December 8, 2008

Blackface: It's not a hard concept

Alright *crick* I'm gonna try this post again.

Blackface: it isn't a hard concept to grasp is it? Black. Face. It explains itself. I think the people up here GET that part, they just don't understand WHY it's racist and, uh, BAD.

So some fraternity students (Sigma Phi Epsilon you ignorant bastards) decided they were going to paint their faces black for Halloween and dress up as rappers. And by the looks of things these ignorant souls aren't quite getting how that's inappropriate.

Blackface is the delicate art of painting one's face black. This would usually also include exaggerated African American features such as painting one's eyes and lips with a color to emphasize them. I don't think the frat guys did all that but they did get far enough to paint their faces black to make them appear African American. Let me also throw out that THERE ARE WHITE FUCKING RAPPERS AND THEY COULDN'T DRESS AS SOMEONE THEIR OWN COLOR?

Now here's the part that's killing me: not only do they not see this as racist (in the paper one of their frat brothers said, and I quote, "Imitation is the highest form of flattery" WHAT?!) but they want to be let off the hook because they didn't have racist intentions.

Again I say, uh, NEGATIVE.

Personally, I don't give a fuck what their intentions were supposed to be (and let's face it, I'm still not seeing how dressing up as a black person is "imitation" and "flattery" you dumb asses) what matters is that they did something offensive and need to be punished. They were sent through racial sensitivity training but do you think it worked?

There was a discussion held with about 100 students last Wednesday and how many of them there do you think were "oh that wasn't offensive! I've seen worse!" And how many of them do you think took an actual lesson away other than "Ehhh"?

I have no faith in these people. If one more person asks me to clarify why blackface is bad I will do something horrible to them. It isn't a hard concept to grasp. In Nashville I was lucky enough to learn what blackface was and that yes, it IS racism and it IS a bad thing. Apparently beyond my city limits, however, no one else got this answer (all white people, hmmmm go figure that) and scratch their heads at my outrage.

To those people I have to give a hearty "fuck off" and "read a goddamn book". The ignorant, oblivious racism on this campus is atrocious and MORE DAMN WORK needs to be done to get these white folk to open their eyes up to the stupid, stupid things they are doing. And MORE DAMN WORK needs to be done with the black folk here too--I mean, in the article the two sole black members of the frat actually said they "didn't care" about their frat brothers dressing in black face--WHAT, I say again. This madness cannot continue! The black population (hell, the minority population) of ETSU is small but that's no excuse; we can have a voice and we can make changes happen.


  1. Don't you just hate that? People who don't realize something is racist? For Christ's sake its black face! This is all Robert Downey's Jr fault.

  2. I think what you are seeing with this black face issue is the fact that history has been distored over and over again. What's that saying? "History is written by the winner." And until recently the winner has been mostly white men --naturally they are going to tell stories that are important to them. I've been writing for 20 years about women's history in an effort to add my important stories to the dialouge. Maybe black face will be something you will write about?

  3. In class we talked about women's history. They are almost never discussed. How can the other half of history be so underrepresented?

  4. Marie, I was fortunate to learn about blackface when I was in middle school and I never forgot it--and I know many people that didn't--but it seems in the area I live in now they've either conveniently forgotten or actually never bothered to learn/teach in the first place. It's driving me damned crazy and I think some reeducating is in order. It's a damn shame it has to be at college level.

  5. this reminds of of the lewis hamilton incident in spain, when they welcomed him with black-faces to "honor" his presence. obviously, they really don't get the insult in that part of europe.

  6. I don't know if Europe would understand blackface or not. It reminds me of this german unicef campaign I was reading about a few weeks ago where they had german kids put some black stuff on their face to basically emulate the African kids they were wanting to help. It was...disturbing but apparently the germans didn't understand the potential insult.

    As for Spain I question whether they realized blackface was an insult or not...


Please share some knowledge. Or amuse me at least :O