Let Me Help You: Here’s Why Black Face Is Never Alright– Ever

American actress and singer Judy Garland (1922 - 1969) in blackface as Judy Bellaire in 'Everybody Sing', 1938. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
American actress and singer Judy Garland (1922 – 1969) in blackface as Judy Bellaire in ‘Everybody Sing’, 1938. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

Halloween is this weekend and well, I know some insensitive, wanna be clueless people are going to take it upon themselves to paint their faces and body in my culture for their own personal amusement. I don’t like it. It is  w-r-o-n-g. Here’s why (though you should freakin know this):

Come, take a trip with me to the 1830’s in the time of minstrel shows and good ol’ grade A American racism. White minstrel show producers created a black persona of sorts that was an offensive caricature of what they perceived black folk to be. Specifically plantation slaves and other free blacks during that time period.

Black people were portrayed as stupid, ignorant, almost child like in their thought process, or ostentatious buffoons that had no grasp on how to be a part of a functioning society.

They were negative, highly offensive, and nasty perceptions of black folk during a time when actual black people were not even allowed to read let alone be in a play. The black face carried on for years and years and decades to come from plays to television.

So, let’s sum this up: Black face is when white people painted their faces and body parts black with over exaggerated features highlighted with white or red lips and made fun of the stereotypes that they believed represented an entire culture. It was used to dismantle, discourage, and breakdown the Black culture as a whole. So, when you dress up in Black face, that’s what you’re supporting. And if you are cool with that, close this window immediately.

It is never ok to do Black face. It is never ok to dress up in someone else’s culture for your sick amusement. If, by chance, you get into a conversation about Black face, here are some tips for navigating that.

Remember, you can still be your favorite Black person without painting your skin because I know we all want to channel Bey this year.

I mean, come on, you should know this.

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