Thursday, October 18, 2012

Blackface


Three white kids at a high school in New York thought it would be funny to paint their faces black and reenact the Chris Brown and Rihanna domestic violence incident.  
Here is the full story.

This is situation is wrong on so many levels. But what gets me is the fact that white people
 continue to paint their faces black and think it's funny.
I don't know if people even understand why this is offensive.





A Brief History of Blackface

The stock characters of blackface minstrelsy have played a significant role in disseminating racist images, attitudes and perceptions worldwide. Every immigrant group was stereotyped on the music hall stage during the 19th Century, but the history of prejudice, hostility, and ignorance towards black people has insured a unique longevity to the stereotypes. White America's conceptions of Black entertainers were shaped by minstrelsy's mocking caricatures and for over one hundred years the belief that Blacks were racially and socially inferior was fostered by legions of both white and black performers in blackface.

Racist Black Stereotypes

Originating in the White man's characterizations of plantation slaves and free blacks during the era of minstrel shows (1830-1890), the caricatures took such a firm hold on the American imagination that audiences expected any person with dark skin, no matter what their background, to conform to one or more of the stereotypes:
Jim CrowZip Coon
Jim CrowThe term Jim Crow originated in 1830 when a White minstrel show performer, Thomas "Daddy" Rice, blackened his face with charcoal paste or burnt cork and danced a jig while singing the lyrics to the song,
"Jump Jim Crow."
Zip CoonFirst performed by George Dixon in 1834, Zip Coon made a mockery of free blacks. An arrogant, ostentatious figure, he dressed in high style and spoke in a series of malaprops and puns that undermined his attempts to appear dignified.

Jim Crow and Zip Coon eventually merged into a single stereotype called simply "coon."

MammyUncle Tom
MammyMammy is a source of earthy wisdom who is fiercely independent and brooks no backtalk. Although her image has changed a little over the years, the stereotype lives on. Her face can still be found on pancake boxes today.Uncle TomToms are typically good, gentle, religious and sober. Images of Uncle Toms were another favorite of advertisers and "Uncle Ben" is still being used to sell rice.
Buck StereotypeWench - Jezebel
BuckThe Buck is a large Black man who is proud, sometimes menacing, and always interested in White women.Wench/JezebelThe temptress. During the minstrel era, wenches were typically a male in female garb. In film, wenches were usually female mulattos.
MulattoPickaninny
MulattoA mixed-blood male or female. In film, often portrayed as a tragic figure who either intentionally or unintentionally passes for White until they discover they have Negro blood or are discovered by another character to be Black.PickaninnyPicaninnies have bulging eyes, unkempt hair, red lips and wide mouths into which they stuff huge slices of watermelon.
These stereotypes were staples during the minstrel era and carried over into vaudeville, film and television. 

Blackface makeup was either a layer of burnt cork on a layer of coca butter or black grease paint. In the early years exaggerated red lips were painted around their mouths, like those of today's circus clowns. In later years the lips were usually painted white or unpainted. Costumes were usually gaudy combinations of formal wear; swallowtail coats, striped trousers, and top hats.

Minstrel Show entertainment included imitating black music and dance and speaking in a "plantation" dialect. The shows featured a variety of jokes, songs, dances and skits that were based on the ugliest stereotypes of African American slaves.


Source: Blackface




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