Blackface and Bloodstains

Fall, the season of racism.

Every October people around the world get dressed up and attend various costumed parties or functions, usually in some connection to Halloween. Inevitably stories and pictures emerge of white people dressing up in racial or cultural costumes that some find racist and offensive.

People of many different cultures have been addressing this issue for some time.  There are even whole awareness campaigns based around it. Last year I did my part and I received my first suspension on Twitter for calling out numerous people on their racist Native American costumes. However, no matter how many times this is addressed, it happens again every single year.

This year I had not planned on writing anything but stories of racist costumes began to crop up on my news feed.

Colorlines ran an article about a girl in Australia who had an “African” themed party.  The result was a bunch of white Australians in blackface, African garb, and even (for some reason) KKK outfits.

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Soon, there was the token celebrity blackface scandal.  This time it was Julianne Hough (of some reality show or another) who dressed up as a black character from Orange Is the New Black.

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(Sidenote: The show Orange is the New Black is taking a problem disproportionately impacting people of color, namely mass incarceration, writing white people in as main characters, and profiting from it. More could be said about that, but I digress.)

Are people of color being too sensitive?

Now when people of color take offense and ask white people not to dress up in this manner the reactions are equally predictable.

“You’re being too sensitive.”

“It’s just for fun.”

“That might have been wrong, but that was just one bad person.”

“There are bigger things to worry about.”

“No one is getting hurt by this.”

“It’s honoring/I love ‘x’ culture!”

Oddly enough, sometimes when white people are confronted about their choice of costume, they assume the role of a persecuted victim. They, the white person, is the true victim of this situation.  Their freedom is being limited by an overly sensitive minority or an overly politically correct culture.

“This is political correctness gone too far!” is often a coded, “How dare you (people) tell me what to do!”

I heard variations of these comments when I made waves about the Australian party on Facebook. (I am sure I will hear variations of them in response to this post.)

The cyclical nature of this discussion is discouraging.  Truth be told, part of the reason I had planned on not writing about racial/cultural costumes this year was because I was unsure the people who need to think about this more would actually listen.

Then I saw this image on Imgur.

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(The full gallery with a handful of additional pictures can be seen here.)

This is a picture of people who thought it would be appropriate and fun to don blackface and go up as Trayvon Martin and his murderer George Zimmerman. This is not an assumption from the context.  Their choice of costume is clearly stated in the photo album itself.

(Edit: They were also not the only ones to do this.)

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Blackface and Bloodstains

I assume that just about everyone, including many who might defend the use blackface or racial/cultural costumes in general, will deem this specific choice of costume as offensive, inappropriate and too far.

To those who see racial/cultural costumes as viable choices, but recognize this situation as inappropriate, my question is this: if racial/cultural costumes are okay, but this particular costume is inappropriate, what makes it inappropriate? In other words, if blackface is an acceptable Halloween costume choice, why is this specific blackface costume wrong?

I assume that many would respond that it is not blackface in and of itself that is the issue in this situation, but the larger context in which it was used. The reason this costume is unacceptable is because it invoked a tragedy involving the death of a real person, all for the sake of a laugh. While fake bloodstains might be a common sight on Halloween costumes, the bloodstains in this costume point to the death of a real person and it is therefore a callous and inappropriate Halloween costume.

I would agree completely.  This costume is out of line because it invokes a real death for the sake of fun. I just wish people who think racial/cultural costumes are an acceptable choice for white people to wear would recognize that every use of racial/cultural costumes invoke real tragedies and real deaths. All racial/cultural costumes have bloodstains on them, regardless of if they are painted on the costume or not.

What I mean by this is that part of the reason that white people should not dress up as other cultures is that they do so in a world where white people have violently repressed the very cultures they are dressing up as.

Blackface is tied directly to minstrel shows and the larger exploitation of black people during slavery and Jim Crow.  Native American costumes are based on stereotypes about indigenous cultures that the U.S. and Canada have attempted to eliminate through various programs of genocide, assimilation and destabilization.  Asian outfits are patterned after the very cultural outfits that were used by European colonizers to paint Asian cultures as effeminate and in need of Western domination and exploitation. Arab suicide bomber outfits point to dire situations and tragedies, often the result of Western meddling in the Middle East, that have produced the extremism and desperation that are required for suicide attacks to be carried out. Etc. 

Racial/cultural costumes invoke this history, a history rife with tragedies and deaths, a history that continues to this day, regardless of the wearer’s intent or even knowledge of this history. I doubt the Australian wearing the KKK outfit knows about the origins and actions of the KKK, but one cannot separate that costume from its associations due to one’s own ignorance.

People of color intuitively remember and recognize this fact. We can see the bloodstains white people are blind to.  We see them because it is our ancestors, our bodies, our minds, our family members, and our communities that have suffered and continue to suffer these tragedies and deaths. Some white people from Western culture, with its disdain for history, its selective memory of the past, and its present tense attention span, appear to be blind to any injustices that did not happen within the last year. That is why they can see that this use of blackface is wrong because Trayvon was just recently killed, but they fail to see why blackface in and of itself is equally wrong because they do not see or remember the countless black people victimized by centuries of Western colonialism and white supremacy.

I wish the white people who choose to dress up in racial/cultural costumes this season could see the bloodstains on what they wear as people of color do. Then they might make better choices about Halloween costumes, and many other things in their life.

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About Speakfaithfully

I am figuring out life and faith and taking other people along with me on my journey. Sometimes as fellow travelers, sometimes as hostages.
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213 Responses to Blackface and Bloodstains

  1. segmation says:

    What a great article. I think this will be an interesting halloween. I hope your blog makes people more sensitive in their choices.

  2. LiliDutka says:

    This article really needs to sheet out there, because this I unacceptable

  3. Britt says:

    These images are sickening. Your writing is powerful. There are bloodstains, even if they are not painted on. I hope this is heard loudly.

    Ugh, I used to love that cute blond dancer. What was she thinking?

  4. JW says:

    I’m convinced that this particular issue transcends political correctness and cultural/race issues. Making a joke at the expense of a human being that lost his life, regardless of how or when, is immature, inconsiderate, and simply offensive. The fact that “adults” would find such behavior humorous is indicative of the terrifying level of immaturity that seems to be expanding in our country. Credit to you for speaking out about it.

    • Kevin says:

      I see what you are saying regarding how this issue transcends political correctness and goes beyond a race/cultural issue. However, I would point at that events like these are why some people are very concerned with political correctness and race and cultural issues. We should not devalue or dismiss those concerns out of hand, even when the issue in question is not as universally offensive.

  5. ravensmarch says:

    I’m in general agreement with your thrust, but I think you may go a little too far with this: “All racial/cultural costumes have bloodstains on them, regardless of if they are painted on or not.”

    The reason I say that is that if one isn’t caricaturing the culture in question, or there’s not a particular history of dominance between the culture of the wearer and that of the costume, the problem doesn’t raise it’s head, or at least it’s of such proportions that it doesn’t lurch into culpability. I’ll give an example– a European-descent fellow living in Canada who wears a careful reproduction of Japanese armour from the Warring State Period, while suggesting a fairly bloody bit of history, isn’t using his western-ness as a weapon against all things Japanese; he’s just wearing a costume in the same degree as he would if dressed as Boba Fett. 1945 to 1953 occupation aside, Japan has never really been oppressed by the west, and the intention of the wearer is essentially, “Here’s something I don’t generally wear on a Saturday at the bar,” so where’s the harm?

    Having said that, I happily bow to the notion that the same fellow, in the same internal spirit, wearing a careful reproduction of a pre-contact Plains Cree outfit should think twice given the ongoing relations between his culture and that he’s portraying. I wonder, too, what your take would be on someone of First Nations descent dressing up as “Arrow-Riddled Custer”; I’d certainly support it from my own place as a European-based North American with functional senses of humour and cultural culpability, but it might encourage someone else to wear a “Sexy Indian” rig which I agree is utterly indefensible… possibly even if the wearer is Aboriginal, because it’s still sexist as can be.

    • hvlos says:

      Maybe you’re not getting the point – my culture is not a costume and if you think it is then you’re actively erasing the true meaning behind it and justifying our murders. You clearly don’t get it.

      • ravensmarch says:

        I’ve been looking through some of your other responses to comments, so I think I’m probably typing against a wall, but I’ll try. The wearing of a costume, while it can be culpable by the intent or lack of awareness of the wearer, is not in itself an attack on the culture from which it comes. The very word “costume” is used to describe ANY culture’s habitual mode of dress– the costume of a business man is a suit and tie, for example. At no point do in the previous I suggest that it is universally acceptable for white people to get done up as shown in the article; I simply suggest that a blanket declaration regarding bloodstains is overly sweeping because there are huge swaths of counter-example. As a counterpoint to the example I offer above regarding Japanese costume, I might also suggest that offense can be taken to “hairy horn-helmeted viking and his kidnapped wench” as a couple’s costume, regardless of how white the people wearing it are, because they’re ALSO erasing some centuries of blood for amusement’s sake and because wench costumes are sadly demeaning to women.

        I’ll also restate that I have a functional sense of my own culture’s culpability in the current state of affairs in North America. The treatment of First Nations by the colonial powers has been and, as seen most recently in the Elsipogtog anti-fracking efforts in New Brunswick, continues to be deplorable. I accept my share of blame in this, even though I was born here and had not role in establishing the situation, and I do my level best not to be part of the problem in my daily actions. I’d ask that you accept that not all the white people in North America are actively working to oppress, and that saying “White People are all alike” is a racist statement in the same family as “Indians are all alike.” There are cultural variations in both groups, and there are individual variations in both groups. Making sweeping assumptions doesn’t help fix the problem.

      • hvlos says:

        If your concern is White people being generalized as problematic and not the actual problems then you are not worth conversing with me. I don’t care that you want to be exempt from the guilt – you’re all responsible.

      • ravensmarch says:

        My concern is PEOPLE being generalized. You’re clearly too angry to communicate, so as others have done, I give up on you. The individual. I promise not to take you as representative of any band, nation, race or gender.

      • hvlos says:

        Oh you expect me to be nice about racism? lmao Well you’re not gonna get shit from me. You want to be spoken too nicely then go talk to White people who don’t have a stake in it.

  6. May says:

    I agree with everything you’re saying here, although I would be interested to hear more about your issues with Orange is the New Black. Have you read the memoir on which the series is (very loosely) based? It’s interesting to note what the TV show keeps and what it leaves out.

    • Kevin says:

      I have not read her memoir. What things did the show leave out that you find of note?

      To explain my issue with Orange a little more…the U.S. incarcerates people at astronomical rates. Many people fall victim to draconian mandatory drug sentencing. Many take plea bargains, even when they know they are not guilty, because they would rather take a smaller sentence than face the maximum threatened in a justice system that they believe is highly racist against them. I personally have had people close to me caught in this situation.

      The problems with our justice system impacts people of color far more than they do white people. This has led some to call the for-profit prison industry “The New Jim Crow” and I think they are correct. Our society as a whole generally ignores or abides by this injustice.

      The problem I have with Orange is that a white woman (the prototypical victim/person to be defended by white males) faced a year in prison (which is a much shorter sentence than what most people receive). While her story is her story, it is saddening to me that a story of injustice and hardship, endured mostly by black males (the prototypical criminal in our societies’ consciousness), is paid attention to when a white woman endures it and shares about it, while thousands of people of color who attempt to speak out against it are at the same time ignored and have been for a very long time.

      • May says:

        I certainly see your point, and I agree with it – I did some research in American prisons so I’m familiar with the situation you describe and it isn’t properly reflected in the show.

        The show is really quite radically different to the book actually. The relationship with Alex is entirely invented (the backstory is broadly similar, but in the book they only meet near to Piper’s release and form a guarded, unbalanced friendship at the very most), Piper retains her sanity and doesn’t cause half as many problems as have been created for dramatic purposes, and so forth. Really, the stories which are most completely preserved are those of the minor characters, including the non-white prisoners.

        I’d recommend reading it though, because I think you’d find it less problematic (if only because it is actually based in reality!).

  7. I’m also shocked and upset by this. I wouldn’t find it funny if someone went as Adolf Hitler or a blood-eating Jew for Halloween. They shoudl seriously teach diversity and sensitivity as a required course in high schools. Might help a little bit.

    • Kevin says:

      They did in my school growing up. I resented it and made fun of it at the time, but looking back I see its value. This of course though far less influential for me than having a lot of life experiences with people from diverse backgrounds. Even with these classes, someone isolated in their socio-economic, racial or cultural group will probably not be that sensitive.

  8. These things are indeed bad, insensative and stupid. But if you want to address racism stop with blaming whites and blame ALL people who are racist. New Black Panrhers with kill all crackers, kill they babies, they women is equally as offensive. Let’s target ALL forms of racism and elevate all people to a place where only one race exists. The human race! I can only dream of a world where Redskin (used to degrade my people) and the N word used to degrade black people is never used by anyone. Some wods have no place among civil and decent people irspective of race. I can only dream of a day when no man of woman judges another for their skin color or birth place. Racism from any person is wrong and I for one am tired of the one way conversation. It needs to be a conversation for the entire human race to stop. We are better than this. Love the post, the message is clear the only problem I see is it blames one side and divides. Problems exist in every corner, in every group of people. Are there good people in every group of humans? Yes I know the good out number the bad. Maybe our voices need to be heard by the true minority (the racists and haters) for we non-racists are in the majority. Still well written and from your heart and I loved the read. You are very talented and your style is a pleasure to read.

    ~Michelle

    • hvlos says:

      The thing the Black Panthers did the most was feed poor people. And in case you were too uneducated to realize, only White people are racist. Your hurt feelings because a Black person called you a cracker isn’t the same thing as White people literally murdering our children and getting away with it because we’re Black.

      racismschool.tumblr.com

      Seriously, this post was talking about people like you and you missed it. You’re not a damn victim.

      • For one I am native american Lakota so white Europeans murdered my people. Racism is ANY person who hates based on color. Sorry you are uneducated and failed to lookup words. You also make many assumptions about people with no knowledge from basis of facts. Thanks again you have proven maybe you hate white people because they are white. That is a racist.

      • hvlos says:

        Something tells me you’re not native because all native people that I know of (keep in mind I’m also native) aren’t dumb enough to actually think that racism isn’t a social construct happening in the present and that anyone other than White people have the social and institutional power to provide disadvantages to other races.

        Before you even talk about racism you need to go to racismschool.tumblr.com because you are too damn clueless.

      • See unlike you I named specific people.



        http://dcclothesline.com/2013/08/23/new-black-panthers-call-for-killing-all-white-people/

        That sir IS racism. Definition: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/racism

        You make assumptions still and make yourself look the fool. Where I post facts not some bias page that says only one race can ever be racist. To hate based on race is racism plain and simple. Accept the truth. There are natives among my people who are also racist. ALL racism is wrong period.

      • hvlos says:

        Oh you’re back lol

        So explain once again how a couple of Black people saying “Kill all crackers” actually leads to the systematic and institutional discrimination against White people again? Oh right, it doesn’t lol.

        Someone hurting your feelings isn’t racism. Someone calling you a cracker isn’t racism. Racism is something that is embedded into your life and affects all of your life’s choices every single day.

        So since you don’t actually go through racism how about you stop trying to play the victim like every other typical special snowflake?

        AND

        And what joy! It’s a White person telling you you’re wrong so you’ll actually listen because you’re too racist to listen to a POC! Wowzers!

        Oh and after you watch please kill yourself, thanks.

      • The dictionary defines racism as: “poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race”

        So to say kill white babies, kill all crackers is no better than saying kill all black people. Both are racist statements.
        See it’s you who do not understand words have meanings. These meanings are not changed at will to fit your model.
        I said specific people the NBPP are no better than the KKK of today.

        You make assumptions still and make yourself look the fool. Where I post facts not some bias page that says only one race can ever be racist. To hate based on race is racism plain and simple. Accept the truth. There are natives among my people who are also racist. ALL racism is wrong period.

        There are racist among all races, all people and there are genuine good people among any race. I find myself not hating any person because of race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. There are good people in all these and bad as well.

        I agree 100% with Dr. King when he said “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'”
        In this same great speach that changed the world he said “When we allow freedom to ring — when we let it ring from every city and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last, Free at last, Great God almighty, We are free at last.'”

        There was a great man who saw a day when white did not judge black or red nor black or red judge white, A dream all should persue. I understand your anger. Being deaf and native american I’ve fought for everything I have tooth and nail INCLUDING college. It wasn’t handed to me like many of the wealthy and I didn’t qaulify for scholorships because my “disability” didn’t fit their mold. I do understand your anger and I have also lived it. I choose to not see all as racist nor one race as the only racists.

        Peace

      • hvlos says:

        So first of all you’re going to not only take the definition of racism from an obviously biased book written by White people and then fail to apply it socially. Like are you dumb enough to believe the dictionary is the one book of all knowledge?

        You are literally too dumb to talk to.

      • No you are to dumb to talk to. Racism is plan and simple judging another solely upon race. Black is a race by your definition as is white. I see humans as a race and color just a beautiful pigment. You do not win friends with your names and probably harm your own cause in doing so. You can’t debate facts so you call others dumb. Indeed we know who is dumb now and it isn’t me. Good day to you.

      • hvlos says:

        You’re an idiot. Take a basic sociology class. Black people aren’t oppressing White people and White people aren’t oppressed anywhere on this planet. And do I want racist friends? No??? lol I keep POC as my friends, and White people who actually get it. They’re the ones that are worth breathing the same air as me.

        Bye racist bitch! =D

      • Haha you are too funny and you’re trolling now. Cya troll

      • hvlos says:

        You’ve said bye like so many times. Go away trash. ;x

      • More proof you are the racist..haha I’ve done nothing do deserve you anger which is misdirected. You still lose the debate anyway. Cheers to you go take a basic debate class and comeback when you learn something.

      • hvlos says:

        So you think me calling you trash means you experience racism??? lmfao fucking idiot.

      • You think only whites can be racist you just made my point. Thanks

      • hvlos says:

        You have no point lol you’re just dumb. POC encounter people like you on a daily, you’re not original and we have no time for your stupidity.

        Now run along to your klan rally and keep it moving stop being so obsessed with me.

      • hvlos says:

        In love with me much?

      • Oh yes I love you take me now. /ROFL

      • hvlos says:

        No thanks, you’re not good enough for me. And I’m married so, ew gross go away.

      • Haha you been dreaming anyway little one. You can’t even tell sarcasm you are so predictable.

      • hvlos says:

        I’m serious child your daddy issues should be taken out elsewhere I don’t want your pasty body go away~ I’m taken.

      • Haha more ass-umptions haha

      • hvlos says:

        So first of all you’re going to not only take the definition of racism from an obviously biased book written by White people and then fail to apply it socially. Like are you dumb enough to believe the dictionary is the one book of all knowledge?

        You are literally too dumb to talk to.

      • If calling me a cracker (a derogatory name meant to demean) I am not white by the way so this is a non-issue but it is for demonstration. Then calling you the N word is also not racist. Plain and simple both are words meant to demean and degrade another based solely on anothers RACE. IE: Racism. Doesn’t matter what some half wit says it doesn’t change the facts. Saying “kill all white people” makes the person saying it a racist and it doesn’t matter if he is black, red or asian. Nice try though.

        As for killing myself go have a wet dream about it cause it ain’t happening.

      • hvlos says:

        “Then calling you the N word is also not racist. ”

        Oh because magically the N word WASN’T and ISN’T used to socially, systematically, and institutionally put Black people and other POC at a disadvantage?

        And what people are red again? Or are you trying to do that colorblind bullshit? lmfao

        Everyone, this is the type of White child that runs to WP because the people on Tumblr would have ripped her apart for her ignorance. Unfortunately for you I’m on Tumblr too lmfao

        So damn stupid, she actually thinks White people experience racism!!! lmfao

      • “Redskin (used to degrade my people) and the N word used to degrade black people ” From my original post numbnuts. I am Lakota aka native american I guess you need it spelled out but it doesn’t surprise me since you’ve proven you can’t read nor rationalize.

        Redskin is used to denote redman, red people, hmmm? I have face descrimination on two fronts 1) being native and 2) being deaf. Seems you’d rather play victim than acknowledge a word is a word. The N word is a HORRIBLE word and is used to demean, degrade, and demoralize as is cracker. plain and simple as that.

      • hvlos says:

        You are not Native. Stop fantasizing about the rape of Native women somehow being present amongst your ancestry.

        And White people are not demeaned by the word “cracker.” My latest post is just for you =D Dumb shit.

        (Also red is not just used for Natives, and also there were plenty of Black Natives too so what lol you’re so fucking stupid)

      • So go tell the US government and the Indian Affairs people that you want my status as 75% Lakota revoked. Also contact the Lakota nation while your at it. Good luck.

        PS Like POC come in many shades so do my people. But you are the expert on my herritage nice try troll. Good luck getting me taken off the indian registry they do blood work (aka genetic testing) to put you there. Go spill your worthless drivel elsewhere you can’t dispute the facts, and live in a dream world that POC (Which by the way us red people qualify as a color) can’t be racist. You are wrong all people can be racist if they hate based on race. Maybe you’ll get it eventually.

      • hvlos says:

        You should totally watch the videos on my post but I know you won’t because you’re content with being uneducated. But you’re White passing, I don’t expect you to be very socially aware rofl

      • Your post is already been read and watched. Being deaf some of the videos is lost to the likes of me but only when they don’t face the camera. You already said as well it was white people talking to white people so they aren’t addressing me. You still fail to prove anything. Nor have you disproven the definition of racism. You seem to have such a large chip on your shoulder. Perhaps if you take it off you’d find yourself able to succeed in life. Anyway nice try again but failed. Address it to me would be to discuss native people of this land not the Europeans who came here but those like me whose families date back 1000s of years before the mayflour and 1000s of years before the atrocity of slavery was brought to these shores.

      • hvlos says:

        Oh so you’re deaf now?

        There are many transliterations of these videos online, I’m sure since you’re so adamant about your claims that magically you experience racism you’ll look for those since it’s clear you’re not blind, correct? And even if you are there’s plenty of tools for you to get to these tools, you got to wordpress right?

        I just disproved you and now you’re claiming you’re deaf. How expected lol.

      • Wow it’s only been mentioned a couple times in this thread LONG before your current objection.

        “Redskin is used to denote redman, red people, hmmm? I have face descrimination on two fronts 1) being native and 2) being deaf.”

        “Being deaf and native american I’ve fought for everything I have tooth and nail INCLUDING college. It wasn’t handed to me like many of the wealthy and I didn’t qaulify for scholorships because my “disability” didn’t fit their mold.”

        Also mentioned July 8, and many other places on my blog.
        “My name is Michelle Styles and I am deaf since birth. I read lips in 3 languages and sign.”
        Found in that same post “I am also native american Lakota.”

        Found on My FB page in posts dating over 2 years ago. But you’re right you know all about me and everyone for that matter. You claim white people have no right to judge yet you sit in judgement of my people and of me. /golf clap go you all knowing one (You must be that rush limbaugh guy because he is the only one I know of arrogant enough to claim what you seem to.)

        So discount all you will you have proven you can’t read.

      • hvlos says:

        In case you didn’t know I don’t really give a shit about you so therefore why would I read other shit that I wasn’t directly notified about? Actually I don’t read most of that shit either because you’re dumb, racist, and clueless beyond all measure.

        But since you’re deaf I posted the transcript to the video, so what’s your excuse now?

        Have fun realizing how wrong you are! =D

      • I made no excuse I said 1) I read your post and watched the videos that the person speeking was looking at the camera. 2) I said some was lost to me as they were not looking or the lips were obsured. 3) This is as you put it white people explaining to other white people. I am not white so this is not directed to me.

        Since now you believe I a native american can be racist you therefore by definition have admitted my statement is true any person no matter color CAN be a racist. But do I hate you? Nope. I don’t even dislike you. I feel sorry for you because you lack education, ediquite and civility. But I do not hate people expecially based on race, sex, creed or sexual prefference. Would I take you as a friend (not in this life time). Why? Because I do not take in people who are so negative and racist themselves. Nice try though you still fail. The first two quotes were indeed directed to you so why would you bother reading it might lead to understanding.

        But that is lost on you since you already admitted you call people racist without even reading what they wrote or probably without hearing what they said.

      • hvlos says:

        The post is also directed towards White passing people who are clueless. You fall into that category. And considering how long the videos are and how fast you’re claiming you’ve watched them it’s pretty damn obvious you didn’t watch them lol.

        Thanks for the easy win =D

      • I read your blog yesterday because unlike you I like to know who I’m talking to. Unlike you i care about all people and their color doesn’t matter. It is not directed at “white passing people” it is directed at white people. I may “pass” for white but that doesn’t identify who I am. There are POC who “pass” a white all the time and it doesn’t make them less than who they are as your rantings suggest.

      • hvlos says:

        It actually puts you in the White category and that definitely defines who you are. Look at you? You want to exercise White privilege by claiming you’re an individual regardless of their skin but you wanna claim you experience racism??? lmfao

        Those videos by the way had White passing people in it too that acted a fool so yeah they’re definitely for you. I won’t regard you as something to take seriously unless you watch and attempt to rebuttal.

        Us actual POC say the same shit to dumb white people like you on a daily so I’m gonna rest my fingers, play some GTA or COD, and let you do some damn work for once OR you can shut the fuck up and go the fuck away and stop stalking me. =D

        But I’m sure you don’t respect a POC asking you not to harass them because you’re White trash.

      • Michelle I have a question. Do people when they first meet you immediately recognize you as Native American or do you have to tell them? Even if you may not identify as white, is your skin color not immediately recognizable by other people as white. I ask because the perception of the other person is the main factor in whether or not they decide to target another person for racial oppression. I ask because while there are many different nationalities of Black people and tones of skin color it is easy to differentiate a Black person from a white person. That also makes it easier to target them for racial oppression then say a person who has white skin who is also Native American. If I am mis-characterizing who you are, please let me know. But the key here to recognize is that the people who developed the racialized system of oppression did not differentiate between a slave they may have taken from the Congo and one they took from Western Africa. They were all Black, therefore they were all subhuman, they were all savages, they all deserved their fate as slaves according to their kidnappers. Language is as fluid as the human beings who use it. I think it is silly to use a dictionary definition of racism to back up your arguments when clearly we are talking about an issue that is much more complex and very tied into how people perceive and define race for themselves and for others. For example, if I was a person who practiced the religions of my ancestors I could be called both Jewish and Muslim.There are ignorant and stupid people in America who tell me that I can’t possibly be both. I’m sure there a ignorant and stupid people in Israel who would tell me I can’t be both. In fact, the people who questioned me at the airport in my extra special interrogation were keen to understand how someone could be Pakistani and at the same time be going on a Birthright trip to Israel that is reserved for only Jews. Race is a construct. It does not exist in a vacuum. It was created by complex human beings and it is extremely reductionist to keep referring to its dictionary definition, just as explaining a complex scientific theory and the nuances involved in that would be extremely reductionist. Some racial systems of oppression are more extreme than others. I think it is fair to say that the darker the skin, the more likely one is to experience and just as well to a greater degree one is likely to experience racial systems of oppression in societies where primarily lighter-skinned people hold power. Ethiopian Jews who live in Israel are oppressed within that society nearly just as much as Palestinian Arabs. The have not achieved economic parity. They are less likely than lighter skinned Israelis to be treated fairly by the justice system. Their rate of poverty is greater. Yet they are still just as Jewish as that idiot Bibi Netanyahu. I think there is also something to be said for how class systems of oppression intertwine with racial systems of oppression. I think it’s fair to say that people experience different degrees of oppression even within one race and that may be due to a number of different factors. Those unfair comparisons I think are something else that hvlos is angry about and rightfully so. White privilege can be experienced by white people who are of different nationalities. It is not reserved for people who self-identify as white on a census form. White privilege can be experienced by Black people who choose to assimilate and live life according to the rules set down for them by the oppressor. I think our President falls very neatly into this category. Nothing is so cut and dry as you make it out to be, and that is what Black people get angry about. That is what hvlos is angry about. Now I don’t condone her language, but at the same time I don’t condone your response either which really just perpetuates the whole thing. The first comment I made to her she responded very forcefully, making assumptions about who I am and what I believe but that does not mean I have to respond in the same way. If you take a look at our conversation, I responded with understanding, trying to cut past the language and get to the heart of the matter, get to the heart of the passion and hate and feeling. At least from what I could glean from the conversation, she seems to be a very nice person, who is understandably very angry at the state of race relations in this country and she despises the ignorance of most of the commenters here who have never ever experienced the feeling of being oppressed withiin a system of racialized oppression and yet feel that they can pontificate about how Black people should feel about their oppression. If you look back at your comments, you also tend to do the same thing. The fact is most if not all racism at least in America does come from the white community, whatever nationality they may be. To say that is not to be a reverse racist. It’s to acknowledge that they are the ones who build and perpetuate racialiazed systems of oppression…it’s privileged white people. There exists no racialized system of oppression with white people as the oppressed. It’s just a fact. To say that there is, is to deny reality. There are ignorant people on this comment thread who can’t even begin to recognize the fact that all of them, every single one of them, is capable of participating in racialized systems of oppression without being aware that their actions are racist and that what they think of their own racist costume really doesn’t matter in determining whether it’s a racist costume or not. But frankly intent is irrelevant. That’s why a dictionary definition that focus on intent to hate does not suffice, and you still have not made a cogent argument for why it should suffice. All you did was repeat yourself. I firmly believe that there is no malicious intent with these people. This is what I said to hvlos, that all of them most likely believe slavery is immoral, unjustified, and racist but then there’s a contradiction between that belief and there wearing of a Blackface costume and how that wearing of that costume functions within a racialized system of oppression. How to explain the contradiction? Ignorance. Systems are built so that people don’t realize their complicity within them. So that they remain ignorant and arrogant about what they are saying and doing. The arrogance is enough to make my blood boil. It’s enough to make her curse and exhibit her anger in a very real way. Does that mean I think she’s a so-called reverse racist. Absolutely not. That’s a term created by some white people so they can rationalize their idiotic, ignorant, and disgraceful behavior and brush off criticsm from rightfully angry Black people who are “not letting them express themselves.” It’s the same sentiment expressed by some of the individuals on this comment thread. Rationalization by the oppressor is one of the long-standing traditions within a racialized system of oppression. Nothing new although they would like to think they have come up with some novel way of defending their actions. Just because someone expresses anger doesn’t mean that they are not making some legitimate points. Take a look at hvlos bio on her blog. She has been dealing with this BS for a very long time. I think I would be very angry too if I had to deal with all this BS and ignorance and suffering for years and years. The only reason I think I can speak about it so calmly is because I’ve never experienced it. My analysis has a detached quality to it even though I feel very passionately about this issue and I suspect that will never change. There is something to be said for experience in anything. It gives a unique perspective that I think people outside of the experience will never fully grasp. That is a truism that I think some of the comments on this post make obvious. Hvlos never said she doesn’t have white friends. In fact, if you read closely, she said she doesn’t have time for white people who don’t try to understand the experience of being the oppressed within a racialized system of oppression, people who are unwilling to step into another’s shoes and experience life from a different perspective. Frankly I wouldn’t have time for them either. I don’t have time for people who exhibit blatant Islamophobia and love the war on terror that the U.S is waging across the world. There are times I just want to slap these people in the face and tell them to get their heads out of their asses. (Whenever I flip to fox news) A lot of these people are in my own family. If I saw Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly in the street tomorrow I honestly don’t know how I would react. My mom’s a Republican. She watches fox news everyday. There are times I think about it and it just makes my blood boil. There are times she exhibits her racism and Islamophobia (despite the fact she’s married to a Pakistani man) in front of me very openly and I just say to her I don’t wanna talk about this and we sit in silence. I don’t have time for that crap. She doesn’t get it. She will never get it. She’s 60 years old, a product of the systems of oppression that run this country. If I try to have a reasonable conversation with her about these issues, it will turn into a shouting match with her being the first one to yell. I’m growing a beard. She told me I should shave because it would make me look like a terrorist, as if Islamic terrorists with beards are the only kind of terrorist or that having a beard and being a terrorist have a cause and effect relationship. She said it in a joking manner, but where do you think she gets these ideas, these sentiments. And the truth is, these sentiments give distance to our relationship. She doesn’t know that because I don’t tell her how I feel. If I did, I’d probably be accused of being an apologist for Black people’s failure to rise up in American society or whatever propaganda BS she can recycle. Do I hate that aspect of her, that particularly white privileged aspect. Yes I do. I hate it with all my being and I wish it could be magically expelled from her mind and soul at the snap of my fingers. Hate is complex. People can say they hate you and they can also say they love you. What they really mean is they hate this aspect of you and they love another. To take it so seriously , especially over a blog on the internet where communication is limited and you can’t see someone’s facial expressions while they’re talking to you and in truth you actually you know very little about where they are coming from, I think is misguided and only serves to engender less and less understanding. That sentiment applies to Hvlos, but it also applies to you as well. It’s truly demoralizing to see people participate in this sort of verbal vomit over the internet which is a forum that essentially so depersonalizes our interactions that most feel comfortable saying things that they would hesitate to say in person. What’s that saying…violence only engenders more violence and hate only more hate. The responsibility is as much on the responding person as the initiator to stop the cycle, again, whether they realize it or not.

      • Again we do not disagree. So far I’ve supported your words. I merely point out white/black/red/tan/yellow. Skin color doesn’t mean one can’t also be a racist. I know people of my nation who are racist and native. All racism is wrong, all racism leads to division and more hate. It gets us no where in stopping it.

        Per the can I blend in yes when I choose to ignore who I am and allow any and all to believe I am white. I refuse to allow myself to be stripped of who I am. I do not agree with racism under any conditions from any person or persons.

        We as I see it have few to no disagreements on the subject. /shrug

        As for your faith, that is yours and anyone saying to you what your faith is or is not is foolish. The same as one telling me you aren’t native is also foolish. We are all one race human and I dream of the same day as doctor king when all are judged by their character and not their color. I practice that in real life daily. I choose to lead the fight of racism with kindness and the example I set with my daily life.

        Blessing and I hope we talk more but I believe this subject is not being productive when we are merely agreeing and the subject.

      • We are not agreeing on the subject and for you to suggest we are agreeing is misinterpreting what I am saying. I say this respectfully, but this conversation would be more productive if you would respond to the points I am making. I think I only deserve it since I am responding carefully to yours. Again all you did was repeat yourself without addressing my arguments. If one doesn’t understand from where hate originates, then one can not hope to solve it. The hate that Hvlos is expressing, once one looks past the language, is focused on the racialized system of oppression. You are focused on the individual acts separated from each other. Sometimes a whole is not the sum of its parts but an entirely different thing entirely. This applies to racist systems just as much as it applies to the human body. You can’t explain the functions of our bodies by studying our individual cells. It is not enough to say that kindness can combat it. Some anger is more legitimate than other anger. If a Black person hates white people because white people have trapped that person in a system of oppression for years and years, are you gonna call that person a reverse racist? Are you gonna instruct that person to love white people regardless of what they have experienced? Are you gonna tell them their hate is the same as a white person hating them merely for the color of their skin? Would you call a slave unjustified in his hatred of white people? That doesn’t make any sense and rightfully so they are going to be resentful of that sentiment. That is being colorblind, that is being ignorant of how systems of oppression work and that is never going to solve the problems of race relations in this country. Could slaves have been freed by appealing to the kindness of their white oppressors? The key is results and if we want results we’re not gonna get them by appealing to kindness because it turns out that people tend not to be kind especially when they don’t understand where another is coming from. Case in point: Your exchange with Hvlos. It is primarily the responsibility of white people to repair that relationship and obviously it can not be done overnight but there is no way it can be done in the manner you are suggesting. It just doesn’t comport with realities of who is the oppressor and who is the oppressed in these systems. I would kindly suggest, if you have not already done so, read James Baldwin. He touches on these topics very well in both his fiction and non-fiction. King’s dream was the end result. It was not the process, and people who focus on that speech tend to only focus on the end result. The only way to get to that end result is to acknowledge hatred and try to understand that it comes from legitimate grievances with racialized systems of oppression, instead of outright dismissing it which happens to be what you are doing Hvlos is not a racist. She may be very crude and very bad at expressing her opinions without insulting other people. And she may be trolling on this blog. But again, if you try to get to the center of the argument she is making which I did, it makes a lot of sense and it’s not enough to say she is a racist and hates all white people. That is a reductionist and gross simplifcation of where her hatred is coming from. The hatred comes from her experience and it’s wrong and inaccurate to suggest that all experiences are equal in their qualitiative aspects and that all people should respond to their experiences in the same manner. She is fully aware of where her hate comes from and where it is directed…at white privilege…not at white people. To hate white privilege is not to hate white people. The two are very different. Just because a person has experienced racism, does not mean that person can not also internalize mindsets of white privilege. White privilege is not exclusively for white people. I have might have aspects of white privilege ingrained in my head that I have no idea about but at least I can be honest about it. Booker T. Washington expressed aspects of white privilege when he told Black people they should just take it slow, that Black people had to prove their worth to the court of White privileged public opinion before the could hope to expect any rectification of past wrongs. These are horrible sentiments. What was he banking on? The kindness of white people stuck in their mentality of privilege. Did it work? No. Washington was out courting politicians while his people continued to suffer. There is no way King approved either of Washington’s methods or his sentiments. He was a Black man and a former slave internalizing aspects of white privilege. Not unheard of. Just because a person has experienced racism, does not mean they automatically understand the experience of another person who experiences racism and that also includes you. It includes me as well But you clearly think you can understand Hvlo’s experience just by virtue of the reductionist definition of racism laid out in the dictionary. Language is more complex then the individual words set out in a large dictionary. It is a construct that changes, and when you use a dictionary definition as the focal point of your argument you are refusing to acknowledge the complexities, the causes, the effects, the nuances of what racism entails.

      • Because I agree with what you said. We agree there is a white privilege. We agree that while I can pretend to get along as white I could go unnoticed. We have no point I can see of disagreement. I do not refuse to acknowledge racism is complex, white people hold the power and should make 99% of the moves to repair things. My point is and remains if a native stands up and advocates kill all whites it is no different than a white saying kill all natives.

      • A native says that because he is oppressed and can not see a way out of his oppression unless his oppressors are eliminated. A white person says that because he is racist. There is a difference in cause even though you and me may agree to condemn both statements as unproductive and ultimately detrimental to the cause of equality and understanding between races. That is the point Hvlos is making. If the constructors of white privilege respected natives what reason would natives have for advocating elinminating whites. Again your not distinguishing between the oppressor and oppressed in the relationship. Just because one can accurately explain the cause of of an action, does not mean one is defending the aaction. Do I condone Islamic terrorism? No. Do I understand the root cause of it as years of oppression and not some blind hatred of Americans. Absolutely. The same applies here. That is my point. That is Hvlos point. And that is Baldwin’s point. Is it logical? Seems to be. Can you refute it?

      • I am against violence. Do I condone violence from anywhere? No. Did whites oppress my people? Yup. We had to fight for our right to vote. We still fight for equality today. The genocide waged against my people does not mean violence and violent speech are not required. Dr. King accomplished civil rights for his people with peaceful messages and nonviolence. He attracted many whites and others to his cause as well. I believe as doctor King that violence has no place at the table. Do I understand it? Yes many of my people are still forced to live in reservations and still the victims of racism to as much an extent as any minority in this nation. Have I suffered as much as some no, have I seen it first hand? Yes. I have Muslim friends and they are great people who have said the violence done in the name of Allah is a sin against their god. But they are great and peaceful people. Are they the same for me personally? No I can just pretend to get along. Are they the same for my father who can not hide the fact he is native just as a black man can’t hide he is black? Yes I have seen it against my family.

      • again you have not answered my argument. You continue to skirt the question here. I respectfully ask that you answer the argument. I admit your ability to skirt the question at hand is amazing but it does not fool me. I did not ever suggest that you should not condone violence. I condone violence as well. You are now changing the topic of conversation to whether we should condone violence or not. Just to be clear, I don’t condone violence. I said that the anger of the oppressed whether it espouses violence or not does not originate from a pure racism. His hate does not come from the same place as the oppressor’s hate which is pure racism. That is why reverse racism is a myth, a excuse. It assumes that the hate comes from the same place as that of the oppressor when it doesn’t. Black people are not being racist when they advocate killing all white people. They are speaking from an oppressors point of view where they see no improvement in their situation unless white people are eliminated from the face of this earth. You are accusing hvlos of being racist for explaining the origins of that statement. She never said she advocates killing all white people, if you read carefully. She is trying to explain to you that origin of that sentiment which is not racist. You have no basis to make the accusation that it is racist. You have not told one to me yet. I beg of you read carefully what I write before you respond. It would save me the trouble of repeating myself. We agree that violence is never the answer. That is not what we are arguing over. The question we are arguing over and which we do disagree on is whether racist intent is behind the oppressed advocating violence towards the oppressor. It is not. White people are not the victims of racism when a Black group says they want to eliminate all white people. To think that is to think that their hate originates from a racist viewpoint. It doesn’t. It originates from the condition of being oppressed. Argue that point please.

      • see that’s the trouble when people are too busy hurling insults at each other. They don’t take the time to understand the other person’s point

      • I believe I answered your question. Which specific question do you believe I did not answer?

      • OMG. show me where you answered this question.

        You explicitly stated two comments ago that and I quote “My point is and remains if a native stands up and advocates kill all whites it is no different than a white saying kill all natives.”

        Despite your claims to the contrary I never agreed with this statement as shown here

        “A native says that because he is oppressed and can not see a way out of his oppression unless his oppressors are eliminated. A white person advocates killing all Blacks because he is racist. There is a difference in cause even though you and me may agree to condemn both statements as unproductive and ultimately detrimental to the cause of equality and understanding between races. That is the point Hvlos is making.”

        Again here with a pretty good analogy

        Do I condone Islamic terrorism? No. Do I understand the root cause of it as years of oppression and not some racist hatred of Americans. Absolutely. The same applies here. That is my point. That is Hvlos point. And that is Baldwin’s point. Is it logical? Seems to be. Can you refute it?

        and again here

        “I said that the anger of the oppressed whether it espouses violence or not does not originate from a pure racism. His hate does not come from the same place as the oppressor’s hate which is pure racism. That is why reverse racism is a myth, a excuse. It assumes that the hate comes from the same place as that of the oppressor when it doesn’t. Black people are not being racist when they advocate killing all white people. They are speaking from an oppressors point of view where they see no improvement in their situation unless white people are eliminated from the face of this earth. You are accusing hvlos of being racist for explaining the origins of that statement. She never said she advocates killing all white people, if you read carefully. She is trying to explain to you that origin of that sentiment which is not racist. You have no basis to make the accusation that it is racist. You have not told one to me yet.”

        As of now, you have not yet refuted my argument with a better one. We were never arguing about whether violence is a good thing or not which you seem to think. We were arguing over whether a Black group’s desire to kill all white people originates from a racist standpoint and is a racist statement. You think so but have not devised an affective argument to back up your position.

        It’s really not that hard to understand where we disagreed if you read carefully what I wrote and what you wrote and what hvlos wrote.

      • Based on the definition of the word racism to hate/dislike act.. based on race. Rather than advocate violence or tolerate such advocation we need to come to the table and talk. I understand the root of the anger. I agree they are not apples to apples but they are both racism.

        My people didn’t get the same civil rights until years after people of color in this country. We suffer today with rampant poverty, and discrimination the same as poc. These are facts. I still stand by words meaning something and violence being wrong. You yourself said angry words beget the same and violence begets violence. So if all recognize racism from any corner is wrong as Dr King did and Sitting Bull did. We would be in a better place in these same discussions.

        I hope that answers your questions and sheds light to any assumption that racism against natives is less than POC. We do not have a lovey dove relationship with as it maybe white Americans. This still does not mean one saying kill all x is worse or better than another saying it.

        What would scare me more about a white person saying kill all x is they also posses most of the power in this nation. It would need to be addressed in a more serious manner perhaps but its still racism to say it for one it would be for the other.

      • “Based on the definition of the word racism to hate/dislike act.. based on race. Rather than advocate violence or tolerate such advocation we need to come to the table and talk. I understand the root of the anger. I agree they are not apples to apples but they are both racism.”

        I agree it is not apples to apples. But you cancel that statement out with the rest of your argument. A black group saying they want to kill all white people is not a race based desire just because they are Black and the people they want to kill are white. Again this is the problem with going to a reductionist definition of racism that you found in the dictionary. Systems of racial oppression have to take into account the oppressor/ oppressed relationship. The reason that this Black group advocates killing all white people is because they are oppressed, because they see no way out of their oppression except by the action of killing white people. That is not a racist motivation. It is a motivation to escape the relationship, to stop being the oppressed. The group doing the oppression is irrelevant to the statement. The only reason it’s directed at white people is because they happen to be the oppressor. Please argue that point instead of repeating what you have already said and distracting with ancillary arguments such as

        “I hope that answers your questions and sheds light to any assumption that racism against natives is less than POC.”

        When did I say this?

        “What would scare me more about a white person saying kill all x is they also posses most of the power in this nation.”

        I agree with this. Power is the key to understanding why it’s not a racist statement. That’s my point. If you wanna throw off the yoke of your oppressor by violence and you perceive your oppressor to be all white people, would you not say advocate violence against them by saying “I wanna kill all white people” It’s a practical statement. You don’t think your oppression will end unless every last white person is eliminated. It’s a practical statement based on a desire to get rid of your oppression, not a racist statement based on skin color. Is it the fact that they are white, that is why you hate them? No!! It’s because they are your oppressors. If they were chinese you would also hate them. But would it be because they were Chinese? See my point??

        “I still stand by words meaning something and violence being wrong.”

        Yes of course words mean something. When did I argue against words meaning something? Just because they mean something, doesn’t mean they’re racist. Yes violence is wrong. Stop repeating that please. I agree.

        “You yourself said angry words beget the same and violence begets violence.”

        I did say that but is that what we are in disagreement over?

      • It is race based they are advocating killing people based solely on race. I understand the underlying anger I have dealt with it in my peoples to. Again my people have been and continue to be oppressed as well. Still violence and violent speech is not the answer. You already said ‘violence begets violence’ that remains true it does.

        Hence why I disagree respectfully and stand by my statement and man or woman is capable of being a racist. You yourself admit words mean something the base word for racism is the same. It means something and it is defined.

        By technicality we are but one race human the concept of black or red or Asian as a race was invented by people to allow the view of differences in genetics to define group a as superior to group b and to advocate for group b to be less than human.

        So do I see the point you are making yes we already acknowledged one group has more power exponentially to act on the threat than another. Both are wrong, both are racist statements.

      • now answer this simple question…on what do you base your argument that a Black group wanting to kill all white people originates from a racist viewpoint? You have not answered that question yet. The fact that the group is Black and the people they want to kill are white does not make it a racist statement for reasons I have explained already unless you have better reasons for your argument others than the ones you have already articulated

      • Because racism is the hatred/dislike of anyone based on race. If I hate white people/black people/ ect then I would be a racist it is that simple read the definition of the word it does not say when a white blah blah it says anyone who blah blah..racism is color blind to whom it hates and whom could be racist.

      • See now your statement shows I answered your question you just didn’t like the answer. ‘Other than the ones you already articulated.’

        So its not that I didn’t answer its that I didn’t answer the way you wanted me to. Words have meanings and if we use them in ways they are not meant then none mean anything why not just say only white people can be water? Oh because water is a liquid h2o and is used for hydration, cleaning, recreation and other things.

        You have your answer. We can agree to disagree or you can accept my honest answer and we can move forward in the discussion. Either way thank you for your thoughtful time I’ve enjoyed our conversation.

      • it’s not that I don’t like your answer. Whether I like it or not is irrelevant. Your answer has a very clear hole in its logic which I’ve pointed out numerous times but most clearly here.

        “Power is the key to understanding why it’s not a racist statement. That’s my point. If you wanna throw off the yoke of your oppressor by violence and you perceive your oppressor to be all white people, would you not say advocate violence against them by saying “I wanna kill all white people” It’s a practical statement. You don’t think your oppression will end unless every last white person is eliminated. It’s a practical statement based on a desire to get rid of your oppression, not a racist statement based on skin color. Is it the fact that they are white, that is why you hate them? No!! It’s because they are your oppressors. If they were chinese you would also hate them. But would it be because they were Chinese? no. it’s because they are your oppressors See my point?? ”

        I don’t think I can explain it any better than this. I am done now. It was a pleasure discussing this with you even if it was frustrating at times.

      • We do not disagree on being oppressed but Dr King accomplished more without such words and such violence than all combined efforts since with these words and such. Its obvious then which works and which does not.

      • in other words you can advocate killing a race. That doesn’t mean you advocate killing them because of their race. That could mean you advocate killing them because you perceive them all to be oppressing you. It’s really very simple and conforms to your dictionary definition. If you still disagree devise a better argument to disagree. I’ve already comported with your dictionary definition so that’s no longer an affective argument. I never argued what works and what does not. I never disagreed with Dr. King. Please stop bringing up things that are not relevant to this argument.

      • To advocate killing an entire race is no excuse. NBPP advocates killing women and children. None of which are oppressors a child holds less power then the oppressed. Now you devise a better argument. Advocating killing an entire race is racism because it leaves no room for the innocent who do not oppress.

      • ‘If passion drives you, let reason hold the reigns’ blind hatred of any race for any reason is racism and reason is not killing them all. I understand the passion I really do. But I choose reason to make decisions.

      • You have a point if their express desire is to eliminate all white people and establish themselves as new oppressors. You don’t have a point if all their rhetoric is just a means to an end to scare white people into building better relations with Black people and letting them have the opportunity to achieve economic and legal parity. I don’t pretend to know the real intentions of the New Black Panther Party, but it would seem to me that if they really wanted to eliminate all white people they would start terrorist attacks inside the country and we would be hearing about it all over the news, but they don’t. All they do is talk their talk without walking their walk. I don’t really take a group like that at their word when they say they want to eliminate all white people and then don’t take steps to actually do it. Of course the NBPP is classified as a hate group based on their rhetoric. But rhetoric can always mask intentions. Case in point is our own government, the most powerful perpetrator of endless lies in the entire world. There’s no law which says that people have to believe what they say and that also applies to the most extremist rhetoric. Based on the absolute irrelevance of the NBPP due to their failure to carry out everything they say they wanna do, I think their lying. I think they use rhetoric to mask their true intentions….which is gain a little publicity and make a few white people afraid for the safety of their families. Now is it counter productive? Absolutely. Is it stupid? Absolutely. If your actions don’t match your rhetoric, why should we trust your rhetoric? At any rate, the NBPP is irrelevant. It’s a small organization. It’s the only group of its kind in the U.S. as far as I know. It has no clout among the great majority of Black people. I think for people to refer to the NBBP as evidence of reverse racism and this great hatred that Blacks have against whites is really absurd. We have real racialized systems of oppression in this country that act in more subtle ways to affect the lives of millions of people. Whenever you have a long-standing racialized system of oppression, there are always going to be groups that form in opposition to it and some of them are going to advocate violence. I mean it’s virtually a given. To focus on those groups at the expense of focusing on rectifying the racialized systems of oppression that caused the formation of those groups in the first place, well that’s the ultimate mistake. One has to remember there would be no NBPP if the system of oppression did not exist. The easiest way to get rid of the NBPP is to affect economic parity between whites and Blacks in the wider society. And the truth is that the NBPP is not preventing that goal from being realized. All they do is talk and no one listens. How could anyone think that a group with so little influence is affecting anything? How can anyone think that reverse racism is seriously the big elephant in the room? I really think it is pointless to take reverse racism seriously once one looks at the wider context of where it comes from. I mean again, the easiest way to get rid of reverse racism if it really exists, which I don’t believe it does, is to get rid of racialized systems of oppression. Just like the easiest way for Israel to defend itself is to pull out of the occupied territories and allow the right of return for Palestinians who were dispossessed of their homes. But of course Israel could care less. And of course people who perpetuate racialized systems of oppression could care less.

      • I did not claim reverse racism. I said they themselves by their words are racist. I said any single person is capable of being a racist. Whites who wish to oppress others are but a tiny minority of whites. But yet all whites and only whites are racist? The numbers of my people who what to kill whites or hate them are a minority but they do not help our cause and they themselves are racists. That is the only point i made. Racism transcends a single race and infects humans. A small minority but they are indeed there. Isreal has its own problems and 99% are fully self imposed. You are correct. I also agree that a vast percentage of racists are probably white. Anyway again you are a pleasure to talk to, no anger just debate. 🙂

      • oh certainly, no anger at all. You are a pleasure to talk to as well. You make a perceptive point that while white people have created all the racialized systems of oppression that exist in this country, there are but a minority of white people who actually intend to be racist. I think this minority is the richest and most powerful people at the top, the ones who create and perpetuate and build upon these systems. So there is a class element there, in my opinion. I think that has to do with as you go lower and lower down on the totem pole of these systems, people tend to not realize how they are functioning as oppressors and how their actions are racist even though their intentions may not be. That tends to be the mark of a good system of oppression, whether it can affectively prevent the oppressors lower on the totem pole from realizing what the affects of what they are doing. I think all those people who dress up as offensive caricatures of racial groups fall into this category. I think my Mom also falls into this category a cog in the machine if you will. Does that mean I think her intentions are racist and she is at her core a racist person. No I don’t think that. I think she is incredibly ignorant and succeptible to propaganda, just as with some of these commenters who defend their costumes. That’s why I think it’s operative sometimes to separate intentions from actions when talking about racism. This is where hvlos and I disagreed, amicably nonetheless. That is also why I think it can not be left up to someone’s personal feelings to determine whether their actions are racist or not. But this all gets to a theory which I’ve been thinking about and developing from these conversations. the systems of oppression that exist in America and throughout the world are certainly racialized but I don’t think they were created with the intent to be racialized nor do I think that is their primary function. I think their primary function is economic, the desire for money, land, and concentrated power. Basically greed. I think the oppressor within a racialized system of oppression needs to justify his actions to himself or else he would feel incredibly guilty about what he is doing because really greed is unjustifiable. You can’t say you are being greedy for the good of the person who is suffering at the expense of your greed. It just doesn’t make sense no matter how you twist it. Since time immemorial human beings have necessitated elaborate justifications to convince themselves that the horrible things and the inhumanity they affect upon each other is benign, necessary, and inherently good. I think it’s fair to say that rationalization is a part of human nature. We are amazingly adept at coming up with convoluted ways to fool ourselves. One can see it with slavery. We are civilizing them. We are christianizing them. God commands us to do it. They are naturally inferior and either deserve to be oppressed or wiped out. These were all the justifications. It was the same with the Native Americans. The question is why would you come up with these justifications and refine them over time and write books and pamphlets about them explaining them in detail if you didn’t have to. Because you have to justify your cruelty to yourself. Now that doesn’t mean that over time the justifications don’t become ingrained and over time and multiple generations that you don’t truly come to believe those justifications. Certainly you do. But I really don’t think these systems of oppression were begun with the intent of being racialized. I am hardly sure if these systems are perpetuated or built upon with the intent of them being racialized. For example, we still essentially have a segregated school system based on race and class in this country. And it is being exacerbated by the move to privatize which only makes it more segregated. But if one looks at the reason our schools are being privatized, it’s quite simple. It’s yet another public good that can be turned into a commodity to be bought and sold on the market and make a few people very very rich at the expense of the rest of us. Is it a system of oppression that is racialized? Certainly. But was that it’s intent? I don’t think so. I think it’s intent is to make a few people a whole lot of money because that’s what privatization does. Now that’s an economic imperative which one could argue stems from capitalism’s relentless search for new “markets” to exploit in order to meet it’s profit maximizing goals. Exploitation is inherent in capitalism. It’s unavoidable. This has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt in plenty of scholarly work. When you combine an economic system based on exploitation and the dispossession of large sectors of the population and the market imperative that forces there to be a few winners and a lot of losers…… and the part of human nature which compels the oppressor to search out justifications for his exploitation of others under that system, then what you get is a racialized system of oppression. This is why I would argue and there’s is scholarly work on this subject that racialized systems of oppression are functions of economic and class-based systems of oppression and not the other way around. This premise can also be argued with welfare deform in the late 90’s, and a number of other issues that are racialized but also stem from capitalism’s imperative to find new markets to exploit create more and more wealth while concentrating it in the hands of fewer and fewer people. This is why I also think that if we want to build a society free of racism, we have to focus on building a society that gives equal economic opportunity to all which is plainly impossible within the capitalist paradigm. What do you think? Is my theory (which honestly is really not MY theory) make sense? Is it somewhat accurate, not at all?

      • Another thoughtful post, i will try and answer your thoughts when i am fully awake. The one thing i do think is the rich do indeed have all the power and if most of them are racist (i say most because look at bill gates he is a generous man and helps minorities with his vast wealth.) So if most of the wealthy are also racist that would and in this case here in america creates a playing field far from level. I love the company i work for because many minorities hold positions of power within its structure. Other places very few POC, natives included and women hold any real say. Money does = power here and the rich get richer while the poor never seem to rise above middle class (where i find myself). I don’t think the problem is unique to capitalism just look at south Africa they were not capitalists and still slavery (economic not physical which is the same minorities face here) and inequality ruled. We indeed need to build a society free of racism, all racism but if you start on any side with anger then the end product if you ever get one will not be better just more of the same with a different twist. 🙂 i will try and get to more at a later time.

        One thing try reversing your earlier analogy and say well the kkk has not killed anyone in 30 years and no longer make good on a promise of violence so is that racism? Just because the nbpp doesn’t make good on its threats doesn’t mean they aren’t espousing racist comments and sentiment. The ilk the kkk spews is sickening and has no place at this table, no place in civil society and no place in a world of man. They deserve to be placed on a little island somewhere and allowed to just die off. I don’t believe in killing and violence so i can’t say i wish them killed i can say i wish they’d all suddenly become blind, mute and deaf.

      • the kkk does not come from a position of the oppressed like the NBPP party does. they have been part of that oppressor class for a very long time. that is why I am certain that they’re intentions are racist…they were not formed to throw off oppression…they were formed to enhance oppression of Blacks based on their racist ideology and they did through violence unlike anything the NBPP has ever done which is basically show up at a few protests, and polling stations and mouthed off. the NBPP meanwhile was born out of oppression…granted at the most extreme end but born out of oppression nonetheless and I think that plays a bigger role in their politics than pure racism. the KKK, well there never was a power struggle with them….they conducted their activities with virtual impunity back when they were a force. the main difference from my perspective is that the KKK was born out of a racist attitude, but in terms of power, they already had it because of course the country was still very racist and they were largely free to do what they wanted. the NBPP, I believe, was born out of a desire to throw off the yoke of oppression.

        “Just because the nbpp doesn’t make good on its threats doesn’t mean they aren’t espousing racist comments and sentiment.”

        You could have a point here if the NBPP figures that because it basically has no power, no numbers, and no support that is the reason it doesn’t follow through in which case then the main reason they don’t follow through is because they don’t see any popular support coming from anyone and not because they aren’t truly racist.

        “The ilk the kkk spews is sickening and has no place at this table, no place in civil society and no place in a world of man. They deserve to be placed on a little island somewhere and allowed to just die off. I don’t believe in killing and violence so i can’t say i wish them killed i can say i wish they’d all suddenly become blind, mute and deaf.”

        I agree with all this.

        I disagree with you on Bill Gates and also philanthropy in general. Granted, I don’t think he is racist. But he does contribute heavily with this money to building racial systems of oppression in this country particularly with his support for the ongoing privatization of education. Public school teachers, minority parents, and their students can not stand Bill Gates because with this money he is essentially and respectfully deskilling their profession, lowering the quality of their children’s education, and reducing the meaning of education to standardized tests. I should know since I wanna be public school teacher and read a lot about the challenges they face and I will soon face. A good blog to read in that regard right here on wordpress is that of Diane Ravitch, former Secretary of Education and now a fierce anti-privatization activist. She will tell you all about Bill Gates. In that way, he is doing a great disservice to minorities with his great wealth.
        Of course people have been crying out to him to stop it already for a very long time but he seems to have perpetual earplugs in his ears whenever they cry out.

      • Wow I never knew that about Bill Gates I just see the news about the money he gives away to help the hungry, education at college levels especially for minorities. I will read this blog. I do know the KKK is a huge part of the problem they also have no place in civil discussion or moving forward with easing racial barriers and tensions.

        A teacher? There is no finer calling than the desire to educate the next generation. Its a thankless job, and though people think its so easy it is not. Teachers spend summers furthering their educations, refining their materials, all school year they teach, tutor and couch and then go home and grade papers. So in advance of your career let me be the first to thank you for your career path. You have already proven a good teacher. Hell you made me think 🙂 I hope to see you get teacher of the year someday I will be in attendance if invited and will cheer and clap for you. Though I also know teachers don’t do it for the awards or praise they do it out of love. Anyway serious props to you and best of luck with this.

        Now I’ve reading to do about the only rich man I thought I could admire. /le sigh Even hero’s turn to sand like a drop in the ocean.

      • I have no desire to “rebutt” those videos. Not once do any of them say racism is not about race. You are still arguing the losing point to be a racist is to hate based upon race. If one does this they in fact are racist. You can claim only whites can be raacist but that claim is not factual.

        As for experiencing racism I have indeed. I am too white to be native/ Wow what a racist comment of it’s own free will. Do i disagree white people have an easier path. Nope. Do I disagree there are people who are white who us power to keep others “not like them down” Nope. We agree on this your whole disagreement is because you can’t admit a person of color the new black panther leader calling for people to “kill all white poeple” and saying other things of the like isn’t in it self racism. I have been denied scholorships because I am deaf or to white to be native despite bloodtests and my regisrty with the Lakota nation since brth. I have faced it from whites because I am native. Hell I face it from you.

        Nice try though we will stay on topic. A person ~any~ person who dislikes another because of their rrace is a racist. The racists color doesn’t matter and the victims color doesn’t matter. To hate based one race is racism.

      • hvlos says:

        Actually they rebutted everything you said because there are dumb White people like you who actually said the same dumb shit lol.

        I’m waiting.

      • You’re still stuck in hate. Try growing up and talk to me when you do. Neither of us deny racism is a problem nor would I argue that much of it comes from the white community. Not all though. When you learn to appreciate language you will understand the word racism. Why you continue to attack when infact we agree on more than we disagree. Well that’s beyond me.

        I know in your little world you can’t see anyone but white people as racist but you’d be wrong. When you come to that understanding we’ll be on the same page. Enjoy your bliss for when it lifts the world isn’t as bad as you paint it to be.

      • hvlos says:

        I actually haven’t agreed with any of the shit you’ve said.
        So uhm when are you gonna either put up or shut up?

      • I am not shutting up and I already put up sorry you are to dense to see. Now go away little girl and find someone else to play with.

      • hvlos says:

        *too. Also it would actually be phrased “Now go away, little girl, and…” But I guess I’M the dense one lol
        And have you really been waiting online this entire time for me? I went out, had dinner, got some shopping done, picked up a colleague at the airport, and you were sitting here the whole time weren’t you? Just begging for me to return?

        Creepy. Still waiting on those replies from those videos. =D

      • Nope I have something called a smart phone. I have the internet on it and everything.. already told you I have no intention to reply to those you are to stupid to understand the meaning of a single word like racism so you wouldn’t understand a word I say anyway.

      • hvlos says:

        Oh so you use your “smartphone” to connect to me at all times? Even worse! I don’t even have the WP app on my phone because I believe in this thing called logging off…

        And I’m sure you have no intention of replying based on those videos because you know you’ve been outdone. 😉

      • Nope WordPress let’s me know I have new messages. You just so happen to like talking to me else you’d go away.

      • PS these is not being out done we do not disagree there is a white privilege so why would I argue against my own belief system? That is called stupidity. You just fail to understand words have meanings and anyone can be a racist if they hate based on race. Until you can come to grips with simple fact that advocating to kill all whites is racist then you are simply living in denial.

      • hvlos says:

        Can you like seriously go away you’re creeping me out with your pasty hypocrisy and lack of logic.

      • hvlos says:

        And since you enjoy harassing people of color because you’re racist I’m going to block you. =D Have a nice day, skinhead!

    • Kevin says:

      Michelle,

      Racism certainly exists within minority groups against other minority groups and against whites. This is equally wrong and problematic. I acknowledge this and talk about it from time to time when appropriate. I did (for example) call out minorities who dressed up as Native Americans last year for Halloween as well.

      That being said, this particular issue (as with many other issues) is situated in the historical context of white/Western/European domination and exploitation of people of color. One cannot simply glance over that. Bringing that up and acknowledging how that impacts race relations today and the topic at hand is not encouraging hatred against white people or dismissing the racism in minority groups.

  9. gianna says:

    great article …agree completely and this is th first time i heard of such tragedies as th murder of trayvon martin by a man who shouldnt have been armed in th first place, reduced to a costume…those who do this, actually wont hear u bc th old ‘i was only jokin’ defense is all they know–and u right again…it offends their insistence that they can do whatever pleases em….i will say too, those who are changeable from th outside arent really changed at all, political correctness is just veneer…bc sin is of th heart and cant be changed or educated out…

    until ppl have th love of God in their hearts, their adamic, self- love wil continue to hate…makin everyone else a prop for their personal amusement…

    in th same time, ima Spirit-born child of God, a disciple of Jesus Christ and have great hope for th healing of th broken hearted …

    i know that adam is th head of his race, and Christ is th head of His…’race’ which defines and categorizes by outward physical appearances (not sure when tht was decided or by who) doesnt really even exist; God made all from one blood (acts 7:26)…and bc of our better covenant, we are either born of adam, continue in sin, and return to dust, or we be born of Christ, dont continue in sin, and have eternal life…

  10. Samantha says:

    Although obviously intent is hard to extract from actions when none of us can read what another’s truly are, I think the problem with most of these is not necessarily the “blackface”, but the intent behind them. I honestly think that Julianne Hough’s costume was not offensive and not worthy of her being absolutely shamed for it. Anyone who was offended had the right to be, but I think when you’re emulating a character and actress that according to her, is someone she admires and looks up to, that the intent is not harmful. And in that case, I feel that everyone saying “What was she thinking?” was unwarranted. I feel that it’s the same as when I was younger and loved Disney’s Pocahontas, and despite being black/white/Native American/Spanish, my skin or hair is not dark enough to emulate her looks in costume. Would that still be wrong?

    I don’t know, I feel that sometimes there are knee-jerk reactions to certain things that aren’t necessarily as bad as they seem at first. Like I said, all of the other examples in this post were extremely inappropriate and offensive at first glance, most especially the Trayvon Martin ones. But the Orange is the New Black? I think it needs some reexamination.

    • hvlos says:

      The only reason you think blackface isn’t offensive is because you’re White and lack the perspective required to understand what black face actually is.

      • Samantha says:

        And for you to make the assumption that I am White without actually reading my comment thoroughly is fairly par for the course, but I still feel the way I do.

      • hvlos says:

        I can see you’re White, and even moreso I can see you’re not Black. So clearly you’re not in a position to talk about Blackface because blackface isn’t about you.

        Learn your place.

      • Samantha says:

        Except I am black. Sorry my skin is too light for you to “see” that, but it doesn’t change that it’s in my blood and a lot of my immediate family is black. Stop making assumptions about people you don’t know and thinking you know their experiences. Mine may be a different experience (being rejected by both of your cultures), but it doesn’t mean I can’t see an experience of either one of the ones I belong to.

      • hvlos says:

        You’re not the first White person to claim they’re Black online. Also, do you really think you being “Black” magically makes blackface less offensive? Instead of being a typical clueless White person you’d be one of those self loathing Black people that want to pretend like black face isn’t offensive. If you think it’s not offensive you’re an idiot no matter what race you wanna claim today.

      • Samantha says:

        All I’m saying is blackface is offensive because of the context, and if the context changes it has a possibility for its offense to dissipate. You can not believe me if you want, but you’re just reinforcing some of my same experiences. So what? You can think what you want. And I’m done replying to you.

      • hvlos says:

        Black face is offensive period. Do you honestly think if someone dressed up in Black face for Halloween knowing how racist it is and does it ANYWAY that they give a shit about offending other people? lol Should I let people call me a n*gger too? Because it’s all about whether or not the White person thought it was offensive themselves?

        Thank God you’re done replying because you are too damn stupid for words. A shame you’re “Black” how embarrassing.

      • hvlos, I very much agree that Blackface is offensive because it is a racist caricature. But one thing I don’t understand is why you and other Black people refer to Blackface as part of your culture. It seems to me from what I’ve read about it that Blackface was a part of white culture…..a very racist, disgusting, and depraved white culture. The caricature was created by white people to demean Black people because of their race. Therefore it appears to me that a good point to argue when people argue that white people dressing up in Blackface is all about transcending and embracing cultures and all that BS is that Blackface is white culture not Black culture and therefore there is no transcending of cultures. White people created and owned the caricature. What is your opinion?

      • hvlos says:

        Who said Blackface is part of MY culture? It’s part of racist White culture that affects Black people. Did you forget that part? It directly affects Black people negatively. The word n*gger is part of racist White culture and yet it still affects Black people negatively.

        There is no transcending racism by being racist. That’s so fucking stupid. And it shows your priority isn’t to NOT be racist and actually listen to Black people about racism – your priority is trying to justify doing whatever ignorant shit you feel like doing.

        White people don’t even have a place in this conversation because none of you have any fucking clue what it’s like to BE Black. Racism is a part of your life as a Black person every single damn day. It’s not just a series of individual experiences. White people do not understand that and that’s why they have no place on my blog nor having these talks with me. They can run and go find the one clueless Black person that’s been Whitewashed to use as their tool to not feel guilty and leave me the fuck alone.

      • No I didn’t forget. I think I just misrepresented your beliefs. I apologize. I’m not white. I’m Pakistani. But I agree I think white people have a very difficult time understanding racial oppression because they have never had to experience it. It can not be left up to someone’s personal opinion to decide whether something is offensive or not whether they are White or Black. It’s offensive because it is a racist caricature. It’s that simple. Not that hard to understand, but hard for a lot of people to accept. It’s the same reason they are offended when they read James Baldwin and accuse him of reverse racism when in fact it just shows that they haven’t really read James Baldwin in a serious manner. Some people would characterize your anger as reverse racism. Those are people who are too ignorant to understand that systems of oppression are made by the oppressor for the oppressor at the expense of the oppressed and that is where the anger comes from. The anger is justified and legitimate. I see that same anger expressed in Baldwin’s works of fiction. That’s the anger that some white people can’t seem to comprehend. Who do white people think created the racist caricature of the Black welfare queen? Certainly not Black people. The ignorance amazes me. The inhumanity amazes me. I must qualify that I do not speak from personal experience as you do. But I have tried to understand as much as a person who is not Black can. I did experience being discriminated as an Arab-looking person while I was in Israel. People compare the Israeli colonization and oppression of Palestinians to apartheid in South Africa. There are stark similarities. But then you have ignorant Americans claiming that Israel has the right to defend itself. Well ya know what would be the easiest way to defend itself. By not oppressing a whole sector of its population and withdrawing from land it occupies illegally. But it’s the same mindset that came up with this absurd idea of reverse racism that continues to justify horrible treatment of Palestinians.

      • hvlos says:

        Oh don’t even get me started on Israel. lol. I have this conversation way too often with White people that don’t get it and it literally stresses me out. There’s a reason why Black people live shorter lives. I’ve been dealing with racist shit from all directions my entire life so I’m not gonna have some White person come in with their ignorant opinion and try to negate that with one statement. America defends Israelis because they are the more “White” people involved. Same reason why they only jumped in about the Holocaust when they learned Jews were being killed – they killed FAR MORE Black people than White people during the Holocaust but they didn’t give a shit.

        White people have been taught all their lives that they were forgiven and that they don’t do messed up shit so it’s understandable why they’re so damn ignorant.

        But thank you for actually understanding what I’m talking about, it’s actually very refreshing lol

      • I agree. It’s the same reason some Americans attribute terrorism to Muslims hating our freedom, our excpetionalsim, our whatever superior aspect of America some can think up. It’s all BS. Public opiinon polls show that the people in Arab/Muslim countries don’t hate the American people. They hate our government and they have very good reasons for hating our government. Good reasons that can be traced back 60 years. But then they ignorantly claim that its the responsibility of so-called moderate Muslims to police their own communities and make sure no one becomes a terrorist…i.e. transferring the responsibility of the entire problem to the oppressed. Meanwhile President Obama continues to inflame hatred of the American government all over the world with his unconditional support for Israel, his drone strikes inside Pakistan, Yemen, and a lot of other countries. Studies show that 40-60 potential new terrorists are created every time a missile drops. I mean wouldn’t you be angry if a foreign power came to your house and started dropping bombs on your family and friends. But of course it’s only terrorism if America is not the country perpetrating the terror. That’s why Arab looking people such as myself are given an extra special search and strip down when they fly to or from an Ben-Gurion airport. I will however respectfully disagree with you in one aspect. The reasons that the American government supports Israel’s oppression I don’t think have much to do with racism. There are strategic objectives and the desire to have hegemony over the entire world. Now groups like the Anti-defamation league and other so-called Israeli lobby groups are definitely racist, but they have affect on anti-Palestinian sentiment among the American people and really have no affect on U.S. government policies. Also, as I read more and more about the relationship between capitalism and racism, I really think that racism is, in part, not completely but in part a function of capitalism and it’s privileging of certain groups of people over others that is inevitable in the capitalist system. I think it’s a part of human nature that when one group of people is exploiting another that they have to come up with some explanation that for their horrible actions that absolves them of responsibility, that implicates the oppressed as responsible for their own oppression, that morphs the motivation for oppression into something that sounds benign like “civilizing” or “christianizing”. Since ultimately capitalism is an economic system in which oppression is inevitable then I think it’s fair to say that the development of systemic racism can be attributed in part to capitalism.

      • hvlos says:

        White people have been terrorizing people that look like me for hundreds of years so I see their bullshit completely hypocritical. Like they magically think killing people with drone attacks is “heroism” but if anyone kills an American they’re monsters and terrorists. As a Muslim I don’t believe that killing people is ever correct, but I’m not gonna sit here and let Americans actually think in my presence they’re in the right. Americans can’t handle responsibility, they literally have made excuses for all of their fuckery. Systematic racism at its worst.

        But I guess part of that system is White people also wrongfully teaching their children that they’re perfect and have done nothing wrong.

      • If I may say this, while I do understand your anger and you make very good points, you are not gonna get the commenters here to understand your point of view by accusing them of racism and using strong language. You have right on your side, you have the logical and well thought out arguments that are impossible to refute. If you continue to respond the way you are, these commenters who don’t understand systems of oppression are never gonna alter their views and. I’m not sure if you really care whether they do, but it seems to me that you wouldn’t be commenting, you wouldn’t be so passionate if you didn’t care. If they still disagree once you make your points, then so be it. People are stubborn and changing your opinion on something is very stigmatized in our society. But at least give them the chance, if you know what I mean. There opinions are only hardened when they see your responses. The only reason I responded the way I did is because I enjoy these conversations and I think being uncomfortable is part of dialogue and is not an excuse to end the dialogue. It’s not an excuse to end the conversation because someone curses or misrepresents your argument or gets belligerent. People need to be understood in context too. Anger needs to be understood in context. But that being said a lot of these commenters are not gonna understand that and there jsut gonna give back what you give them. So I guess my point is don’t give them the chance to do that, because clearly you are a very nice person

      • hvlos says:

        In my experience it does not matter what type of language you use. You can be kind and they’ll walk all over you. You can be aggressive and they’ll shut down to. My goal isn’t to make these people learn, I’m not getting paid to teach these people. They’re already on the internet they could challenge their own racism if they really wanted to but they don’t.

        But cursing out racists makes me feel better. And I like exposing them to views outside of their White circle of friends. They aren’t going to engage in dialogue with you with anything meaningful behind it just because you’re being nice.

        And as you seem to get, my anger is understandable. Therefore none of these people are gonna tone police me nor should they expect me to be nice. I’m not gonna grant them that privilege.

        If they don’t learn from it then that’s their own ignorance coming into play. Honestly I would love it if I didn’t have to interact with White people ever again but I do and as long as they keep fucking my life over and making me reconsider reproducing because I don’t want my kids around racist assholes then they’re gonna get the bitch side and I don’t care if they don’t like it. If they honestly expect me to be nice and just take their shit they are dead wrong.

      • OK fair enough. I must admit I don’t expect people to be nice either. Rather, I expect them to just repeat themselves, accuse me of being an apologist or reverse racist or not respond. But at the same time I think their rationalizations are largely a product of ignorance and less of overt racism. I mean consider that these commenters would probably say that slavery was horrible and immoral and racist, but at the same time they rationalize a Blackface costume. There is a clear contradiction there, but I think the contradiction becomes more understandable once one looks at it as ignorance of how racial systems of oppression function more than overt racism. I mean after all it’s not like we learn about racial systems of oppression in the embarrassment that is the American educational system. I’m not ready to accuse these commenters of malevolence. I really think that all these issues have to be discussed early in high school and really that’s the only way that people will understand why wearing a Blackface costume is abhorrent. That and a whole restucturing of our society perhaps towards real and genuine desegregation. But at the same time I respect your opinion and I enjoyed this conversation.

      • hvlos says:

        White people would rather play as victims than admit and change their ignorance.

        Thanks for offering up a real conversation about it, I’m just happy I was able to have it with you.

      • It was a pleasure and I must thank you for inspiring my next blog post about the issues we discussed.

      • hvlos says:

        I look forward to reading it!

      • Your argument that Blackface is offensive according to the context is a very weak argument. It doesn’t hold up to careful scrutiny. Blackface is a racist caricature. That doesn”t change because it’s 2013 rather than 1830. What it’s use in costumes shows is that some Americans are all right with commodifying anything and everything on the face of this earth. Even an awful aspect of white culture is now open to being commodified. To forget is to ignore. And to ignore is to devalue. And to devalue is essentially to say to Black people our shared history, and by that I mean the shared history between Blacks and whites, is not important. The object of the exercise is to acknowledge that the stereotype is offensive no matter how it’s used, and when it becomes commodified like in a costume that automatically means it is devalued for what it originally was, which was a representation of the historical oppressor/oppressed relationship between whites and Blacks. It’s not offensive because I think it’s offensive. It’s not unoffensive because you think it’s not offensive. It’s offensive because it represents subjugation, no matter the intention of the person wearing it or in your case, the person defending it. Slavery was offensive because it was the practice of subjugation. Do we really care whether the slave driver thought it was offensive or not? Do we care whether the slave driver thought it was wrong or not? And to be sure, he didn’t think that. He thought he was inculcating Christian values. He thought he was civilizing the uncivilized. He thought he was far more moral than the person he was exploiting.

    • Kevin says:

      I see what you are saying about the Orange is the New Black incident of blackface but I disagree that an honest/good intention absolve her or makes the costume less offensive. The reason I disagree is because I do not think the issue is primarily about personal intent but about public and historical context.

      Many times when these costumes are worn, the defense is situated in the person’s intent. “She just intended to honor the character in Orange is the New Black…” sounds a lot like “We are naming this team the Redskins to honor you” or “They dressed up as that just to have fun. They didn’t mean anything by it.”

      While someone might wear these costumes with a good intent or no real animosity towards the races and cultures they represent, this doesn’t magically dispel the larger historical context.

      For example, one could argue that the people who wore the Trayvon Martin costumes were intending to have fun and make a topical joke, not to encourage racial profiling or actual murders. Would their light-hearted intent make it right?

      While I agree this woman probably did not mean to invoke a history of complicated and unjust race relations with her costume, she probably just wanted go as a character from a show, it does not her costume did not invoke a history of complicated and unjust race relations.

  11. I don’t normally reply to these articles, but I have to speak up.
    Just because an outfit is in poor taste, doesn’t mean that they can’t wear it. Flip the roles if you will. Are you offended when a minority dresses as Hitler? or George Bush? By the rationale you propose “Western-Europeans” should be. Your article is at the very heart is racist and segregationist at the same time. The fact that people feel more comfortable today expressing themselves across cultures and ethnicity is the true statement of their lack of racism and their willingness to express themselves as they see fit.
    You have a right to be offended, true. But I still have a right to express myself.
    Also, if you look at the actual history of Halloween you will see that it is all about ACTUAL dead people. Get your facts straight please. Stop perpetuating your racism and let human nature and humor live on.

    • “the true statement of their lack of racism and their willingness to express themselves as they see fit.”
      Im confused….does having a willingness to express yourself as you see fit (how else would you express yourself?) mean that you can’t be racist? Are the two mutually exclusive?

      “Blackface is tied directly to minstrel shows and the larger exploitation of black people during slavery and Jim Crow.”
      I’m confused…you think treating this awful image and depraved caricature of Black people so flippantly as to wear it as a costume constitutes “people feeling more comfortable today expressing themselves across cultures and ethnicity.” That’s not expressing across anything. The culture your referring to was a shared or rather an imposed culture. Whites owned it. Blacks suffered under it. So no one is moving across anything. This has everything to do with the perverse need to commercialize every possible stereotype out there. It’s the commodification of culture. Did Julianne Hough know anything about the culture represented in the costume she was wearing? No!!! You can’t transcend cultures if you don’t know what culture your transcending. Transcending is not synonymous with ignoring. Transcending is not synonymous with forgetting. Transcending is to acknowledge and move to what would generally be called a higher state of being. It’s a comparative term. You can’t move higher from nothing. You have to move higher from lower. That would mean understanding what constitutes “lower” and why it is “lower” and why you want to move from lower to higher. Your understanding of what it means to express yourself across cultures is severely lacking and doesn’t even apply in this situation since it is a shared culture between Blacks and Whites. No one can say we live in a post-racial society unless we make the effort to eliminate racial stereotypes from our lives totally and completely. And that includes not treating them flippantly as to display them as a part of commodified culture. Explain your logic. Is this an aspect of our culture that we should admire? Is it an aspect of our culture that should be so normalized as to become commercialized? I assume you have no problem then with someone dressing up in a costume representing a Nazi caricature of Jewish people. I would. How about not just Blackface, but Blackface in chains and with a person behind them carrying a whip and pretending to lash them? Your argument is so weak. If you are all right with Blackface you automatically have to be all right with that according to your logic.
      The object of the exercise is to put yourself in another’s shoes which Americans tend to be very bad at doing. How can anyone pretend to understand the feeling of intense racial oppression if they’ve never felt it? How can anyone tell a person who is oppressed “Oh your just making up excuses, you’re just overly sensitive, you’re just a big crybaby” when they have never stepped in that person’s shoes and never lived a day or a week or a month or a year as that person? Well I can think of several reasons why…self- absorption, ignorance, the illogical and irrational feeling that this person is somehow implicating you for their oppression at the hands of others, the irrational need to defend the immoral actions of a person who may have the same skin color or ethnicity or religious background or any other superficial characteristic as you….as it turns out none of these reasons are good reasons. I don’t pretend that I can ever fully comprehend the magnitude of the oppression that Black people have suffered in this country and continue to suffer. I got a taste of Israeli oppression and humiliation of Palestinians at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel when I was singled out for my Arab/Muslim descent before I even stepped foot in the airport and got strip-searched and put through a separate screening process that took an extra hour and a half long. Was that humiliating? Yes. Did I feel dehumanized? Yes. Do I pretend you or anyone else who has not experienced the same thing would fully understand? No. I don’t care what your intent was. I don’t care if you think of yourself as racist or not. This is not about anyone individual. It’s not about you, and that is what so many people who cry “overly sensitive” don’t understand. Stop thinking about yourself for one second. It is about a caricature. It is about a system of oppression that apparently is now so forgotten and so disregarded that it has become commodified. To forget is to ignore. And to ignore is to devalue. And to devalue is essentially to say to Black people our shared history, and by that I mean the shared history between Blacks and whites, is not important. The object of the exercise is to acknowledge that the stereotype is offensive no matter how it’s used, and when it becomes commodified like in a costume that automatically means it is devalued for what it originally was, which was a representation of the historical oppressor/oppressed relationship between whites and Blacks. It’s not offensive because I think it’s offensive. It’s not unoffensive because you think it’s not offensive. It’s offensive because it represents subjugation, no matter the intention of the person wearing it or in your case, the person defending it. Slavery was offensive because it was the practice of subjugation. Do we really care whether the slave driver thought it was offensive or not? Do we care whether the slave driver thought it was wrong or not? And to be sure, he didn’t think that. He thought he was inculcating Christian values. He thought he was civilizing the uncivilized. He thought he was far more moral than the person he was exploiting. Put yourself in the shoes of a Black person who has descendants who were forced to participate in these minstrel shows and experienced oppression under slavery and Jim Crow. They were treated as commodities, not as human beings. The image that was built up over time was of a commodity. It was part of white culture. The image belongs to whites, not to Blacks. And therefore they are responsible for it, and they are responsible for eliminating it. How can Blacks be expected to remove an image of them that was not of their own creation? It’s like saying I created this product and it doesn’t work but you are responsible for it. Doesn’t make any sense. Do Black people have to show that they are not worthy of the Blackface caricature? That’s equivalent to asking, Did Black people have to show that they weren’t worthy of slavery? To the second question, No, but many white people at the end of the civil war thought they did. To the first question No, but white people certainly are obligated to work as hard as they can to eliminate the vestiges of that time period. And no that doesn’t just mean the actual institution of slavery. It also refers to the mindset, the modes of thought, the systems of rationalization that develop as a result of the oppressed/oppressor relationship. To think that America has eliminated that mode of thought is to ignore the facts (the image of the Black welfare queen who is getting goodies (like food and housing, serious luxuries there) she doesn’t deserve, which is an entirely false carcicature that is not at all in touch with reality, just to name one), and further to think that it could have been eliminated by now is also absurd and naive (although of course that’s not an excuse to say we shouldnt continue working to eliminate it). We are just 150 years removed from the abolition of slavery and 60 years removed from the civil rights movement and its gains of solely political rights for Black people, to say nothing of economics (which the economic situation for Black people now is much worse than it was 30 years ago). If anything human nature demonstrates that it takes a very long time to eliminate poisonous ways of thinking. But according to your logic if it’s part of human nature it’s admirable no matter what we are referring to. These are very short periods of history when one considers how long and the severe degree to which Black people of all ethnicities were oppressed by white people not just in America but also across the world. The burden is on the oppressor which happened to be white people to eliminate the unequal relations because they are the ones who created them. the responsibility of creating a post-racial society falls primarily on the shoulders of white people since they were the ones responsible for creating a society of unequal race relations in the first place. That’s not a racist statement. That’s called an acknowedgement of guilt. That’s called owning up to stuff. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 100 years old or 20 years old. Attitudes are passed on. Culture is passed on. Beliefs are passed on. We have the freedom and the responsibility to alter those poisonous attitudes, that poisonous culture, those poisonous beliefs that came before us. That’s called taking responsibility which some white people love to point to Blacks and say they’re not taking responsibility, when in fact it is still the system of unequal relations that is oppressing them, although not to the same degree as 150 years ago. It is some white people who refuse to take responsibility and prefer to shift blame. It is some white people who are stupid enough to believe the caricature of the Black welfare queen without looking at the facts in an unbiased and objective fashion. It is some white people who are stupid enough to believe that some Black people would prefer welfare to the dignity of work that pays a good wage (there’s no dignity in work that pays a crappy wage so stop criticizing people for not being willing to take the shitty wage job) It is some stupid entitled white people who are more concerned with poor Black people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps than with the corporations who employ them paying them a living wage. It is some white people who are stupid enough to believe that because there are Black obese and overweight people who are also on welfare, oh that means they are living large (the cheapest food happens to also be the least nutritious and most processed and most filled with saturated fats, high sugar, high salt etc) It is some stupid entitled white people in this country who believe that redistribution of wealth only applies when it goes from the poor to the rich, when in fact we already have the biggest wealth redistrubution system in the entire world….from the rich to the poor. Ever heard of corporate welfare? Now that’s living large. That’s the mindset of the oppressor. It’s called rationalization. The slave drivers did the same thing. That’s what human beings do when they can’t own up to the immorality of their actions, beliefs, attitudes, as well as the immorality of the system. That’s a part of human nature. And is the freedom to offend really the highest freedom you want to aspire to? There exists no right to be offended and there exists no right to offend. There is the freedom to express yourself, but that’s not the same as a so-called right to offend. You have the freedom. You don’t have the right. The author is not compelling you to stop speaking your mind, as you seem to think when you proudly boast that you have a right to express yourself. Um who’s stopping you? Who is stopping Julianne Hough from expressing herself? She can go out in Blackface tomorrow if she feels like it (Is there a law against it? Because I think that law would violate our constitution) , if she doesn’t care about what some other people think. She has the freedom to not care. No one is disputing that and no one is trying to take away that freedom That is what this is really about. It’s about not caring about what other people think. It’s also about not wanting to care. It’s about sticking to your guns no matter what logic flies in the face of your faulty reasoning that we’ve heard over and over again and it’s frankly nothing new. It takes a pretty courageous person to publicly and even privately change their views on something in the face of logic and facts and just plain empathy, more courage then it takes to stick to their guns. Who is stopping anyone who shares your viewpoint from expressing themselves? The author is not taking away your freedom, unless you think criticism of your viewpoint constitutes an infringement of your freedom of expression which in that case, you really don’t care about freedom of expression then…..do you?…unless it’s your freedom to express. He is however pointing out very real problems with the logic and sentiment of your viewpoint as am I. Whether you want to acknowledge our arguments or not is up to you, but don’t act like we are taking away your freedom to say and think and do whatever the hell you want. Because we’re not. No one’s oppressing you. Get that straight.

    • Kevin says:

      Thanks for taking the time to respond, and even disagree with me. Let me respond to a couple of your concerns and questions.

      I would be offended by minorities dressing up as Hitler and/or wearing some of the costumes I’ve talked about. If you look at my post last year you will see I called out mixed-race, black, and asian minorities who dressed up as a Native American. This post is about one specific reason such costumes are unjust, not the only reason.

      “The fact that people feel more comfortable today expressing themselves across cultures and ethnicity is the true statement of their lack of racism and their willingness to express themselves as they see fit.”

      I think I get what you are saying here, that we are mixing cultures and this is a sign of multi-culturalism and acceptance, but I think it could be taken in very wrong ways.

      White kids listening to black music, black kids learning asian martial arts, or my Filipino father dating and marrying my white mother…okay, those are probably a neutral or good things that show an increased willingness to accept, co-mingle and enjoy other races and cultures.

      White kids dressing up as Native Americans and getting drunk at a frat party? Blackface costumes? Slave costumes? I do not think those could be understood as “expressing themselves across cultures.” These are not people learning about and engaging with other cultures, but dressing up as stereotypes and/or invoking injustices those minority racial and cultural groups have endured, often for fun or as a joke. How could these be understood as a lack of racism when they show either a lack of cultural awareness or a malicious intent and an attitude of superiority towards another culture/race?

      A question for you now: How do you define racism, and how would that definition apply to me?

  12. Opiphany says:

    We can probably agree that dressing up as murdered black teenagers is bad and KKK costumes are definitely on the racist side, but what about a white kid who moonwalks while dressed as Michael Jackson, wearing a sparkly silver glove and shiny red jacket? I’m sure that would probably offend someone out there, but I don’t necessarily see anything wrong with it. So, my question is, at what point does it go from just “dressing up for fun” to being blatantly offensive? Is it simply the historical relationship between the race of the oppressor and the race of the oppressed that makes costumes offensive?

    Last year, I dressed as a zombie for Halloween. This year, I wanted to be my favorite character from The Walking Dead, Michonne. I didn’t plan to paint my face black, but I did think about braiding my hair and getting two guys on chains to follow me around and pretend to not have arms or mandibles. Then I thought that it’s probably pretty inappropriate for a white woman to walk the street with black men on chains……..

    A racist thought never once entered my mind, but I had to consider how my costume would be perceived and that’s what lead me to my realization. Do an image search of “Michonne costume” and you’ll find a young black girl dressed the part, with a black guy on a chain. Seems ok, right? But, you’ll also find a white woman with black face paint, wearing a dreadlocks wig, standing with 2 armless black zombie dolls. (http://ideas.coolest-homemade-costumes.com/2012/11/07/creepy-michonne-costume-walking-dead/) So, two girls… same costume… different races. I’m not advocating for white people to paint themselves black, but why is it ok for one but not the other? Are we limited to staying within parameters of our own race? With regard to Disney princesses, can a Cinderella costume only be worn by blonde, white girls? Black girls have to be Princess Tiana and only Asians get to be Mulan? Who sets what is deemed acceptable and what is offensive? What is the one factor that takes it “too far?”

    PS… I’ve decided to be Super Mario for Halloween this year. Hopefully I won’t offend any overweight Italian plumbers.

    • Tina says:

      I was with you until the “Super Mario” comment. With that one line, you truly showed your “you’re too sensitive” character. This is one of things this dialogue is about. How about this? If you want to dress up as a famous TV or movie character, fine. Leave off the black/red/yellow face. Walkers seem to be of all races, so why not find two white men to follow you around on chains. Makes sense? You’re welcome.

  13. Henshaw says:

    FWIW… Orange is the New Black is based on a book about a white woman in prison. If Native American costumes are bad then I suppose people who wear green on St. Patrick’s Day are insensitive to the Irish Potato Famine of 1845.

    I agree with blackface, KKK, and other insensitive costumes, but you lose me at Native Americans.

    • Kevin says:

      I know Orange is the New Black is based off the book written by a white woman. My point is that the experience of incarceration is disproportionately experienced by people of color. This is largely ignored by the mainstream society despite many attempts to bring attention to this issue. Then suddenly a white woman is in jail for a year and it becomes a compelling HBO drama…

      In regards to the Irish and Native American comparison I think that is comparing apples to oranges. The early Irish immigrants were discriminated against, but were rather quickly assimilated into the white society of the United States. The potato famine and mass Irish immigration also was sparked by natural causes. Green is not (as far as I know) considered sacred to the Irish. In contrast, the indigenous people in the United States (and elsewhere) have suffered very intentional and systematic efforts at genocide, starvation, land-theft, etc. from the dominant society. A number of aspects of their dress (such as for example, headdresses/war-bonnets) are held sacred or in high respect within their culture.

      Let me ask you, why are blackface and KKK outfits not okay, but dressing up as a Native American okay? In other words, why is blackface not okay but redface okay?

      • Henshaw says:

        Because a huge group of people find it offensive. I’m part Native American and find nothing about Indian costumes offensive.

        What’s the acceptable amount of past wrong to become offensive in the future?

      • I am also native (Lakota) and I find the sports teams name “Redskins” offensive. That word has been used for centuries to demean my people as much as the N word has been used to demean POC. As for costumes try being a monster, ghost, ghoul or go as a slut or whatever but racial identities and costumes like the ones shown here have no place in a civil society. Unfortunately we don’t live in a fully civil society. Here’s to a better tomorrow maybe and hopefully those peoples parents get ahold of them and paddle their behinds.

  14. I guess I’m a racist.
    I don’t understand how dressing like another culture is a bad thing? Aren’t we supposed to embrace each other? Why didn’t you show any ‘white-faced blacks’? Is it racist for a black man to dress like Trayvon and a Hispanic male as George? I dressed like octi-mom one year, was that ok as we were both white? What if I were black? Would that be racist? Or too close to reality?
    Yes, I think your post is a bit too sensitive. Look at the facts, many of these costumes reflect things that have happened in our history. Good for bad, if someone wants to represent it, they shouldn’t be ridiculed for it. If you’re offended, look elsewhere.

    • Kevin says:

      “I don’t understand how dressing like another culture is a bad thing?” Did you read my post? The short version is the historical context in which white culture stands in relation to other cultures, specifically those of people of color.

      “Aren’t we supposed to embrace each other?” Absolutely. I guess the thing is, if a majority of people from another culture/race feel dressing up as them is offensive, is it really “embracing” them to dress up like them anyway? Is knowingly disrespecting another culture’s desires really embracing them, or is it dismissing them?

      In regards to white-faced blacks; is there a history of black people enslaving white people and dressing up in white face and playing around, immitating stereotypes of white behavior, for black audiences?

      “Look elsewhere.” Self-censorship is a viable option in some situations. However, this is not always an option. Looking away also lets the status quo of race relations to continue, which is not something I am interested in doing.

    • hvlos says:

      At least you got one thing right – you’re racist.

  15. zelezele says:

    Reblogged this on the Sleepless Writer and commented:
    As of yet, our cultural insanity has not been cured. This is a down right outrageous, disappointing and shameful fact. However, there are signs (albeit smaller signs) of treatment.

  16. katyhancock says:

    Some of those pictures just make me sick to my stomach. White privilege is very real and hurtful, especially when it’s done in supposed jest and people don’t realize how hurtful their actions are.

  17. itiskatrina says:

    Just wrote about this topic….very well written

  18. awax1217 says:

    It is not that difficult to stand in someones shoes that could be offended. I am Jewish and anything with the Holocaust causes me to cringe. I just do not find it funny. To many dead and to much torture and horror. Think what one would say if I sold shirts with gestapo on them. Poor taste yes, but it is raw on the nerves. I therefore understand the black face and bloodstains. It is more than poor taste, it is crude and therefore promises more of the same in the future.

  19. Jean says:

    I’m trying to envision myself as a murdered white woman… and encountering some people of which someone might have had an assaulted friend, family member. This is the problem as soon as the costumes incorporate suggestion of killing and blood-beaten acts of violence.

    Good thoughtful blog post. I had no idea about this problem which explodes onto the Internet..because I don’t pay attention to Hallowe’en much at all. The people who I see in costume are on the job, in the office where I work (it’s a big organization with thousands of employees) and they usually choose creative, fun questions that doesn’t involve blackface, etc.

  20. karyraejeanel says:

    I feel sick after reading this.
    Thanks for writing this, you’re a good guy. I agree 100%.

  21. I posted on facebook today that it’s disgusting that it’s controversial for me to say that I don’t support dressing up in blackface. In a ‘debate’ on Facebook yesterday I was forced to say “That’s the thing though- in impersonating a black woman, much less one with a mental illness, she took two stigmas and portrayed them from a place of priveledge. PARTICULARLY by dressing up as a person named “crazy eyes” and putting on blackface, she associates mental illness with being black. However, blackface isn’t acceptable even on it’s own. A hundred years ago people said white actors dressing up in blackface, acting like black people, and throwing the n word around was humor. Do I need to remind you that was before desegregation? Straight up, it’s not funny, it’s not humor, and it’s not a joke. Even if it was, that’s a thin line to serious racial tension.”

  22. It won’t let me Like this for some reason, but I do and totally agree! Just got into it on FB about a Crest commercial with kids in cultural costumes, and saw many VERY ignorant defenses such as you pointed out!

  23. ContactRida says:

    great piece. unfortunately, most humans don’t care about anything until it has an impact on them personally. empathy is rare.

  24. Ravensmarch, I dressed as a klansman one Halloween. I was dealing with institutionalized & cultural racism. Looking back at the choice, it probably wasn’t the best costume choice. My future very pale, redheaded husband was the one who got books on the Klan for me at the library. Luckily, he made it home unscathed. In my mind, I thought it would be funny to piss off any racists who saw me.
    Also, I speak Japanese & studied abroad in 静岡ーし (Shizuoka City, Japan). Japan was infiltrated by Europeans before the time period that you mentioned. Okinawa was heavily influenced by trade & fishing from the west.

  25. Reblogged this on noniemariana and commented:
    This is unacceptable article. Too much

  26. msscience63 says:

    *please do not judge me for this comment, I admit to complete ignorance about all of the issues discussed prior to reading this blog, so I am just happy that I read it and gained a new perspective*
    This was very interesting and it made me think. I have to admit that I have NEVER thought about whether or not a costume is appropriate/racist before and I am thankful that the only offensive dress I have ever worn was a cowboy costume at a Wild West party.To be honest, most people from my generation are probably equally as ignorant and so I doubt many of them think at all. After reading and thinking, I think it is not ‘racist’ to dress as a cowboy, but certainly offensive because they were in constant conflict with Native Americans and this conflict should not be trivialised into a party theme. Others would probably say that this pronouncement is TOO politically correct, but really, if you’re not applying the same criteria to everything, doesn’t that undermine the criteria? Feel free to disagree and give me more information, I’m mostly commenting to solidify my understanding.

    I had never heard of blackface before I read your blog and I had to do extensive internet searching to figure out what the term meant and how it could be applied. My assumption is that people who don’t think would simply don blackface to create a more ‘realistic’ costume, in the same way that I painted myself green to portray Elphaba once. I also had to think very hard from lots of different viewpoints to see where the offence comes from, and I think and hope that I understand now. I had to apply it to Australian culture to understand and I must admit it would be incredibly offensive here to dress as an Aborigine because their cultures have completely changed since white invasion, many cultures have been completely lost, and also, the same homogenising problem exists as with Native Americans. There were many Aboriginal peoples with differing cultures and languages, not just one group. Following from that understanding, it seems that plenty of bloody and controversial history battles have been made light of in cosplay by people with only a limited understanding of the context and background of the world at that point in time. Even dressing up as a white Australian soldier from WWI/WWII/Vietnam is technically offensive if you apply the framework of stereotyping and hyperbole because it marginalises the conflict and the struggles of the soldiers on both sides of each campaign. It also emphasises the ‘glory’ misconception of war without acknowledging the terrible conditions and choices faced by the soldiers in warfare.

    Please set me straight if you think I’ve missed the point and thank you for posting this blog to make others think!

  27. teto000 says:

    In the spirit of discussion I will put my opinion out to the masses. I personally do not look at the costumes themselves but the reasons behind them.

    First example will be the blonde dancer. I personally feel that Uzo Aduba did a phenomenal job playing “Crazy Eyes”, in Orange is the New Black. Along with that I see no issue in someone paying homage to a spectacular performance by using it as their costume. I myself dressed up as Dr. Gregory House from my favourite tv show and I wouldn’t have thought twice about going as Dr. Foreman if I didn’t already have the cane, pill bottles and witty, sarcastic sense of humour. I don’t see race or colour when I look at costumes based on television, but the embodiment of a character. In her case she just happened to choose a black character.

    Or someone who is heavily interested in aboriginal studies. If they were to don the attire because they have a genuine interest in that lifestyle why should they be deemed inappropriate for that. To pull from an earlier comment I don’t see the difference between that and a Star Wars fan going as Boba Fett for they mean no disservice. They simply wish to express their love for something they find interesting and rich in culture. As opposed to the ones who dress up like that because they think they feathers are cute and like the skirt. In those cases I’m not concerned that they wanna play dress-up for a night as much as that they are ignorant and let’s face it, kinda skanky.

    Sure if you have a profound interest in earlier stage theatre then maybe you could have a reason for the Black Face outfit but it’s thin ice as I see it. But the KKK or Treyvon/Zimmerman I mean I don’t judge those people because I believe everyone is equal, even the asshats. But I seriously question their decision making.

    Simply put, we live in a world where everyone is more interested in what you are doing and overlooking why. I feel until that changes there will be a lot of name calling and back-and-forth arguing and nothing is going to change.

    Just my opinion.

  28. While your post is spot on in many ways, that’s just what we need is a more sensitive nation! Of course I say that sarcastically. Yes, the Trayvon costume was of horrible taste but why is it wrong for Hough to dress as a black character. Is Hough a known racist? No. So, if I decide to dress up as Lebron James next year, am I all of a sudden a horrible person? I’m tired of the actions of whites being restricted by issues that occurred well before our time. No, I’m not a racist but I do despise the double standard involved when throwing that term around. Again, I agree 100% with parts of your post and it is very well written.

    • Kevin says:

      I don’t think someone who dresses up in racial/cultural costume is a horrible person. I *do* think they are being insensitive and actively participating in a larger system of racial oppression (even if it is in a small way). Is dressing up as a racial/cultural costume tantamount to endorsing lynching or segregation? No, certainly not. Is it a micro-aggression that is part of larger systemic racism in the United States? Yes.

      Also, “I’m tired of the actions of whites being restricted by issues that occurred well before our time.” This is the exact sort of response I anticipated in my article. You are taking offense that white are being told not to do something by minorities. We are not asking anything more than basic respect. You also exemplify the present-tense focus/argument of many whites. Just because something happened in the past, does not mean it did not happen and does not mean we should not consider it when acting today. This basic logic is applied to so many things, but as soon as we begin talking about race, people use “it happened so long ago” as an argument for some reason.

    • Candiijames says:

      Blackface is not black culture…
      The problem may be in you believing the issue is before your time when all people of color still go through racism and are oppressed daily. Just because racism has a new face doesnt mean its gone away. If you feel that the problem is people of color being too sensitive that is you exercising white privilege that you really think its okay for any person of color to see a white man or woman dress up like them for fun when we still feel and know the face of racism everyday. You are not a person of color and you want to be for fun? Think of what this means to all the people of color who see you, you’ll just be another white person saying you’re not racist. But reminding them again who their oppressors would always be. Look up blackface, black people did not invent blackface, white people did o make black people their entertainment. This was before black people were given any real rights in this country. So you know what…Dress up like lebron but once you go to put that make up on your face to make the costume legit you have gone too far.
      You may need to spend time to look into racial tensions and also look at how long ago things are, I find that a lot of people who say it was a long time ago forget 30, 40, 50, and so on years ago was not a long time ago. Just because the government says they wont participate in racism openly doesnt make the issue go away. The laws may have change but the people haven’t. They’re just learning new ways.

  29. tomtomaroo says:

    Great article, but in assuming an Australian wouldn’t know the origins of the KKK are you being racist. There were plenty of Jimmy Savile outfits in the UK last year. Never underestimate people’s potential to be well informed and crassly ironic.

    • Kevin says:

      The Australian person who wore the KKK outfit may very well have known the origins of the KKK. I was responding to an anticipated argument that “they did not know what they were doing was racist” as a defense of that person’s choice. In reality, there must have been some connection in the person’s mind with KKK and racism for them to wear that costume at an “African-themed party.”

    • hvlos says:

      In the day and age of INFORMATION I’m not gonna say someone in another country who chose to dress like the KKK didn’t know what the fuck they were doing.

  30. oapteam says:

    I’m glad someone wrote about this! as I was looking at some of the photos and costume choices my heart started pounding. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure about the Trayvon Martin outfits it seems just entirely wrong to me. I imagine if that were my little boy and how I would feel looking at those photos. –Anyways good post.

  31. oapteam says:

    Reblogged this on OAP and commented:
    Take a look– Great post. Interesting and moving. OAP team what do you think?

  32. Okay, I see your point, but I think you and anyone else who has a problem with this is over-reacting. While I agree that the Trayvon outfit may have been going too far and KKK outfits are tasteless in any circumstance, I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with black face. On Halloween, people dress up and pretend that they are something they are not. Some people spend a minimal amount of energy on their costume, and some people go all out. Why is it that we have no problem with someone painting their face in any other way, but we suddenly call racist when the brown paint comes out?
    By the way, how would you feel if a black person painted his skin white and went out as a white character? No one would see any problem with that, but when roles are reversed, the race card gets whipped out faster than you can blink. White people are not offended when a black guy dresses up like Captain America, white character. I would not be offended if one of my black friends painted herself white and pretended to be me.
    At this point in American history, we should be comfortable with all races, but instead the divide grows ever wider. Quite honestly, that is the more important topic here. We need to stop being offended by every oaf on Halloween and just laugh at ourselves. It’s okay, now.
    I should also point out that I understand that some people may dress up in black face to be racist, but those people are in the minority, and it is only our continued focus on it the racists that makes this outfit racist. If black people had no problem with it, then it would cease to be something that racists use. Oh, and by the way, let’s not forget that racism can go both ways. Just a thought.

    • hvlos says:

      You’re racist. Be quiet.

      • Oh, wow. You can’t come up with a better argument than “You’re racist?” Really. That is so far beyond pathetic. Did you even read what I said?

      • hvlos says:

        Yes I did. And from what you wrote it’s very obvious you’re racist. Sidenote: I wasn’t formulating an argument for debate, I simply stated a fact. I try my best not to talk to racists.

        I think that’s your cue to dismiss yourself.

      • You might think that, but there’s a problem there because I’m not racist. Some of my best friends are black. I don’t care what a person’s color is. It’s what is on the inside that counts. What part of my comment made you think I was racist? Or was it just that I am a white girl commenting on a matter of race controversy, because in that case, I am not the racist.

      • hvlos says:

        http://racismschool.tumblr.com/post/15723777633/racism-101-a-comprehensive-guide-for-2012

        This is for you. Especially #10. Having Black friends doesn’t magically make you not racist. And you SHOULD care what my color is – you don’t get to erase my life and my experiences just because you want to live some racist colorblind ideology (just wrote about people like you actually).

        And you honestly think reverse racism exists – more points saying you’re racist.

        die please.

      • I have nothing to do with any of those things. You don’t know me. If I thought I was better than someone just because of my race or I disliked someone because of theirs, then I would be a racist. I do neither. I do not think of people as a color, but instead as a person.
        And by the way, what the heck is reverse racism? Does that mean that black people (or any other color) cannot discriminate against white people? Because that is completely wrong.
        Last but not least. Telling me to die? Really?

      • hvlos says:

        Clearly you didn’t read it because you just said #10 to me lol Be in denial all you want you’re still written off as a racist regardless of whether or not you realize it. If you weren’t such a shitty person you’d work on it and feel bad about it but you’re the full fledged kind of racist – the one that denies it and then says and does racist shit.

        And yeah I want all racists to die.

      • Trish says:

        I am Susannah’s mother. I don’t know what your purpose is here, but you have suggested to my minor daughter that she should die. Therefore, if you continue to harass her and threaten her, I will find you, and I will report you to the necessary authorities. Stop immediately. She will not be interacting with you here any further. If you are an adult, you are making very risky decisions insulting under-18 individuals in a public forum. If you are a teen, your parents should have raised you better.

      • hvlos says:

        I don’t care who you are, you raised a racist cunt.

      • Trish says:

        Hylos you have been reported to WordPress for threatening my daughter. Don’t do it again. I will take this to the police or the FBI if necessary.

      • hvlos says:

        LOL It’s not the FBI that does this kind of work but nice try sweetie.

    • Candiijames says:

      Is there any history of black people oppressing and abusing white people? stripping them of their culture and making them slaves for hundreds of years. Causing grief and anguish, being disrespectful and treating them like animals? Has any person of color captured black people against their will in order to use another human being to their advantage all because of their skin color? NO… Maybe you should look into blackface, no matter what the intention is, being a white man or woman it is never acceptable to pick up he brown face paint in our day and age and think its okay. Wear the costume of the character but black face was not black culture it was black oppression once you put that on you need to assume the responsibility of your actions and what they mean. Theres a reason people are upset. People of color are oppressed by white privilege and being told we should not be upset by white insensitivity as long as it isn’t physically harming you. And that isn’t right.

      You feel like we should be comfortable with all races but we are still living in post slaver, post segregation times these things happened in our time period and it wont go away just because white people openly declared they were wrong in the past. its about being sensitive to my people that have been oppressed for years and showing them the respect they have never recieved before. You being okay with people of color does not make us forget the people who died and was brutally murdered before it was finally okay for white people to say okay we’ll give you some rights. There is never an excuse to put on the brown paint… You wanna be a person of color for halloween reconsider it that is all why is that so wrong to want.

  33. “I don’t think someone who dresses up in racial/cultural costume is a horrible person. I *do* think they are being insensitive and actively participating in a larger system of racial oppression (even if it is in a small way). ”

    Really? My dad dressed up as a Kabuki woman one year and none of us thought it was offensive in any way. I agree wholeheartedly with the overall sentiment expressed in this post. However, I really didn’t take the Orange is the New Black costume to be offensive at all. And I’ve actually lost Twitter followers over this fact (truth!). The KKK and Trayvon Martin costumes are awful, but I can’t help but think that we’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater if we say that anyone who dresses up as in any sort of racial or cultural costume is being offensive. If you carry that thought out, why were all the Titanic survivor costumes okay? Why is it okay for girls to dress up like they’re porn stars at the age of fifteen? Why is it okay for men to dress up in drag?

    • Candiijames says:

      You are white so your dad dressing up as a person of color would not be offensive to you. There is a history of white supremacy and white oppressors murdering and taking from people of color and it was not that long ago, people of color were living in a country that did not want to acknowledge them as equals, hey didn’t want people of color to have any rights. You can compare oppressive costumes to the titanic and pornstars. If it was that simple then it wouldn’t be an issue. There is a HISTORY of white oppressing people of color and wearing black face on stage humiliating these people and reducing them to their entertainment, making. Look up black face and then look up how long ago it was we arent talking about an issue that happened hundreds of years ago. No this is about white people being told not to do something that offends people of color, and they feel like just because they dont hate black people it just removes the responsibility of racism and that is wrong. You do not deal with racial barriers everyday of your life. On halloween dress up as a black man or woman but once you go to paint your face black realize your insensitivity has gone too far. Racism is more than hate, its when people like you want to us to forget the past because you weren’t there to take part in it, but since blackface is white history why wouldn’t you want to leave that in the past also? Being a black person is more than dressing up in drag or as a movie character its about realizing as a white person your people had a history of doing this to embarrass and humiliate people of color, why would you want to remind them of it no matter what?

      • I suppose it just doesn’t bother me in the same way it does others. We will have to agree to disagree on that one because it doesn’t seem like we’re going to solve this debate.

        And I take offense to the fact that you assume what is and isn’t offensive to me. My father is actually black, so while my skin is white, I don’t exactly identify as Caucasian. But that’s beside the point.

  34. Congratulations on being freshly pressed. This is a very thought provoking piece which I believe should be read and discussed in most high school classrooms.

  35. Emtional Intelligence is all about understanding how people feel and different points of few based on situations that people have encountered in their lives. Does every race feel as though they have it tough,ofcourse. We must all learn from tragedys and respect the feelings of others.

    Mr.MakingUsmile

  36. Nadir says:

    your article shows one can still enjoy freedom with sensitivity. Nice work Kevin!

  37. NG says:

    Interesting. I would love to hear your opinion on this.

    I am a blonde, blue-eyed Puerto Rican. While in elementary and middle school here, every year at schools there would be plays and shows all focused on our culture. Little classmates would be chosen to dress up as “jibaras”, i.e. the country people of our island. Please note that everyone in Puerto Rico proudly calls themself a jibaro or jibara. From 1st-8th grade not once was I allowed or chosen for any play because of the color of my skin/eyes. I grew up hearing such comments as “we want girls who truly represent our people”. All my little friends got to dress up but I was never allowed to. Of course, I was never allowed to be Snow White or any other princess either because that would make people think that only white girls were princesses. I later moved to the US. There, I could also never be chosen for anything representing “Americans” because I wasn’t born in the US. Years have passed and I now don’t call myself a jibara. Of course, now when I refuse to call myself what most here call themselves I am told I am “racist and think I am better than anyone else”. Can you tell me why that is fair to me? By the way, I know many here who are as “white” as myself…they all stick together and are also called snobs and racist because of it. I would love to understand why this is ok. By the way, if there was a play in a US school about the Mayflower and little Latino or African-American boys were not included, it would be called racist by minorities. Please help me understand why it is acceptable when minorities do such things but not when non-minorities do such things.

    By the way, throughout my life I have been involved in many groups which promote equality for all. I have also been told by those same people I stand up for that “I am white and have no clue what they have gone through”. Honestly, I give up.

    • Candiijames says:

      The issue you discuss is a seperate problem within cultures. White men invaded countries and raped the women that why to this day we have black people with blue green eyes, or latino people with very fair skin and fair eyes. The problem you were facing is what a lot of people of color including yourself face. which is the inbetween my own ppl reject me and so do white ppl because even thou i look like them they know i am not one of them and i know its hard. My best friend Tiffany is black but she is not mixed both her parents are black but she has very fair skin and looser curls in her hair I talk to her all the time and she has told me about issues with black people calling her white and white people knowing she is black treat her diff also. I in no way excuse people who deny their own people because they resemble white people its wrong and unfair and it has to do with the generational oppression they have faced. I think what would be best is to find a group there are plenty online! I have helped a lot of women especially because as a child people shape your identity and its tough when you want to be accepted by your own people but the way you look and their ignorance they push you away. Lets talk some more

  38. it’s quite unbelievable that people would make costume’s based on other people’s culture. it may not be offensive to them but for those people in those cultures are surely affected by it. If you want a Halloween costume go for the scary ones a bit cliche but it doesn’t step on other peoples culture.

  39. While I’m a bit on the fence about ethnic costumes (I’m of Filipino origin myself), I think, if done tastefully, it is acceptable. But I will never understand when people make light of such tragic events, such as the Trayvon Martin case you mentioned above, and the recent circulation of people dressed as bloody Asiana Air stewards. Anything of that nature is highly offensive to EVERYONE and I can’t imagine what goes on in other peoples’ head.

    However, I’d like to point out that the offensiveness of blackface isn’t recognized worldwide, since it originated from the minstrel shows and vaudeville, and the stigma from it does not exist outside the USA.

    • Candiijames says:

      I think you should do more research on blackface, western media was prevalent all over the world. Western culture too. Western racism was not strictly exposed to just the united states the world saw glimpses of it. Blackface was used in ads and on products too. it was a big thing. It wasn’t exclusive to the US

  40. Reblogged this on http://ephraimseducation.wordpress.com/ and wrote a separate post commenting on some of the ignorant comments here. Very good post, and a subject that irks me to no end because of the depths of irrationality that people are willing to enter into in order to rationalize their belief in the goodness of offensive caricatures.

  41. Pingback: Weekly Picks | TANwrites

  42. Pingback: Blackface And the Irrationality of Rationalization Within Systems of Racial Oppression | Reflective Thinking

  43. onesadhaka says:

    Good post and very thought provoking. This might fall under the same category as racial slurs. If I think a word will cause someone else discomfort or increase division between us, I simply don’t use it. If I think the word potentially might offend, I skip it. It’s all a matter of consideration and respect. That said, most of the offenders most likely just didn’t even consider this. Articles and attitudes like yours may help increase the level of consideration and compassion. I salute you, and dream of a time we would no more refer to a person by race than we would by blood type. We all need to just drop it, now more than ever. All One. : )

  44. Whimsy Leigh says:

    Brilliant post. Brave and true. Though you were hesitant to write about this again, I see you have reached more than a few minds. They’re reading, thinking, some are doing research and talking to other people about this. We need an open dialog about this. I’m tired of the same worn out defenses of indefensible behavior patterns. Sick of the same tired cards pulled out: “That was a long time ago, has nothing to do with today, you’re being too sensitive, lighten up, are you practicing reverse racism?” It’s way old. The mindset needs to change and it won’t unless people like you impel us to examine our history, our behavior, our patterns, our beliefs.

    Call them on it!!!!!

  45. guidedfootsteps says:

    Reblogged this on Peace of Mind & Infinity Signs and commented:
    really appreciated this article. so eloquently worded and thorough. freedom of expression seems to cloud the minds of our people. How is it that we dont seem to understand the fact that just because you can, you should.

  46. Hibari says:

    Did you see the photo of the guys dressed up as the Asiana pilots complete with injuries and the racist pseudonyms that the news came up with? It’s disgusting, especially when you know that people (Asian people) died in that accident. I’m so glad I’m not alone in fighting the racist costumes because last year I tried to speak out, and people ended up calling me names. I can’t help but think about that Mean Girls quote, “Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it” and how this has become the case for racist costumes (and this is why it’s important that we keep speaking out).

    • Great post and mostly factual. Here is where the facts fall though.

      “racist pseudonyms that the news came up with?”

      The TV station is KTVU-TV out of San Francisco the names of the pilots had been gotten directly from the one source that should be above such childishness “The National Transportation Safety Board” who have also apologized since. They blamed it on a summer intern who as it turns out wanted to embarrass KTVU. News anchors are trained to just read the news it is not read prior to the report.

      Immediately after the commercial break the news anchor apologized and said “I believe we were victims of a cruel joke. The names given as the pilots and crew of flight 214 were in error, distasteful and wrong. Please accept the apology of myself and KTVU TV.”

      Do I blame the news yes. Any sane person would have read those names and just said no way. I wouldn’t have typed it for them to read but obviously someone with no class did type it. They blame NTSB for the mistake but in fact they share mutual blame. The only problem with your statement is the news station didn’t invent the names they were intentionally given bad information from a federal agency responsible for knowing these details.

      • If I may step in here amid all the name-calling, cursing. and venom, I think there is a point to be made that racism against both Native American and Black people derives from long-standing racialized systems of oppression. White people have never experienced a racialized system of oppression, do not experience a racialized system of oppression, and probably will never experience a racialized system of oppression. While I do not think it is productive to over-generalize about white people and whether they are racist or not, I do think that white people are very ignorant about this topic and how racialized systems of oppression affect both the mindsets of the oppressor and the oppressed.. Therefore they are inclined to shout reverse racism whenever a Black person expresses their hatred of white people, because they don’t realize just how much Black people continue to suffer under this racialized system. The truth is they have every reason to be angry, very angry in fact. White people continue to spell out the terms of the existence of Black people in America. Just look at all the people here, telling Black people how they should feel about a racist a caricature of themselves, telling them to get over it, stop being over-sensitive. If they assimilate, they are fine. If they don’t, well then they will be forced to live on the margins. To accuse them of reverse racism because they are expressing a very justified and deep-seated anger is short-sighted and ultimately detrimental to any sort of reconciliation. It is primarily the responsibility of white people to fix this system because they are ones who crafted it. Now I don’t think that they are just gonna do it out of the goodness of their hearts. If they were, then more progress would have already been made than has been up to this point. White people tend to forget that none of the gains that Black people have made in this country were made out of the goodness of the hearts of white people. Lincoln didn’t end slavery out of the goodness of his heart. Johnson didn’t sign civil rights legislation out of the goodness of his heart. It happened because Black people in concert with people from other races in solidarity fought hard and fought for a long time. Reverse racism is yet another construct, a creation by the oppressor to shift the blame from himself to the oppressed. This attempt at shifting blame is a signature characteristic within racialized systems of oppression. For anyone to suggest that white people experience racism on par with Black people is absurd. All one has to do is take a cursory look at the facts. Reverse racism is a mental construct. It is not real except in the minds of people who refuse to put themselves in another’s shoes.

      • Thank you being both deaf and native american (lakota) I have experienced it. Being rather white by appearance hasn’t helped much either instead i get “you’re to white to be native” so I catch prejudice from white america because I am native and from black america because I’m to white and from native america for the same reasons. Being to white as a minority is as bad as being to anything else. If i deny my heritage i can squek by without a ssecond look from some. But I won’t deny who I am it’s part of me and perhaps the best part. So on this you are preaching to the choir. The only thing we see diferent is when I see one of my people hating someone because of his/her skin color I call them what they are racist.

        Racist – Is to hate/dislike another based solely upon race. Hate me because I am native you are racist, hate me because I was an ass to you you are not a racist. Personally hate takes to much energy that I’d rather spend surfing, hiking, fishing, swimming or anything else in this world.

        Peace Reflective and nice post. I don’t think you stepped in it I think you nailed it pretty well over all.

  47. dat6 says:

    I don’t believe the actress’ costume was offensive. I personally really admire that character and value her wisdom and strength. If I were to dress up like her, I would want to wear “blackface” because I would want to get every aspect of the character accurate, because it is a part of who she is and I would be trying to emulate her out of respect, not disrespect. To leave out that part, I think, would actually be more offensive, as if that aspect of her character weren’t acceptable to emulate. To do it as an insensitive and disrespectful joke is one thing and I don’t approve of that, but to want to emulate a role model is a total 180 from that. Are you saying that white people aren’t worthy of looking up to black women? I say this as a Native, which is a whole other topic.

  48. The Bitter Consumer says:

    Some of these costumes suggest many of our problems with racism are the result of ignorance as to what images offend others not necessarily consciously endorsed or acknowledged racism like klanism or mobs in the Jim Crowe south. These costumes are intentionally crass and “ironic.”

    To attack the root of the issue, reformers must ask and answer: How do we combat ignorance? How do we start to put ourselves in other people’s shoes (and cause others to walk in our own) so that offensiveness recedes and thoughtfulness reigns?

    http://thebitterconsumer.wordpress.com

  49. V.E.G. says:

    Take Reginald Oliver Denny’s quote: “Did anyone check to see what color that blood was? Probably red.” Also, Denny said, “they say I’m white, I’m black, I’m Mexican, I’m Japanese, they didn’t care.” One race: Human!

    • I wrote about my grandfather yesterday on vetrens day but he’d tend to agree with you. I am Lakota being native american my grandfather did not see the right to vote, right to assemble, right to free speech, right to protection from unlawful search ect… until 1968. Here is what I said about a man i greatly admire.

      “As a decorated World War 2 and Korean war veteran who until 1968 was not able to vote. He has a positive outlook even to those who held him down. He doesn’t blame people because they are white and had privilege nor because they were part of a system that denied him his “Inalienable rights”. He and my father have always lived their lives with faith and a firm belief that indeed “all men are created equal”. My grandfather would say “I’ve seen every color of man and when they bleed it’s always red.” These words are very true we indeed all bleed the same when wounded. Below this thin layer known as skin there is no difference that can be seen. The only true difference in a man is the content of his character.”

      “I’ve seen every color of man and when they bleed it’s always red.” we are one race and i wish sincerely we would get along as such in peace as brothers and sisters. I live for this day in peace and attepmt to treat all as such a brother and sister.

  50. delilahsangels says:

    I am seeing an awful lot of racism towards white people in these comments, and to be quite frank, I am sick of it. Yes, white people have oppressed black people. But, and I know that I’m signing my own death warrant here, black people are not the only people throughout history to be oppressed and whites are not the only oppressors. The argument of “But, you’re white! Your ancestors oppressed me!” is as ridiculous and inappropriate as me labelling a German as a Nazi. Of course we’re unfortunately still a long way from equality but inequality is about much, much more than whites vs. blacks. Asians are oppressed, women are oppressed (yes, even white women! shocking, I know), gays are oppressed. In my country (the UK), there is a huge backlash against the Islamic community and immigrants from Eastern Europe.
    Having read extensively about the sex trafficking of white British women, I could wax lyrical about people dressing up as prostitutes or ‘crack whores’ but I don’t because do you know what? It won’t make a difference. People are going to dress up in controversial or offensive costumes, sometimes out of ignorance and sometimes because they have a sick sense of humour. Just look at Prince Harry dressing up as a Nazi that time, or the girls who dressed up as the twin towers. People will always find something offensive to dress up as, from mental patients to Zimmerman. Just last Halloween, a nightclub in my city offered prizes to anybody who dressed as Gary Glitter or Jimmy Saville (note that Halloween fell right in the midst of the sex scandal surrounding the pair). Of course, dressing up as a notorious child molester is morally questionable, but that’s life! I’ve seen countless people dressed as Hitler but I don’t feel the need to write an angry blog about how my own family suffered at the hands of him because I know that the costumes don’t mean anything.
    Honestly, that’s life. ‘Blackface’ as it was originally used, and for the intent that it was originally used, no longer exists. Yes, the Zimmerman costume was in bad taste but that had nothing to do with the blackface and everything to do with the fact that it represents a very recent tragedy. The OITNB costume was clearly not intended to be racist…considering all the women had to dress in the orange jumpsuits, the woman probably felt that doing her hair wasn’t enough and that she should tan her skin a little so that people would know who she was. I don’t know. Maybe it was a silly idea considering how high profile she is, but she’s already apologised for any offence caused so let’s leave the poor woman alone!
    As for the African party, I’m sorry but grow up. People have themed parties. It happens. Only last week on Made in Chelsea was there an Indian themed party where people adopted traditional Indian dress for the purpose of frivolous fun. Is that not cultural appropriation as well? What about the ‘Pimps & Hoes’ parties? Should they be banned, because, after all, there are still millions of women being prostituted and trafficked by pimps. Sex trafficking is, of course, modern day slavery so I would argue that parties such as this are even MORE relevant than the African themed party as sex slavery is happening right now in 2013. What about boys that dress in drag for Halloween? Men have oppressed women for years. Should this then be banned also? Or is it JUST blacks who are oppressed? Should we forget about other cultures, women and sex slaves? Shall we forget that people of every race have been enslaved at somepoint? Shall we forget that the majority of Hitler’s victims were white?
    I have a Libyan friend who dressed as a white person for Halloween, and before you asked, yes, he had white face paint on. Nobody cared because it was fucking banter and it was funny. I highly doubt he would have cared had anyone gone as an Asian.

    This rant probably makes no sense and I’m sure that I could have phrased everything here a lot better but what the hell, I’m tired and irritated and sick of hearing about white privilege. I’ve already seen how nasty some of these comments have become so I’ll say now that I won’t be replying to anybody’s comments on here. If you want to waste your time insulting me then go ahead but I won’t be reading/replying.

    • I agree only 2% of whites in America owned slaves. Being native American NONE of my people owned black slaves. But yet 98% of white who never ever owned slaves in their families even going back 200+ years are still to blame? I mean as a Lakota the past is past. My people were raped, murdered and their land and identity was stolen. Yet do I blame those alive today? No not a single person alive today wronged my ancestors. My grandfathers and my father served in this nations military with honor and distinction even before they had the same basic civil rights as I have today. My father couldn’t vote, had no right to free speech, no right to unlawful searches, NOTHING and yet he doesn’t speak of the “evil white man”. At some point people need to grow up, put on their big boy panties and take charge of themselves. Race doesn’t matter we are all of the human race. Skin color is but an adaptation to climate. Below the pigment we all bleed red, and there is not difference in our genetic code.

  51. ianmgates says:

    The blackface and bloodstains reference is valid and the costumes shown are in very, very poor taste. Trayvon Martin’s family and friends have every right to be outraged. However, I fail to see why an entire race of people should be offended simply because the subject depicted in these awful costumes was black. How about a little human solidarity, instead? If a black man dressed up as Hitler, I would think he was a moron. Being honest, I’d probably laugh as well, the idea of it is just outrageous. But I’ll defend his right to be an insensitive moron with my dying breath. The same goes for any other race, be it green, red, black, white, blue or pink. As long as any racial group continues to make an issue out of the colour of their skin, how can that same group expect the rest of the world to ignore it? We had a recent incident here in Canada where a Vice-Principal at a high school came to work dressed as Mr. T from the A-Team. He was a white man and Mr. T is obviously not. There was no blood in this case, just a Mohawk and a lot of fake gold. The educator lost his job and, undoubtedly, his career just because he dressed as one of his childhood heroes. Yes, his childhood hero. That was how he explained it. Where is the justice in that? I agree that a more politically correct costume would have been a better choice but did they need to fire him? Should we vilify every young minority who wants to be Batman or Wonder Woman? No, we shouldn’t! All parents should be promoting an environment where skin colour is irrelevant. A community where actions speak for people, not their appearance. It’s a double standard to say that the world is unfair to you when they point out your race, then use that same race card to further your own goals. It’s the very definition of hypocrisy. The term itself, ‘blackface’, just perpetuates the negativity and yet nobody had one word to say when a major film like Twilight referred to the non-native population of Forks as ‘pale-faces’. Double standard after double standard and all anybody cares about is who gets the credit or who takes blame.

  52. lissyreaps says:

    Brilliant piece of writing.

  53. cuti26 says:

    Reblogged this on Cuti26’s Weblog and commented:
    True Racism and All Saint’s Eve

  54. Ike says:

    As if black people don’t do the same thing. You could work for msnbc with this sort of hypocritical race baiting.

  55. Tina says:

    So two wrongs make a right? And you could work for FOX with that weak reply.

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