Consider this a follow up to Blackface is the New Black?
The Halloween shenanigans are not just about blackface. They are about the caricaturization of other cultures. The amount of blackface is appalling as it is because there is a stark realization that cultural sensitivity is just about dead. Along with that death comes a very real lack of understanding as to why certain things might be viewed as insensitive. I get the excuse that people don’t know and regardless of understanding that excuse, there is no tolerance for it. This is 2013–the age of information–which means you should know the history.
The fact that I can read an article about offensive costumes and have people question why a guy dressed as a taco with a sombrero is considered offensive is insane to me. It brings home the point I’ve made time and time again that most people think that all Latinos are Mexican. Not only that, consider that the immigration debate and how Mexicans are viewed as “aliens” (something not human) in this country. Put it all together in your mind and realize that there’s a lack of respect for the culture.
I personally don’t understand it and maybe because Halloween was not all that fun for me as a kid. I was always at the mercy of what my parents got me for a costume. I would have the cheap, full-bodied, plastic onesie of what ever superhero and a plastic mask with slits for the mouth and eyes. I really had no choice as to what race of superhero I wanted to be because they were all white. Yeah, I could have been a Thundercat but I wanted Mumra but that was a just horrible looking costume. I would’ve loved to be Voltron but none of the stores in the Bronx sold these things. Anyway, the point is that Halloween was always a day to dress up like cartoon character or a hero and score some serious candy. Sure, people dressed as monsters and stuff but never did I see anyone come dressed as Michael Jackson with their face painted. More importantly, people would dress up as Mike for the fashion of the jacket with a thousand zippers and a glittery glove.
However, as I mentioned in the article above, maybe blackface and cultural insensitivity is something that has always happened and with the advent of the internet, we are just noticing it more and more. I suppose there are people in this country that have never seen a person of color up close. So there is very much this “alien” view of us. I’m pretty sure there are photo albums of a some suburban family that contains pictures of them in some sort of blackface because they liked The Cosby Show, or The Jefferson’s. I’m also willing to bet some serious money there are old photos of people attempting to look like Speedy Gonzalez.
The questions are, where is the sense in any this? How do people think it is ok to paint their skin? It’s almost like there is some sort of desire to be Black or Latino. Here is the issue, (as Paul Mooney once said) everyone wants to be Black, but nobody wants to be Black. People of color have a rich culture that looks so good on the outside but try catching a cab, or being followed in department store. Try finding positive role models in the media, try walking down the street without having someone wanting to touch your hair. It seems all good until your child is shot for no other reason than being Black. Now imagine seeing pictures of idiots dressed as your dead son pop up all over the internet. Sounds fun right?
Halloween has become a dark day for many of us because people’s stupidity is out there for the world to see. This is a coming out party for the closeted racist and we all know it. I don’t feel bad for those people who have lost their jobs and who’s lives have been turned upside down because Black Twitter went in on them. This is 2013 and people are tired of having to teach others civility when none is shown to us.