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I never rant like this, but -
About the whole brownface/blackface Colton thing?
For one, most of us - including Colton - are way too young to understand the culture and the history involved with blackface makeup. While it was part of an incredibly racist movement back in 1800s, it was done this way simply because there were no black people in theater. If you don’t understand why there weren’t, you should open a history book sometime.
For two, blackface makeup itself has absolutely nothing to do with racism. It’s the connontations behind it. The way blacks were portrayed back then was extremely judgmental and ignorant.
For example; should the elderly be offended if you were to wear a grey wig, walked with a cane or wore a wrinkly mask?
Should anyone famous be offended if you wear their face as a mask? Should women be offended if men were makeup and a dress?
For three, it’s a costume. Plain and simple. Costumes are made to transform you into the likeness of someone else. Skin color isn’t any different from eye color or hair color and if you have to distinguish a difference, maybe you’re the one who’s being racist.
Apparently it’s not offensive when people color their skin and wear fake hair to portray an animal.
Were any one of you offended by the movie ‘White Chicks’ starring Marlon and Shawn Wayans?
If Colton Haynes was wearing a Ghandi mask, this wouldn’t be an issue. Or if he was just simply wearing the robe part of the costume, it wouldn’t be an issue. But people are putting motive and maliciousness behind something that may or may not be there. I can assure you that most of us don’t know Colton personally and can’t say whether or not he was committing a racist act.
And like I said before, blackface USED to be a cultural thing and it’s long since died. Was Colton making a production of his costume and portraying Ghandi in a sardonic or cruel way? Doubt it. So still, not as racist as you’d think.
The problem boils down to this: no matter how much of a mixture of ethnicies we have in America, it’s reactions to things like this that keep us set back from racial freedom. Because instead of seeing the amazing, poetic, powerful leader of the people inspiring a costume for someone — we see a white guy painted like an Indian. By those standards, anyone dressing like Arab figure, Greek figure, Roman figure, European figure, Latino/Hispanic figure should also be considered racist.
All that being said, I’m just going to go ahead tell you all that I am a person of color. I’m half white and the other half is a lot of things - if you need a list to gauge how racist I could be, you can just go away. Because it’s not about skin color. You making it about skin color makes it racist.
The ignorance in this post.
But seriously I had pretty much started writing out a whole explanation of what is wrong with this until I realised it would be pointless. Anyone who is willing to labour under the belief that Blackface doesn’t continue today, that Blackface was adopted to play Black characters in the absence of Black performers (that almost deserves a separate bullshit gif) or that a costume which evokes Blackface (or Brownface in the case of the Ghandi costume) cannot be racist because it is by nature a costume, anyone who labours under those beliefs is so irrevocably wrong that they are pointless to talk to. Also, can I point out that the side-by-side comparison of Blackface to colouring the skin and wearing fake hair to appear as an animal is pretty offensive in its’ own right. In the historic words of young Michael Jackson:
Now: to all those white people who give a damn if they are racist pieces of shit, let me lay some truth on y’all:
Blackface was racist when it was invented to make White people feel better about assigning a property value onto human life, reducing a person to a commodity, and reducing an entire continent into nothing but a big human Wally World, when they could bring a nigger, a slave, into the theatre without having to sully their hands by educating a Black person or putting one into a situation that might get out of hand.
Of course, in those days the be-all and end-all of black performance for whites started and ended on the end of a rope.
Blackface was racist when it continued, as a way to make White people feel better about assigning a judgement onto a person’s skin, assigning varying levels of humanity to people based on just how close they could come to alabaster. To show them how much better they obviously were compared to those niggers that they probably never had to meet face to face.
Blackface was racist when it was a black face behind the Blackface.
Blackface was racist in 1978 when the Black & White Minstrel Show was one of the most beloved and watched light entertainment series on British television.
Blackface is racist in twenty goddamn twelve because the only way to caricature Kanye West is to evoke the shuckin’ and jivin’? The only way to caricature Kanye West, one of the most flamboyant and recognisable and entertaining creative minds in contemporary music is to fall back on a legacy of dehumanisation?
And for the record, when you reduce a race to a costume, that act of reducing a race to a costume is racist.
P.s. “half white and the other half is a lot of things” might as well read as “half white, half really really white”
287 (by jan postma)
To the person who tagged this with “saami” and “traditional” without bothering to read the original image description:
That dress is a fake. Knock-offs like that are filed under cultural appropriation, and in addition to that the photographer is engaging economical exploitation (or, to put it more succinctly, colonialist douchebaggery) of a culture in which he has no part by selling prints of this photo.
Please do not blog (or buy!) shit like this as if it’s the real deal or if you can’t even tell the fucking difference.