To the person who dressed in blackface for Halloween this past weekend:
You are not funny.
You are not clever.
You are ignorant.
You represent an image of African Americans that was popularized during the 1700s. In a form of racist mockery, blackface minstrelsy was a form of "entertainment" in which white people (like you) would paint themselves black. They dressed up in rags and put on a good show.
The actors portrayed stereotypes such as the coon and the mammy, representing Black men and women.
According to Mark Twain, they were "the real nigger show[s]." Such actors portrayed Irish and Jewish people in similarly stereotypical ways. Aren't you proud to support that?
This craze continued into popular literature, cartoons, children's toys and history books. They even traveled overseas where they were often the only images of African Americans present. And what great ones they were.
Some of the most famous actors of the 20th century took part in blackface, too. And it even inspired our beloved Mickey Mouse.
This type of "entertainment" became less popular during the mid 20th century because of changing attitudes about what was acceptable. We see, through your behavior, not all attitudes have changed.
Wouldn't it be nice to think that such blatantly ignorant portrayals would be over in the year 2007?
But obviously not: Similar mockeries occurred at the well-publicized parties at the University of Clemson and other universities last year.
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You are proof that in 50 years since the Little Rock 9 helped desegregate schools, we have not come that far in regards to race relations.
It was not funny.
It was not clever.
It was ignorant.
And you should be ashamed.
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