I came home from work today to my wife presenting an article to me that a social network friend of her had posted with about 20 some odd follow on comments attached to it. The article which is linked below, concerns a group of high school girls that participated in a powder-puff intramural football game in Missouri. These students, in a similar manner to most football players, placed eye black on their face. They then took it a step further to mock the jock, so to speak, and covered their entire faces with the eye black. Apparently, since I have been shown an article about the situation and the follow on comments, it wasn’t received very well by some to the point that you would think this entire group of girls, their principle, and their town were about to be swept away by a murderous mob in a manner similar to a lynching.
The uproar has been because of a term from American history called “blackface”, where white people of the past portrayed black people in an exaggerated manner to include large lips, large ears, and white contrasting eyes. Usually this portrayal showed black people as ignorant, uneducated, low income, and typically happy to have been slaves. Yes, blackface truly was an example of racism and prejudice in American history. It was a “black eye”, if you will, to our society as whole.
That’s actually a white guy name Al Jolson as he dressed in blackface. Obviously the features of a black man have been exaggerated to show that he is indeed trying to imitate one, thus making him look like a caricature of a black man. However, and this is where I set fire to Rome, what these teenage girls did, in no way showed an attempt to imitate black people in general. They may have had eye black on their faces, but nothing I saw indicated it was for the purpose of making a joke towards, or out of, the black community and their troubled history. But instantly, someone’s feelings got hurt and they blew it out of proportion, and now we have an issue. Had these girls implied any other sort of racist intentions, I would whole-heartedly say that they were wrong for what they did and should probably issue a public apology for it. But that isn’t the case here. There shouldn’t even be an issue here, but we have bred a society that thinks that the simplest of things done by white people is just another attempt to insult them, and keep them down. Turning to playing the victim and garner sympathy, rather than believe that something they disagree with is innocent fun. Too easily taking offense to every little bit of anything a white person says, purely based on the fact that a white person said it. I guarantee that while I am calling them out on it, I will be called racist in doing so. That is easily not the case. I simply don’t agree with starting an angry mob to go after a dozen teenage girls who’s worst crime is having some black paint on their faces.
If you are THAT easily offended by something, maybe you should take a look at why you are so concerned with such trivial things in the first place. I mean, its not like the tables haven’t been turned through out the years, and about the most response you got from white people was laughter. Ahem…
Nick Cannon in white face…Marlon and Shawn Wayans…
But hey, lets get our panties in a bunch because of it, right? Because that is how we solve the world’s problems, berating a bunch of high schoolers for something you don’t like and saying that the principal should have known that something they were doing would cause a racial uproar when it was never intended to be racial in the first place. Basically taking something that shouldn’t be a problem, and reverse engineering it into racism and therefore making it an issue.
As if that weren’t enough, lets also examine the fact that all races of children have been subjected to reproducing the story of the pilgrims having a harvest feast with the native americans, also known as the traditional Thanksgiving Pageant. These children are dressed in stereotypically depicted native clothing, to include face paint and feathers. However, do you hear a peep from the native community? No. Why? When white people and black people (buffalo soldiers fought in the Indian Wars) alike have done just as many atrocities to the native community, if not more so than to the black community. Yet there are no complaints each year when their ancestors are reduced to construction paper feathers, and grocery store paper bag tunics. Why then, does it have to become such an ordeal when some teenage girls look similar to something offensive, but don’t have a shred of intention towards it?
All of that aside though, because apparently it is just incomprehensible to some of the people in the comments section that I saw, there are legitimate reasons behind painting your face that fall outside of the realm of racism. For example…
But hey, what do I know anyways? Ultimately I’m just a white guy, and speaking out against hyper-sensitivity fueled, reverse engineered racism, lands me in the column labelled “racists” purely because I disagree with playing the victim card when you aren’t actually a victim. Makes sense right, Clint?
So fuck it. If you aren’t out there trying to purposefully offend people, just keep doing what you’re doing. People are gonna cry foul on you. People are gonna cry foul on this. If you didn’t mean to offend them then move past it and carry on. Let it consume their lives, not yours.
Stay hidden; stay safe.