Jerrybrice's Blog
The intersection of animation, entertainment, and politics

Another year, another Racist Halloween Costume and the Idiots that wear them

Black Face White Kids Racially Offensive Costumes

Black Face White Kids Racially Offensive Costumes

Here we go again with the racist Halloween costume stories that come up every year during Halloween. American people continue to be hard learners when it comes to racially offensive Halloween costumes.

Some are stuck in the 1950’s with their humor, while we are in the year 2009…my God, what must happen for these bigots to get a clue…

I tend to believe that if a joke or a costume’s source of humor is the color of someone’s skin, or caricatures racial stereotypes no matter how popular to the majority, non-minoity communities, then you need to stay away from wearing them, unless you are attending the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan masquerade ball.

Other than that, prepare to get knocked out,as you should be.

The problem with these costumes is not that I am overly sensitive, I am not. It is the fact that a lot of people will be,and unless you are certain that you will not run into one that might be offended, then go for it, at your own peril.

Why costume manufacturers would ever find the ”Illegal Alien” costume humorous, just goes to the fact that there is a problem in those companies, as well as a demand for it.

The fact that any department  store or chain would allow a buyer for their store to purchase the offensive costumes and stock them anywhere in their chain, is irresponsible and is a slight to some of their customers.

Yesterday, Newsday reported of another racially offensive costume being worn at a high school. The following is a quote from their story…

…A 17-year-old Commack High School senior dressed as a black-faced Aunt Jemima, prompting school officials to send him home after he refused to scrub the makeup off his face, Jeziorkowski said.

The student said he was told the outfit was racist. Jeziorkowski said he wasn’t trying to be racist, and he did not understand how the costume could be considered offensive.

“No one had any problems with me dressed as Pocahontas,” he said. This year “they decided I was being offensive. . . . The thing is, I was just wearing a costume.”

Asked about the incident Friday, Commack High Principal Russell Stewart declined to comment.

http://www.newsday.com/long-island/suffolk/commack-hs-senior-sent-home-for-aunt-jemima-costume-1.1558336

The school should not have allowed his Pocahontas costume a year earlier, and they may have avoided this fiasco.They missed a great opportunity to use it as a teachable moment in the young man’s life.

The Pocahontas costume is another degrading image that the natives despise,as I do, and uses their ancestors as a source 0f humor, dehumanizing them even further.

All natives, as well as all people of various races may see it as benign, but one might be well served to think about how the most aggressively proud champion of any race might view it.

It is not funny to clown a race, religion, physical deformity or perpetuate popular stereotypes that used to be so common in the media.

If these situations can be avoided, then as a society,in 2009, we would be better served by eliminating racial stereotypes as a source of comedic entertainment.In fact it demonstrates overt racism, and any customer who wears the offending costume must be a bigot, or maybe just an idiot to think for a second that it could ever be humorous.

From the Washington City Paper comes this insight on this topic….

Obviously, there is a market for costumes that are based on racial discriminations. But I am guessing that the majority of people who purchase these types of costumes are not doing so out of blatant racism, but more out of ignorance that the costume is offensive, or that they are perpetuating a stereotype…

As a rule, if a costume objectified a racial minority it is perpetuating a racial stereotype that is detrimental to the race in question, and may be deemed as a blatant offense, rather than a subtle, harmless costume.

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist/2009/10/28/how-to-inform-a-friend-their-halloween-costume-is-racist/

A racist costume plays into the xenophobic behavior and demeans a large portion of our society, no matter how many people of the stereotyped race may not care.

We all need to call into question the racial attitudes of those that continue to sell and promote bigotry and racism in America, and destroy their business. EBAY and Amazon do not care about spreading hatred throughout our land, by  distributing this overt form of vile racist propaganda.

I call for a boycott of  EBAY, Amazon.com, as well as any local or national chain involved in spreading this form of hatred, racism , and bigotry throughout our land.

They will not stop until we hit them where it hurts, and that is in their wallets, and the governments should look into this, and define for us if it is freedom of speech issue, or simply another form of a hat crime, as it so obviously appears to be…

NOT FUNNY,NOT CLEVER…JUST GOOD OLD AMERICAN BIGOTRY.

Muflap.com has compiled a list of some offensive halloween costume concepts for the idiots that can not figure it out for themselves…

http://www.muffslap.com/racist-offensive-halloween-costumes/

Offensive Illegal Alien Costume

Offensive Illegal Alien Costume

Why...

Why...

There is no excuse for this...racist

There is no excuse for this...racist

5 Responses to “Another year, another Racist Halloween Costume and the Idiots that wear them”

  1. Jerry, I agree that some costumes and some stereotypes can be offensive, but I think you go too far. I think that basically, your definition is that people are only allowed to dress as completely fictional race-less characters or as characters who are the same race as they are. Why is that?

    Would it be racist if a black girl dressed up as Aunt Jamima or a Hispanic boy dressed up like a bandito?

    Actually, give me some examples of some costumes that you don’t think are offensive.

    What about if a white boy dressed up like a cowboy? Is that an unfair stereotype of white people? The Aunt Jamima guy dressed up like Barbie a few years ago – was that unacceptably offensive to women? What about a girl dressed up as a witch? Of course there are no such things as real witches, but not that long ago, many women were accused of witchcraft and brutally tortured in violent instances of religious extremism and patriarchy. Can you find offense anywhere if you really want to? I think probably.

    I know I don’t fully understand the emotions that are involved in racial issues. Where does the offense come from?

    I think at some point we have to stop taking everything so seriously. There is a huge difference between a funny Halloween costume that involves unrealistic or exaggerated elements (which costume doesn’t?) and real historical racism. Real historical racism is stuff like Little Black Sambo and the real KKK. It makes things worse, not better, when every race claims its own stereotypical territory and fights anyone who encroaches on it, even for something as benign as Halloween.

    • Well, Mr Manes,I do not think we are in a profound disagreement. I think that some things are ”racist” and some things are ”racial”.

      The racist costumes, only in my opinion, and we must also look at my generation,are the ones that make fun of ones ethnic features and cultural religous deities,such as the Indian gods, as well as groups that may have been involved in racial terrorism, like the KKK and the Nazis.
      If a black girl dressed up as Aunt Jemima,and ‘acted like a mammy” then I would deem that as racist and offensive,….but ,maybe not as quickly as if a white person did it….
      I dressed up as a Klan member for a work costume party when I was in my 20’s, and it just made everyone uncomfortable, which was not my agenda.
      I have noticed that younger people of all races are a lot more forgiving of some costumes than older people of all races that may have lived during civil rights
      or are more on edge about offending people, sometimes maybe to an extreme…and it is possible to go too far with it.You have to use your best judgement.

      I worked on ‘King of the Hill”and I was nervous about the ”redneck” descriptions and caricatures of our characters, as well as the over the top portrayal of all the races in our series.I thought Mike Judge was not being respectful to Texas citizens, and was concerned, I would have changed it, but,what we realized is that a broad lampoonong of sterotypes help open up the conversation about the races, and hopefully we can all grow and move on.

      In comedy, we would be limited if we did not be edgy in social ,racist , sometimes sexist ways, and the conversation is progressed, either positively, or negetively.
      Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, Jeff Foxworthy, they first made us squirm, but as time progressed, we all saw through the outragousness, and the converation got a lot more positive.
      I just think that one should take into consideration the message that a costume sends out in common polite society, and act accordingly.We can be harmless,benign and funny without having to demean people, I am sure.

      A lot of white people would agree with me on the redneck thing, because we got tons of fan mail to support that, as well as a lot of people did not care at all.

      It is a generational issue that I think is taken differently based on the age of the person commenting.I have way too many messed up memories of personal racial discrimination, of the overt kind, not the made up kind, so I may have absolutely no humor for racial jokes or costumes at all,unless I make them, so I reccomend that we all get creative and come up with something more original. It is possible.
      The younger generation of all races have more tolerance for such things. There is no simple answer, but my goal is to keep Halloween benign, and here in San Diego and LA, we live in a multi-cultural society, and something as simple as an ”Native Indian” costume in the wrong circumstance could lead to physical violence.
      I have seen it happen before my eyes, so possibly put yourself in some one elese shoes, and undertand that you and I may be more tolerant or have thicker skin than some other people here in society that might make us an example in public.

      We all have the right to choose our battles.

      My question for you is…why do you not understand the emotions involved in racial issues.
      Do you think they do not exist, simply because you are not affected by racial discrimination? We have all these civil rights laws, and all these racial problems in America, do you think that ALL of that is made up? That is not that probable, now is it.

      And I don’t know, I think if we all were a lot more respectful of others races and cultures and inform oneself on other races claim on stereotypical territory, then no one would have to fight about it….as a possibility, rather than try to create an atmosphere where all we do is disrespect each others cultures, racial identities, culture and family practices.The offense comes hen you are clowning our families and ancestors.
      That is not something I personally support for our country.I think we need more respect, rather than less, but that is my opinion, and as I said, we all must take into consideration age, and experience in this area. For the record I am 45, so take that into consideration.
      I want to discuss this with you again when you have encountered some form of racial discrimination so you have some sort of experience with it.

      For now, I appreciate your comments and views, and allowing me to have more insight into your peronal experience, it is very helpful.
      I agree that no one feels comfortable always having to second guess ones actions, but I think that more people need to, especially of you find the black face lynching scene as a benign funny costume,…and I am not saying in any way that you do, it is just an analogy.History has created this atmosphere, and it would be naive to not acknowledge that fact.

      If you were around a lot of minorities, would you think twice about wearing the ‘Mammy Jemima’ costume…and if you are around white people exclusively, do you feel more comfortable in the ‘Mammy Jemima’ costume? Just wondering…

  2. You asked why I don’t fully understand the emotions involved in racial issues. I studied history in college and I am aware of lots of things that are relevant to this discussion: blackface minstrelsy, Little Black Sambo, the original Aunt Jemima, etc. I am aware of racism, Jim Crow, Civil Rights, and racial profiling. It isn’t a matter of denying those things. I just mean that I don’t fully understand the immediate emotional response that a lot of people have when anything could even remotely be construed as racist. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt instead of being offended at anything, whether it could possibly be making fun of me or someone else. I think you can mimic or lampoon a lot of race-related things without crossing into the territory of being racist.

    You are right that it is a generational thing, and it is understandable that older black people who boycotted buses, marched across bridges, and were excluded from schools to be more sensitive about anything that could be taken as racist. I understand that in the abstract, but I can never really understand the emotions because I am a white guy who was born almost two decades after the primary civil rights legislation was passed. I have never known a society that was openly racist or tolerated openly racist statements.

    It is natural for a culture to continue using *something* while completely forgetting the original circumstances in which the thing was used, and I think it loses its offensiveness then. My favorite example is the word “gypped,” which preachers and professors use all the time without realizing it was once an obvious slur against gypsies. Nobody knows about that kind of thing anymore just like nobody knows about blackface minstrelsy. White people will probably keep dressing up like black people (Ali G is hilarious!), but it is becoming more and more detached from the racist roots of blackface performances. They will probably keep making Aunt Jemima syrup, but it too is becoming more detached from the “Mammy Jemima” roots you reference.

  3. Yes, I get your point…it’s just like I can not fully understand how it would be to be a white person of any age, that’s just realistic, so I would have to take your word for that,and respect that, and vice versa, right.I mean I would have to take your advice on something that may be offensive to white people rather than argue that it should not be offensive to white people because I am not white…

    Now, it’s profound what you say about the benefit of the doubt, and that you defer to the kindness of it all, rather than a negative slight…that is profound, and says a lot about you and your upbringing…it is a good thing, and it really is touching, because I have to ask myself why I defer to th exact opposite….and all of that may be to age, as we have agreed upon, and conditioning.My experience with racism started with a lot of fights, slurs, and physical violence as I was bussed to school starting in 1970, and the parents did not want black kids in the school with their children,so I was constantly attacked.
    That’s a past strory and experience that probably drives my ”natural reaction”, so I could learn something from you.
    My son is interacial and he is confronted with bigotry from both sides of the races,but he enjoys fighting,and luckily for me, he excels in education as well.

    You seem like a real nice guy, I am glad I am having this exchange with you…lol I wish folks could communicate more like this…

    Ali G is funny, but the term dressing black, although I understand what you mean, is kind of incorrect.He is not in black face, but he uses urban colloquialisms and dresses ‘Hip-Hop…New York street style.I took him as Puerto Rican more so than black…lol.

    Perception is a motha’…

    I did not know that about the word ‘gypped’, that’s interesting…

    I did want to share with you this, I was in the lunchroom chatting about the ‘Sopranos with my co-workers, and one of my Italian co-workers overheard me say I really liked the series, and she began to point out to me that the show is racist and stereotypes Italians as gangsters…and well, it made me feel bad about enjoying the show, because I liked her and respected her a lot.
    She was highly sensitive to those stereotypes about her people, and kind of militant about it, but I never wanted to hurt her feelings…
    I had to think about all of that, because I am usually the one confronting people about lampooning racial stereotypes.It gave me some perspective.

    Also, when I worked in S.E Asia, there was a product, like Johnson products called ”Darkie Brand”

    http://www.sinosplice.com/life/archives/2004/11/26/darkie-toothpaste

    And in Asia, the intention was to celebrate black people, because they view us as having the cleanest and brightest teeth.It is supposed to be a compliment.
    When I explained to my sponsors there some in the western world like myself may take it as racially offensive, they were disapointed, and hardly understood where I was coming from.
    If you get time, look at those links.
    I let it go, because of the looks in their faces, they felt it was honoring me and Black americans, and I did not have the heart to start explaining American racial issues, if they did not already understand it. Their intentions were benign.

    How do we as a society, enroll and transform the most militant and biased ones among us to gain more understanding.I have plenty of multi ethnic friends, and our relationship allows a lot of things to happen among us that would be unadvisable for me , or them outside of our social circle…Some of my white friends have stories and cartoons about black people that are great, but they are hesitant to move it forward, but have no problem explaining that to me…That has always been a drag to realize.
    I know I have to create characters within a marketable realm if I am selling it in the USA, for plain old business realities…

    We all have to deal with these things in our society, especially for business reasons, or we just continue to be polarized.

    I think that what you are getting at is that if we give it no power, than it will not have any power over us, and I have to agree with you on that.I have never donned white face, and It has no negative historical connotations to make any caucasian angry, but all the slavery, and Rodney King beating and things that occured today to any given race because of our race continues to plague our citizens is associated to black face, so I do not think that society is intelligent enought to look at something that may be a joke to some, as a joke, and I may start having those memories of lawn jockeys and the like, and then it all goes downhill…

    I will say this Mr Manes, I hope your vision of the world can prevail, because I agree Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima and Darkie products are going to continue, but I do not want us to forget where these images are coming from, historically.
    And if they are currently benign, then that will give us all perspective, and ,maybe some hope to aspire to a better future and as more perfect union that our founding fathers hoped for, although they all owned slaves.
    We want to know that we can all evolve and change and most of all understand that most people are good, and there are really only a few bad ones…

    Your generation could make a breakthrough hopefully for the betterment of society. Us older people could use those that have some distance from the struggle to come up with a better way, so we all can just get along, as Rodney King said during the LA Riots.

    But at this point, it is naive to believe that we are all just taking things badly and being over sensitive.Why not try to repair or help the situation out somehow, rather than put it down.That just ramps the reaction up in a negative way…and I am not saying that this is what you do, but I am speaking to the larger society, black, white, brown, yellow, red, and mixed.No need to make things worst just because of a costume, maybe just avoid the possible slight that an offensive costume might cause…

    By the way,just curious, but what was your costume this year, if I may ask…

  4. Haha, I was a pirate this year. I hope that didn’t offend any Spaniards or Caribbean people.

    I’ll add your site to the Political Cartel blogroll because I think you have a lot of good things to say and an interesting perspective.

    You’re right that it would be naive to just dismiss offended feelings and say that people are being overly sensitive. That wouldn’t help anything. There are two sides to approaching *something* that could be potentially racist – one probably takes offense and assumes bad motives; the other probably doesn’t and assumes good motives. Both sides need to understand where the other is coming from, and I think we can also agree on this.

    The best future would be one where actual racism didn’t exist and anyone could dress up in any costume and the costume could be lighthearted and fun without offending any. I think we will get there eventually as old wounds heal and new generations grow up with diversity.

    That future sort of looks like the second group taking over while the first group dies. That is sort of what will happen, but the way that it will happen will be through mutual understanding, not by dismissing or throwing up walls and accusations. It will also happen as the real problems (not just perception problems) are addressed.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: