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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Black Face from The College Campus to The Department of Homeland Security

Here is an interesting post I found regarding the timely topic of blackface and its the history and role in American life. The Post Black like you by Paul Demko at citypages.com


The Strib and others carry reports today about six Hamline University football players who have been suspended for dressing in blackface for Halloween. John Strausbaugh's extremely interesting 2006 book Black Like You, scrutinizes the history and role of blackface in American life. One curious fact that Strausbaugh points out is that the use of blackface has become surprisingly common in the last decade--especially on college campuses.

Indeed a quick Nexis search of the terms "blackface," "controversy" and "college or university" yields 188 stories in the last five years. This Halloween, for instance, four white students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign sparked controversy when they painted their faces brown to imitate the Jamaican national bobsled team, while four Colorado College hockey players (including two Minnesotans) were suspended after donning blackface to imitate the characters on "Family Matters." In January students at Clemson University marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day by hosting a "Ghetto Fabulous" party featuring white students in blackface swilling 40s and sporting fake teeth grills. In 2005 it was students at Stetson University raising eyebrows when they painted their faces black in imitation of the school's basketball squad.

AAPP: Now we learn the the U.S. Department of Homeland Security finds Black Face funny. The Department of Homeland Security even gave an award to an employee who won a Halloween contest for portraying prisoner in blackface.

Think Progress Reports, "
Bush official lauded racially offensive Halloween costume. Julie Myers, head of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement division, has apologized for “awarding ‘most original costume’ to a Homeland Security Department employee who dressed in prison stripes, dreadlocks and dark makeup for a Halloween gathering at the agency.” The AP reports:


Julie Myers, assistant secretary overseeing Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement division, was part of a three-judge panel that lauded the costume, worn by a white employee, last Wednesday. She also posed for a photo with him." More HERE.

AAAPP: The employee who wore the costume was not identified, but ICE spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said he was counseled by his supervisor. He was not wearing blackface but makeup that was a darker color than his skin, I guess this should not surprise many black people. The both George Bush and George W. Bush are famous for having people in their administration that may just be whites in blackface.

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