OPINION: Yes, Blackface for Halloween is Still Offensive

A lot of people have asked me my opinion on the blackface controversy when it comes to Halloween. When I watched the episode where Megyn…

A lot of people have asked me my opinion on the blackface controversy when it comes to Halloween. When I watched the episode where Megyn Kelly said when she was growing up blackface was okay as long as kids were portraying the character, I shook my head. I think it’s important for people to understand the negative stereotypes derived from blackface towards people of color (POC). When it comes to Halloween, it’s a time for children to use their imagination and dress up as their favorite characters; however, I do believe it’s the responsibility of the parents to know where to draw the line. Through my experience of working with children from infancy to school age, I learned that most early childhood aged children don’t see color. Growing up in a very diverse family myself, I didn’t see color, I saw people.

The history of blackface comes for the vaudeville, or early 1920’s where white actors would paint their faces black and put on lipstick and caricature black people based off their perceptions of how black people acted and portrayed us as buffoons, lazy and degraded an entire race that was already slighted in U.S history. I feel as though it was also socially irresponsible of the network to have that segment and not have a person of color as a part of the cast to give a sound, educated understanding of why blackface is offensive.

I know a lot of parents say if their child wants to be Princess Tiana, or Moana for Halloween they will which I think is completely acceptable, the issue lies when you paint that child brown, or whatever color to say they’re the character. You can dress your child up to be the character without painting them a color and making a mockery of it. When I was growing up, a lot of my friends were Pocahontas, they may not have been a person of color, but they wore the outfit, had the wig, and put the tribal painting on.

I think it’s even more offensive when a POC voices that opinion, and we’re told it’s not that big of a deal, or that we’re taking the situation too far, it’s almost saying our opinion is invalid or doesn’t matter. There’s a heightened sense of racial insensitivity today, and it seems as though people with different views are now being put on the fore front with their political views. I think the issue is now heightened because you have people taking a childhood activity, and bringing race in to it, and subjecting children whose imaginations are really starting to be tapped into at an early age, to a viewpoint or ideology that they don’t even understand.

I have a bi-racial nephew, and if at any point he decides he wants to be T’challa or Zack Morris from Saved by the Bell, I’d let him but I wouldn’t change his skin tone because that is morally, and ethically offensive, and when he gets older I’ll explain to him why blackface isn’t appropriate, and the meaning behind it.

By: Tyra Whitney


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