[TW: Blackface on some of the links]
When I was a kid, and even still now, if I acted a fool (I was being disrespectful, talking back, etc.) my momma would say “Have you lost yo mind?” or “You must’ve lost yo mind, and I’m bout to help you find it.” And I feel like people indeed have.
There seems to be this recurring…thing where mainly non-Black people like to compare their oppression to the oppression of Black people, specifically Black Americans (*Black-American here means U.S. descendants of enslaved Africans.) I don’t know why this is happening (coughs anti-Black racism coughs) but it needs to to stop. Especially the comparisons to Blackface. Why? Because Blackface is nothing like Redface, Yellowface, Brownface, etc.
Recently the popular Native American comedic group 1491s made a video called “Halloween Responsibly PSA”, which was a response to people dressing up as Native Americans for Halloween. This would sometimes include them (the ignorant people) of wearing fake imitations of a Plains headdress, an object that is indeed sacred. In a short sentence, they’re doing Redface. The video if you had stopped reading this to watch it does indeed contain one of their white friends dressed up in classic Blackface. The 1491s thought they were making a great, educational video, that showed how intelligent they are but to people with common sense, it really just showed how anti-Black they are. And if that wasn’t enough here is their response to the rightful backlash it received. And here is their response to my triggered and angry response to both of those videos.
Amazing right? Unfortunately they aren’t the only ones to compare Blackface to Redface. Another popular blog, called Native Appropriations, that talks about appropriation of Native American cultures, has blog posts ignorantly comparing Blackface to Redface.
Here’s is one of my personal favorite lines from one of their posts
“So basically they did what everyone seems to do when they want to “honor” Indians—drew upon every Hollywood Indian stereotype without any regard for historical accuracy, regionality, or how effing racist it is to make the only Native girl basically dress up in blackface. (I’m ready for the angry comments about that last part.)”
You know what this comment tells me, that someone or maybe even a lot of people told her the same thing people told 1491s. That this comparing Blackface is ignorant, anti-Black, or all of the above, and they chose to ignore and brush off their words, just like 1491s. It upsets me.
It isn’t just Redface that Blackface is compared to it’s also compared to Yellowface. In an recent article by Racebending called “The Cloud Atlas Conversation: Yellowface, Prejudice, and Artistic License” The author writes:
“Unlike Blackface, Yellowface has never quite fallen out of vogue.”
Ummmmm, no Blackface has not. How about we talk about the modern day Blackface which white rappers such as Brooke Candy (the girl in the link), Kreayshawn, Iggy Azeala, etc. do all the time, as well as other PoC.
Not to mention if you have been tumblr for awhile or you follow blogs such as Korra is Not Tan, DamnlayofftheBleach, or even StopWhitewashing, you will see that this statement is hilariously and ignorantly false.
Someone pointed this out in the comments
Unfortunately, Mike Le didn’t stop at ‘Very True’. Their statement “in the cases I’ve seen it recently, such as Tropic Thunder, it’s very apparent to the audience that blackface is unacceptable.”
Umm, people thought that was hilarious and saw no problem.
I’m flabbergasted by all these level of ignorance (and in some cases dismissal of feelings from others and blatant anti-Black racism) especially from people who are supposed to be educating others.
Comparing your oppression to Black people is utterly ridiculous and it also erases people who are both Black and Asian, Black and NDN, etc. Not only that it further wides the problems between the Black communities and other PoC communities. More problems we all don’t need.
Saying “You wouldn’t do Blackface would you” is basically saying “Don’t treat us like those people!” Not to mention, if they are doing Yellowface, Redface, or Brownface guarantee they have done or will/are willing to do Blackface, or see no problem with others doing Blackface.
You’re also saying in other words that you think Black people don’t have any problems. We still experience horrid racism, dehumanization, etc. like everyone else and people still do Blackface and see no problem with it.
Redface, Yellowface, Brownface, and Blackface are ALL racist (making us into caricatures, dehumanizing us) and are ALL serious problems, and are ALL still being done. They are NOT comparable.
Also slurs are another thing people need to stop comparing. No the word g**sy, ch**k, s**c, in**n, etc. are not like the N word.
In others words, to quote my momma, stop showin yo ass.
Thank you for posting this. Blackface is not comparable to yellowface. Recently with Cloud Atlas, I have heard Asian American activists decrying that “the film didn’t do this/wouldn’t dare do this to the black community” with the implicit argument that somehow the black community more protected from discrimination in the Hollywood system. This isn’t true.
Some of this perception might stem from what Mike said, which is that perhaps (white dominated) Hollywood perceives that the black activism community might be able to organize more effectively against blackface. I think some of it is also rooted in this idea that Asians are differentially racialized to be more docile and quiet about yellowface, and therefore (to Hollywood) a less “intimidating” group to raceface, which, still—really screwed up beliefs. It doesn’t mean that Hollywood is less racist towards the black community, as some Asian American activists are now saying (ugh). It only means that Hollywood is racist towards different groups in different ways—which is why blackface and yellowface are not comparable.