If I step on your toes but didn’t do it intentionally or much worst found it funny, does that mean that you’re not or shouldn’t feel the hurt I inflicted?
Black Face. The age-old issue of people dressing up as black people for whatever god damn reasons they can come up with. Its funny, it’s for Halloween so relax, it’s our culture, its whatever. It doesn’t matter the reasons that people want to come up with for perpetuating or accepting this demeaning practice. Nothing justifies blackface, no matter where in the world it’s being done, from Hollywood to Holland to Japan or China. The mockery of black people’s bodies, cultures and overall existence is just not ok, and we should not have to be telling people this over and over and over again.
In Jamaica, we have a saying, “frog say, what is joke to you is death to me.” This saying perfectly sums up the situation that black people constantly face with other races insistence on donning black face every chance they get. You find it funny, but this representation of black people has done what can be said to be irreversible damage to the perception of black people by others and how many black people see themselves.
Blackface was started in Hollywood and widely promoted across the United States and many other countries and, contrary to what the defenders of this cruel practice want to think, no one was doing black people any favours dressing up with ridiculously shine black polish and exaggerated pink overdrawn lips and excessively large butts. Blackface wasn’t started to create positive representations for black people, it was done out of pure hate and racism and want intent on mocking and further dehumanizing a group of people who fought hard to be granted by men the very rights given to everyone else at birth, by our creator.
In a recent post from Asian Boss titled “What do the Chinese think about black people (blackface)” it is seen where though many of the respondents know that blackface is rooted in negativity and emerged from a place of hate, they still see it as ok for them to do it because it’s just for fun. Even when told that its offensive to black people they still insist on saying their intent wasn’t bad and its just for laughs so black people shouldn’t be upset. If that wasn’t enough to get one riled up, scan the comments and you see people from all walks of life, even some black people, making excused and going as far as saying by us saying blackface is unacceptable in any manifestation we are playing the race card.
How are we playing the race card when there is so much history of blackface and the damage it has caused in the past and in the present? How is it playing the race card when you never see black people dressing up as other races to make fun of them and treat them as some cartoon caricature, over exaggerating their features and acting dumb? Everyone has something to say about black racism and usually that something is that it doesn’t exist and it died with the old folks. Everyone is quick to tell black people that it’s not a race issue its a class issue, not realizing that for black people race and class are one in the same. No matter how much a black person earns or where they live, that doesn’t stop them from being wrongfully arrested and killed, that doesn’t stop them from being followed around in stores or denied service and especially in Asia it doesn’t stop people from not sitting beside them on the train or from not telling their screaming children that it is ridiculous to be afraid of a person’s color.
Black people know racism because we have been on the receiving end of it from the day we are born till the day we die. Just like a lawyer doesn’t walk into a conference for medical doctors and act like they’re an authority on medical issues, it is the same way that it’s wrong for others to try to make excuses for why black people shouldn’t react how they do to acts of racism because they cant speak to the nuances of anti-black racism. I go back to my initial question, if step on your toes unintentionally and or laugh about it, does that make it hurt you any less or at all? No, you still feel the pain of my actions whether I deliberately did it or not.
I am currently living in Japan and its true that anti black racism is very suble here and some people may not even want to call it racism but when youre looking up jobs to apply for and you see white only, or only requests for people from what is conceptualised as white only countries, or parents asking for their kids to be taken from the class with the black teacher and be put in the class with the white teacher, or when kids are acting a fool and crying when they see black people and the parents response is not to teach them that this person is just human with a different skin color, instead they cuddle and sheild said kids from the big bad black person. These are stories or things black people have to deal with every day and much worst being spat on or having their black or biracial kids face bullying when they go to school and have to hear stories about how a radish is black and dirty because it didn’t shower properly. All of this is just damn ridiculous and quite frankly there is no excuse for any of it.
It’s funny how people come up with the excuse that Asian countries are homogenous and so we have to be patient and tolerant with people’s offences because they are based on ignorance. But, on the flip side, black nations are always so open and accepting of others who don’t look like them and who they don’t see in their everyday existence. Yes, Asia is homogenous but so is 90% of the places that black people live. We too only see non-black people on tv or read about them in stories. Sure, black children may stare and even touch the hair and skin of a foreigner, but that’s normal curiosity expressed by children. Correct me if I am wrong but I have never experienced, seen or read of any instances where black people have treated none black people in any manner that makes them feel less than human, not black children and especially not black adults. So why then is it normal for us to see and treat others as humans but we have to deal with this kind of nonsense the world over?
When a black person says blackface is offensive, listen to them. Don’t counter with any nonsense excuses about why it could be something other than the offence it is. Better yet, stop dressing up as black people if you do and when you see it being done by others, use the opportunity to educate them and help to get rid of this nasty practice once and for all. We cant build bridges if the aggressors constantly refuse to acknowledge that there is a need to build a bridge in the first place. And for God sakes, stop making the excuse that it’s difficult to find a black person to do something because black people are everywhere and though referred to as a minority in America, worldwide we are still one of the largest populations.
See the video in the link below
What are your thoughts on the perpetuation of blackface and on people’s insistence of finding reasons why black people should forget all the damage that it has caused and just laugh at this despicable depiction and disrespect to us and our cultures?