Happy Dia de los Muertos everyone! #TeamBlackness made it through another Halloween season and some folks still, STILL! think that blackface is a good look. Pro tip white people: extra bronzer is still blackface and totally offensive. This week we called the black phone and spoke with Dr. Blair Kelley about the history of blackface and she properly threw shade at those who deserve it most. The racially insensitive exhibitionism didn’t stop there, Don Yelton gave us plenty of laughs in light of his resignation after his epic racist interview on The Daily Show. And slavery just might be okay if it’s what the people want.
So rev up those podcast engines, check out what you missed this week and drop us a line in the comments!
#TWiBradio #473 | Ted Cruz Translated
#TeamBlackness discusses Jay-Z being overwhelmingly reasonable (00:20), Ted Cruz at the Stand Your Ground hearings (00:32), and NBC news INVESTIGATES (00:01:07). Download.
#TWiBradio #474 | The Language of Racism
#TeamBlackness discusses Britney Spears as a pirate deterrent (00:20), Don Yelton resigning after his interview with the Daily Show (00:26), a teacher’s racist rant (00:40), and a few words with Professor Blair Kelley regarding the historical relevance of modern comedy tropes (00:48). Download.
@amTWIB #118 | War of the Roses
The Morning Crew is splintered by Elon and Ljoy’s impending podcast divorce but we manage to find time to discuss an interesting quirk about diaper usage (00:38) and the discovery that clinical tests of medicine are not balanced across ethnicities (00:49). Download.
@amTWIB #119 | Pro-Slavery Representation
The Morning Crew discusses the upcoming Red Bull liability suit (00:23), a Nevada politician willing to be pro-slavery (00:30), and Ray Kelly getting booed off stage (00:40). Download.
@amTWIB #120 | Unreasonable Doubt
The Morning Crew discusses the TSA letting us use cell phones (00:15), adopted children raising suspicion (00:27), and single people are ruining the economy (00:36). Download.
#TWiBdark #15 | When Lines Are Crossed
Feminista and N’Jaila discuss the limits of our understanding, including the story of a man who cut off his own genitalia, how we treat the mentally infirm, and how we classify pedophiles. Download.
@WeNerdHard #62 | Really Fox?[powerpress url=”http://elonjames.hipcast.com/deluge/667c3ed2-c717-415f-4da8-274f887a5cd8.mp3″]
#BitterCynicalAdults discuss uprades to the Google suite, Batman: Arkham Origins, and the trailer for the upcoming Xmen: Days of Future Past. Download.
#Sportsball #8 | Fielding A Baby
Aaron, The DVE, and Parenta discuss the obstruction rule, the NON-douche of the Week, the Bengals having potentially the most talented team in the NFL, and the NBA season starts tonight. Download.
This Tastes Funny
#ThisTastesFunny #15 | The Halloween Candy Debate
Elon and Emily discuss secret menu items, how much candy is actually consumed during Halloween, a wine shortage, and the great Halloween Candy Debate 2013. Download.
Your blog is too black. Please eliminate 3% of the melanin.
P.S. I am not a crackpot.
Largest garish ad I’ve seen in a long, long time.
soooo, I have a question about blackface. I’m of the school that says if people say it’s offensive then it is best to believe them and respect that, so I’m not trying to tell people what to be offended about, I’m just trying to understand it.
BUT, in general, dressing up as a character or historical figure or whatever involves putting on things that make you look like them. No one says it’s offensive to women if a guy decides he wants to be Dolly Parton for Halloween (or do they? As a woman I would not find it offensive). I get why dressing up as a generic minority in a derogatory way is very bad, but what if you wanted to dress up as Obama out of honest admiration? I’m guessing the answer is “still off limits because bad associations” and that’s cool, I just want to understand if that is the reason.
PS I would never dress in blackface because it’s obviously not appreciated so I’m not trying to find a loophole. I actually told my BF that for halloween I would not dress him as a black kitty because I felt very uncomfortable putting black cream on his face.
@sparrow: Please proceed, Governor.
Actually, today is Dia de los Santos. Dia de los Muertos is tomorrow.
I think today is All Saints. Tomorrow is All Souls (Day of the Dead).
Just a reminder that you should really consider putting some of your post below the fold, it takes up 2 pages worth of scrolling just to see if any other posts exists besides yours, it is frustrating and other front pagers who put up long posts extend this courtesy to readers.
@sparrow: I’m not the expert here either, but blackface minstrelsy and derivatives thereof were like 75% of American white people’s popular entertainment once upon a time. Bad associations on that level don’t go away in a hurry. I don’t think you can derive this by reasoning from neutral first principles; it’s about history.
@ShadeTail: Beat me to it.
@ShadeTail: Yes, and all you Catlicks better be @ mass today because if you get shot by some SYG practitioner and die before midnight you’re going to hell. And there will be no handbasket to cushion your fall either.
@sparrow: I’ve played Texts from Hillary, Blood Elf Rogue, 2 anime characters and Fionna and Cake. As of yet, I have not had to dip dye my face and body in buckets of L’Oreal SupaDupahWhiteyMcPink Face Paint to get my character across. Why, the fuck, with the history of blackface, do people still ask why blackface (brownface or yellowface) is offensive? If Julianne Hough dressed up as Lucy Liu and taped down her eyes after coating her face in mildly yellow toner, would you be asking if that was offensive?
@Matt McIrvin: Ok, I did not realize that. I got that it was offensive, but I have never seen that kind of entertainment (nor do I understand it, and kind of dread going looking). I mean I was not alive then, and it’s not exactly something they make TV specials about.
@sparrow: Yeah, the thing is, the offensiveness of it kind of made it go down the memory hole to the extent that white people usually don’t realize how dominant it was in the 19th and early 20th century.
But it survives in things like Stephen Foster songs that people still sing, and it was really one of the roots of vaudeville and musical theater as well.
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
But, people who dress as the Incredible Hulk do coat themselves in green paint. People who go as smurfs coat themselves in blue paint. People who go as vampires frequently don’t stop with just fangs. They use face paint to make themselves paler, sometimes a lot paler. White people darkening their skin to look AA is offensive, because of history, which lot of white people do not understand.
@ruemara: I guess I misunderstood how much this was about the blackface specifically, and I admit I have never seen whatever this old racist ‘entertainment’ was that used it… When I was thinking of dressing up as Obama I was imagining doing it with a mask more so than blackface. So, a white person can dress up as a black character, but cannot use blackface. Is that it? Or to generalize: it’s not ok to copy racial characteristics.
Al Jolson singing “Going to Heaven on a Mule” in blackface (from Wonder Bar, 1934).
I report. You decide.
Interesting TCM article on the movie here.
@Matt McIrvin: hmm, down the memory hole, indeed. It leaves me with a couple of thoughts.
1) My boyfriend lived in Germany for a few years over a decade ago now. He said after a certain time of night all the TV programs were basically about WWII and how bad Germany was and the nazis were. Like it was guilt-trip programming, every night. Sometimes I wonder if it would be good for us to have that. Stories about slavery, civil rights, not to mention all the shitty deals we’ve been involved with in other countries. People need to remember how it really was.
2) I frequently find myself stumbling when I try to understand issues from a minority perspective, and occasionally (like now, I suspect), I piss people off when I really don’t mean to. What I want to say is, keep in mind that I’m trying to understand, and I’m going to seem like a really slow child sometimes. It’s not always obvious to a ‘privileged’ person how it is from the other side. I am old enough that I probably should have corrected some major holes in my history education, but sometimes you don’t even know those holes are there. So to finish my rambling, sorry if I pissed anyone off, I didn’t mean to, and thanks for your explanations.
Bing Crosby seemed to be quite fond of performing in blackface.
“Abraham” (from Holiday Inn)
“Accentuate the Positive” (from Here Come the Waves)
This is not ancient history — it’s well within the memory of millions of people alive today who saw this stuff in first run back in the 1940s and 1950s.
Even when it’s done as an attempt at a sincere tribute, as when Fred Astaire did blackface as Bill “Bojangles” Robinson in Swing Time, the recent history of it means it just ain’t right.
@Steeplejack: Wow. Uh, I’m kinda without words on that.
Back then, too, back performers appeared in blackface.as well. ‘Pigmeat’ Markham, for instance, was often quoted about missing ‘puttin’ on the cork’ as that was a part of one of the characters he portrayed on stage.
*burnt cork was an ingredient in the make-up
(Not making any kind of value judgment, just commenting on some of the history.)
However, the Fred Astaire number he did in blackface in Swing Time, while brilliant dancing and staging, is forever bizarre.
smedley the uncertain
@Paul W.: I have to second this. Long lists of self serving entries is annoying. Do have some consideration as other posters have, Please.
My dad has a photo of himself as a little kid dressed up in full blackface with bushy wig, for some sort of costume party. That would have been sometime in the late 1940s in western Nebraska.
He remembers being horrified at stories of Southern segregation in the Fifties, and having it pointed out to him that (a) there were no black people to discriminate against in his town, but (b) there were Indians, and they got the full apartheid treatment, with separate restrooms and everything. The fact had simply not crossed his mind up to that point.