The Daily Show aired a segment Thursday night as a friendly reminder that blackface is not an appropriate costume for Halloween. In fact, it is very racist.
Don't worry if you didn't already know that parading around with black paint on your face is a racist faux pas, so long as you heed Daily Show correspondent and comedian Roy Wood Jr.'s advice on how to avoid such trespasses. Roy dressed as a vampire to explain how white people applying black makeup to pretend to be a person of color for Halloween, or anytime, is horribly offensive.
“Every year, somehow, there are people who put on costumes that are about 200 years too late,” Roy explained.
Blackface, a tradition of non-black performers presenting themselves as black, is "rooted in a very painful past," he went on to say. Eric Lott, professor of English and American studies at City University of New York, guest appeared to explain how blackface emanated from the “history and politics of slavery” and white supremacy. Because of racial segregation and oppression, blacks were not allowed to perform these roles, and the "problematic" practice became more popular in the mid-19th century with minstrel shows.
Now blackface has resurfaced as a party fad.
“Blackface is like smoking on an airplane. It used to be acceptable a long time ago but now we know it hurts people around us,” Wood Jr. concluded. “That’s why when it comes to blackface, your intentions don’t matter.”
The Daily Show shared their public service announcement on Twitter: "Are you considering making blackface a part of your Halloween costume this year? Please don’t."
Are you considering making blackface a part of your Halloween costume this year? Please don’t. @roywoodjr reports:… https://t.co/YDcM6l7wkn— The Daily Show (@The Daily Show)1509134684.0
One person said that it is also not fair to tell a little girl that she can't dress up as Moana, to which another Twitter user replied by saying that of course, the little girl can dress up as anyone she wants to be, so long as her face isn't painted brown.
Roy's vampire costume choice illustrates how one can dress up as a character known for a different ethnicity without changing your own.
@CraigleRock86 @TheDailyShow @roywoodjr As long as she isn't painting her skin brown there shouldn't be a problem.— Theodore Galore (@Theodore Galore)1509135069.0
Unfortunately, the segment also garnered more hateful responses. Eric Staples of Florida is one of those voices: "It's moronic SJW videos like this which inspire people to put on blackface in the first place. Oh, the irony."
@TheDailyShow @roywoodjr It's moronic SJW videos like this which inspire people to put on blackface in the first place. Oh, the irony.— Eric Staples (@Eric Staples)1509136500.0
Etienne Noel also chimed in his feelings, clearly believing that people should be more tolerant of blackface: "Every costume is fine. Don't fall for that PC bullshit. If people are not tolerant enough to survive seeing a black face, I pity them fools."
@TheDailyShow @roywoodjr Every costume is fine. Don't fall for that PC bullshit. If people are not tolerant enough… https://t.co/eUD98Lhhtq— Etienne Noel (@Etienne Noel)1509134951.0
There was also a backlash in the other direction, with the accusation of cultural appropriation: "White people are so oppressed, they have to wear other races and cultures as costumes."
@theblackdefault @TheDailyShow @roywoodjr Racist comment detected 🤣🤣🤣😀😀😀🤢🤢🤢🤮🤮🤮— Etienne Noel (@Etienne Noel)1509180484.0
But Trump supporter HoldMyBeer_CBW from Houston, Texas takes the cake for both being intentionally offensive (so as to deter from the Roy's message of being culturally respectful), while simultaneously perpetuating an alternative fact (i.e. a bold-face lie that has taken on a life of its own).
HoldMyBeer_CBW shared a photo of a young white couple dressed in costumes, with one of them perfectly demonstrating blackface. The insinuation is that the woman is Hillary Clinton. But it is not her.
The photo first surfaced in early 2016 as part of a smear campaign, but Snopes has since proven, in detail, that the couple in the photo are not the Clintons.
So if you are still thinking of dressing up in blackface for Halloween... just don't. Trust Roy on this one. People might start thinking you're a racist.
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