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Today I saw a clip of a black man wearing white face, he was mocking the white women who call the police on black people for stupid reasons like selling water without a permit or having a barbecue.
I wasn’t offended…
So this begs the question, am I a hypocrite because seeing a black guy in white face doesn’t offend me the same way that seeing a white person in black face does? Is it fair of me to think, “Well, you know, there’s no harm done there! It’s just the dude trying to be funny.” Chapelle used to do it and I found it hilarious coming from him.
We all know that there is a racist history associated with blackface, a horrid, disgusting racist history. Particularly from a film (Birth of a Nation) which led to much of what see today in way of the imagery and stereotypes around black men.
In fact, it seems that this film was what actually prompted the KKK to start burning crosses as part of their rituals. Life imitating art is has been called. Historically, black folks have been the victims of this kind of racism, and in some countries it’s still practiced and viewed as “okay.”
As a thinking man, I deduce that if we don’t want white people doing this black face thing, it stands to reason that black folks shouldn’t do it either. That’s my logical thought process. However, if I am brutally honest with you, I have to admit that I don’t find it offensive when black folks like Chapelle do it. This is what has led to me ask if I’m a hypocrite, or if its simply because there is no historical hurt or context surrounding white face?
A friend of mine recently said that I look for fairness where there can be no fairness. If that’s the case, then one can understand why I take no issue with white face. Especially in this context where the comedian is trying to illustrate the ridiculousness of how white people react to black people doing simple things like having a bbq or selling water.
I try my best to be objective about these things, but in an effort generate some honest dialogue, this is my truth regarding this thing. What are your thoughts?
Growing Up Bronx