social intelligence.

Blackface minstrelsy was an important novelty and performance tradition that gained popularity in the UK and the United States in the 19th century. And it is problematic not least because it promotes dangerous stereotypes about people of color. In these caricatures, blacks were regularly portrayed on stage by white people as lazy buffoons who lie, steal, cheat, and who could not speak English properly. That’s what they thought about us at the time, so if you don’t know why people take offense to it, that’s why. Minstrel performers did their best to appropriate the stereotypes of black people and other ethnic minorities for a laugh, insisting on how freakish, uneducated and unlike white people blacks were. That’s the commentary blackface always makes.

In 2014 no one should be telling white people that #blackface is wrong. It is offensive.  Blackface represents a time when white people would paint their faces black and act out incredibly racist and offensive stereotypes about black people. This goes back years and years ago. The symbolism of a blackface is insensitive and racist. This is a fact and it’s not up for a debate. Knowing white people when it comes to matters of race, the attitude towards blackface is that it’s just face paint and shouldn't be taken as offensive. It’s the same thing as using the K-word and saying you not racist. Who you trying to fool here? If you racist. Be racist. That is not going to change. Don't try and justify your racist act.

What I find more offensive with this racist act is that there’s always that black person  who wants to defend such an act or defend racist offensive words. This is how black people that have gone through a weakening process think. The mind is still colonised (Gert calls someone a K-word and Sipho his friend defends him “Gert is not racist, I’m sure he was just tired”)

Now these are the type of people that need to go through the process of Decolonising the Mind because they still see white as better, they the ones who makes jokes about black when around white people. They will do anything to fit in the “white community”. Those black people still need to go through that process of decolonising the mind, it is never too late. It is important to de-colonise the mind before de-colonising the body; if the mind continues to be trapped within the walls of colonial interpretations then the freedom of the physical anatomy would be rendered futile. The compulsive need to be recognized and acknowledged by the parameters of white people have to be shrugged away so that individuality and subjectivity can mature in full clarity and adequate visibility.

So, going back to the University of Pretoria with those two white female students, we have clearly established that the blackface is something that’s at its best in best taste and at worst an act of unflinching racism. Those two white students in the University of Pretoria have clearly shown that by participating in this act, they admitting that they don’t care who they offend or what symbols of oppression they perpetuate.

Blackface to me is as offensive as calling me the K-word.

Blackface was used by whites to show blacks as having social imperfection, being inferior and having a lack of mental capacity.

Some white readers here may be thinking “hey, this chap is overreacting” and some black folks may be thinking “there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s funny”. The fact is, blackface is still seen as incredibly offensive to a lot of black people.

Too often, though, it’s the offending party who tries to determine what’s offensive to subjugated groups. It’s always white people and white experts who go out of their way to convince black people not to feel offended, a basic exercise in hegemonic privilege: “ Because I don’t feel offended by it, you shouldn't either”

Offenders stand firm in their belief that they don’t care if it’s not offensive to them.

The fact remains you guys can masquerade and "make fun" yet return to your lives as a privileged racial class. Black skin is no joke. Black skin is not "funny."

It appears that there is little historical perspective here. Understand that the Blackface was meant to portray Black people in the most demeaning light possible and you guys think we should just "get over it, it’s just paint."

The history we have since we first crossed each other's path has been death, destruction and desecration of what we hold dear.

Consider yourselves fortunate that many of us are sedated into "integration."

I wonder why you ask us to "lighten up". It's because of that mentality I will remind my children and grandchildren to be vigilant in recognizing that mentality. They know that if they are ignorant of history, they are doomed to repeat it.

By the way, when you may see a refined Black man or woman who may appear educated... be aware that many of us are equipped to recognize what lies behind your eyes. Though we share the same beds and offices, we are watchful. Like the Jews say "never again"

P.S Don’t act a fool and try to justify and think you how black people feel about this because you don’t, spew your comments now and show your true colours. Let me assume a comment already; "People are overly sensitive and always assume everything is about being racist when it comes to black people. So what?"

So my dear white people, please don't try and justify how I feel or justify how you don't get it. I understand. I know exactly what you'll gonna say.

Don't use Leon Schuster as an example either, I personally don’t like or respect the man for all those blackface stunts he pulls.  Blackface pops up in music videos, too, like in “Fatty Boom Boom,  Die Antwoord”, where they make fun of Lady Gaga and promote stereotypes about South African culture. In blackface! They too, promoting their racist act and would probably disguise is as "art and culture or entertainment". Nonsense.

If you're just dying to use paint on your faces, go Incredible Hulk - go green.

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Follow me on Twitter @ThembaRadebeer


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