The color of our skin is not your costume

Mekayla Jenkins

Photo Editor

Trinity Velazquez

Viewpoints Editor

 

My features are not to be mortified for the entertainment and enjoyment of “getting a costume spot on.”

It’s about that time of year again. It is truly unfortunate that this issue is a reoccurring problem and will continue to be a problem if it is not addressed and discussed.

You all know what I’m talking about. Yeah, blackface.

What is blackface, you ask?

According to Webster-Merriam Dictionary, blackface is defined as “dark makeup worn, as by a performer in a minstrel show, in a caricature of the appearance of a black person.”

To simplify it, blackface is when a non-person of color would paint their face black like charcoal and exaggerate the features of African-Americans for entertainment or amusement.

Blackface began in America after the infamous Civil War. White actors played characters in plays that purposely dehumanized African-Americans like “The Birth of America” in 1915.

History.com quoted David Leonard, a professor of ethnic studies at Washington State University.

“It’s (Blackface) an assertion of power and control. It allows society to routinely and historically imagine African-Americans as not fully human,” Leonard said.

The “Father of Minstrelsy,” Thomas Dartmouth Rice, traveled to the south and observed slaves to help him create his black stage character, Jim Crow, in 1830.

Blackface is wrong, and it is time that we hold people accountable for contributing to it. Re-elected Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau is a prime example.

A few weeks ago, an article from TIME magazine surfaced that revealed Trudeau went to an Arabian Night’s themed party in dark makeup in 2001.

He apologized, but it isn’t enough. He was still re-elected. What does that say about Canada and their view on people of color?

We need to stop pretending that this isn’t normal. It happens in the supposedly kindest country in the world, and it happens here.

In the 1949 issue of NSU’s yearbook, the Potpourri, there is a picture of white students with black painted on their faces. The picture was taken during the time of segregation, but black people weren’t respected then. Because of this blackface tend, it seems like we are not respected now.

The character, Jim Crow, was an exaggeration of what non-people of color thought of African-Americans. They were stereotyped as being lazy, ignorant, hypersexual, loud, criminals and barbaric.

We do not fit in any of those categories.

Blackface is deeply rooted in racism and is offensive and hurtful.

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