© 2016 by Anthony Dillon. Created by Nicole Collins 

E: anthonywodillon@yahoo.com.au

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Blackface

January 1, 2018

If someone applying black face paint in order to look like a black person for the sake of imitation is what constitutes ‘racism’ today, then we can be confident that true racism (e.g, refusing a person service on the basis of their race) is a relatively rare event. If blackface is done for the purpose of mockery, then I’m happy for the perpetrator to be exposed for the fool he or she is. But when it is simply done for imitation, then those who see it as racism should get a life.

 

 

Media Storms

It’s the same old story; if there is something in the social media about the true suffering of Aboriginal people, it receives only a few responses, and even less if the topics of violence and child abuse are mentioned. However, do a story about blackface and social media goes into meltdown. Recently this story where the fantastic Williams sisters were the subject of blackface was the source of another social media storm. Many people, primarily whinja ninjas, offendarati, snowflakes, and victim brigade members (hereafter referred to simply as the social justice warriors, or SJWs) love stories about blackface. For them it sits up there with Australia Day celebrations, golliwogs, and apes. One reason why these topics cause a frenzy is that they are convenient distractions from the serious problems facing Aborigines. A second reason is that they provide the perfect opportunity for the SJWs (and academics and politicians) to shout “racism” and therefore play the part of moral crusader. Let’s take a closer look at the blackface phenomenon.

 

Blackface

Consider the article about an Australian mother whose son wanted to look like his idol, AFL footballer, Nic Naitanui. Not surprisingly, the mother copped a lot of criticism. I say “not surprisingly” not because what she did was in any way racist, but because there is an army of SJWs out there just waiting for an opportunity to pounce on anything their minds can perceive as racist. In the same article, Aboriginal man and rapper, Adam Briggs, was reported as saying that the mother's behaviour is “an obviously reckless, racist thing to do.” That is total nonsense. The label of racism is like mud. Once thrown, it sticks. It is intellectual laziness because the claim of racism usually does not have to be proven. For SJWs, an accusation alone usually suffices for an event to be considered racist. Shouting racism places the claimant on the moral high ground and the accused in the gutter.

 

Hey Mr Briggs, I thought I would try my hand at rapping. How’s this?

 

When whitey puts on a black face it should be flattery

But too many SJWs compare it to assault and battery

It’s not mockery, only imitation

But you see racism, and that’s your limitation

While race relations are well on the way to being mended

All you turkeys can do is see who can be most offended

Too many of our sisters being hurt, and too many families living in the dirt

We should be worried about suicides and the too many brothers in incarceration

But again, all you turkeys want, is more of your mental masturbation

When the white man applies black paint to his white face

Can’t you see he’s only sayin’ “I like your race”?

Come on people, get a grip, it’s only black paint

Stop seeing racism everywhere and where it aint

Blackface is simply black face, and if we continue to lie, then we all gonna die!

 

Not so good? Okay, I’ll find something else to do. And if any white person dare criticises my rap, then I might just accuse you of racism.

 

And for those who aren’t keen on my attempt at rap and want more of Briggs, well he was reported as saying “Australia has its own history of blackface that dates back hundreds of years. So excuse me, Hugo from Flight Facilities, but are you a history of major in race relations in Australia? Go f**k yourself.” Mmmm, classy.

 

But if Briggs’ unsubstantiated claim is not enough, Dr Naomi Priest of the Australian National University, who is described in the article as an expert on racism and child health, was stated in the article as saying that blackface reinforces stereotypes, and was potentially harmful to students who come from non-white backgrounds. Though I agree with Priest that sometimes stereotypes can disadvantage minority groups, I don’t think that is the case here. Much like shouts of racism, the term ‘stereotype’ is increasingly being overused, making it near meaningless. When a White person applies black face paint to look like a Black person, what stereotype is occurring? The claim of stereotyping in these recent cases of blackface has me baffled. It’s not blackface that is potentially harmful to students of non-white backgrounds, but rather, it’s the pitifully low expectations of assuming that they are fragile.

 

The History

When trying to imitate others, it is expected that the imitator will adopt the most salient features of the one being imitated. When imitating, the goal naturally, is to be recognized as the one being imitated. It’s okay to adopt a similar hair style, posture, or fashion sense in order to do a successful imitation. However, in the case of a light-coloured person darkening their skin with makeup, this is considered an act of racism by SJWs. Would a dark-skinned person imitating a white person through the use of white face paint attract the same criticism? I doubt it, but the SJWs explain that there is an important difference here, which I will explain shortly.

 

If I was to go to a party as one of my favourite stars, I would like to go as Dolly Parton. To do that, I would obviously need a couple of balloons, a wig, and guess what? I would need some white makeup. That's not racism, except in the minds of SJWs who need to see racism around every corner. In response, the SJWs are quick to state that there is a history associated with blackface and that’s what makes it so offensive and racist today. More nonsense. No logical argument is offered to how it is racist today, it is just assumed to be, because at one time in history there may have been racism associated with blackface. The SJWs are simply wanting to use the past to make a disturbance in the present, and again play the part of moral citizen. Whereas blackface may have been associated with mockery in the past, today it is not, or where it is, then perpetrators should be called out.

 

Offence is Always Taken

I’ve said it before so I’ll keep it brief, but offence can only ever be taken; it doesn’t travel from an assumed cause through the air and land on the ‘offended.’ That’s why two people (suppose two identical twins) can hear a joke or see a cartoon and have completely different reactions. One can laugh and say it’s hilarious, while the other can cry and claim he has been offended. No it was not the joke (or cartoon) that offended. How could it possibly choose one brother to offend and not the other? However, when it comes to blackface, Professor Yin Paradies (whom the ABC refers to as a race relations professor), was quoted as saying “In any case, we don't need studies to re-affirm that Indigenous Australians find blackface - benevolent or not - racist and offensive.” Paradies goes on to rightly point out that: “Some people are offended by this.” Yes, many (but not all) Indigenous Australians certainly do find blackface racist and offensive. But it is a choice – they find exactly what they want to find. The blackface does not directly cause offence.

 

Final Comment

A common response I hear in these debates is “Let the people of colour define what’s racist. Let them define what’s offensive to them.” This was spoken by Indigenous man Allan Clarke. And once the coloured person defines what is racist, can it be challenged? There is a link in previous article to The Project where Steve Price asks some sensible questions of Allan. Allan’s logic seems to be “If someone finds something racist then it must be racist.” Allan, would you be happy for White people to define for them what they perceive as racism from Black people? Would you be happy for them to define what is ‘offensive’ behaviour by Black people?

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