To think 'blacking up' isn't necessarily racist?

(298 Posts)
Fabuloo Wed 02-Jan-13 20:29:14

Apologies in advance for the Daily Mail link....

this article

I think it's more to do with the intention behind it rather than the 'act'. DD is mixed race and sometimes dresses up in a blonde wig and in the past has put my make up on. My DS is blonde and fair and I would have no problem if he wanted to do the same in reverse. I do feel people need to get a grip...

lovelyladuree Wed 02-Jan-13 20:32:30

Fabulous. A Daily Mail link. I will just go and put the kettle on...........

catgirl1976geesealaying Wed 02-Jan-13 20:32:56

Umm...........could you give me a context where you think it wouldn't be?

If a small child did it to.......I don't know, look like their friend, I probably wouldn't think it was racist (as I don't generally believe small children are racist) but I would probably be having a talk about what's appropriate and the history of "blacking up" and why it was offensive.

catgirl1976geesealaying Wed 02-Jan-13 20:33:35

I didn't click on your linky though so not sure what the article says

HollyBerryBush Wed 02-Jan-13 20:34:49

It's not even Dm hysteria is it? It's onlooker need to be offended on behalf of someone else. The child isn't being racist at all - although knowing how pearl clutching hysterical some people get, I'm surprised the father allowed him to do it.

I don't see the footballers looking mortally offended.

catgirl1976geesealaying Wed 02-Jan-13 20:35:11

Read it now

I don't think the child was racist but I think the father was a bit naive to not realise that it might have caused offence.

CarlingBlackMabel Wed 02-Jan-13 20:35:34

Ther is nothing in the case written about in the DM that suggests that the child or his family are racist. They would hardly do this in advance of meeting a player they revered if they intended any offence.

However, in principle, there is a bit of a 'thing' made about race. It's making a big feature of his skin colour. They didn't for instance, make him taller, like the footballer is.
If he was meeting his favourite female pop star, would he have stuck balloons up his shirt?

The white mohican is simply funny.

Twitter storm an over-reaction, for sure.

Fabuloo Wed 02-Jan-13 20:35:46

Ha! Sorry it's a child who's a fan of a black football player who dressed up as him (along with face paint and spray on hair) to go to a match.

It has apparently caused outrage on twitter, just had a look on there myself and there does seem to be general tutting and WTF's about it.

DameMargotFountain Wed 02-Jan-13 20:36:09

<opens new box of grips>

why not OP, let's do the accent too, and have a good laugh hmm

and no i haven't read the DHeil link

Fabuloo Wed 02-Jan-13 20:39:19

DameMargotFountain - he wasn't doing it in order to laugh at the football player, he wanted to try and look like him.

HollyBerryBush Wed 02-Jan-13 20:40:00

It's a child emulating his hero - simple as.

I would however, looking @ the height of the child, which is no real marker, he could just be very short! say he is too young to be incontrol of his own twitter account though. therein lays the problem.

HollyBerryBush Wed 02-Jan-13 20:41:55

if people are going to say changing colour is "racist" - plenty opf skin bleaching places around for those of African and West Indian descent. is that racist? infact, I think I might have a bit of pearl cluthcing next tiem I see a black player with blond dreadlocks - clearly he desires to be white.

>throws some grips all round the thread<

Dromedary Wed 02-Jan-13 20:42:05

Watch the film "Bamboozled" if you're interested in this question. It's about a (black) man setting up a modern day black and white minstrel show. It explains the background - really brings home to you why this is such a big racism issue. A schocking film that makes a big impression.

DameMargotFountain Wed 02-Jan-13 20:43:07

totally bloody stupid then

did he teach the child some awesome skills to emulate his favourite player?

thought not

Fabuloo Wed 02-Jan-13 20:44:44

DameMargotFountain-

Perhaps he did, I'm not sure. Why do you find it so offensive?

Dromedary Wed 02-Jan-13 20:45:18

NB on the small children not being racist thing. A family member has spent most of her career running nurseries. She provided the children with a variety of dolls, including a black one. She said the black doll was commonly thrown violently around the room and othewise mistreated, which was not the case with the white ones. This was in a very white part of the country.

tittytittyhanghang Wed 02-Jan-13 20:49:00

YANBU, i mean there are probably people who do this to be offensive and racist. But this isn't one of them.

Ive dressed as a geisha before. Would that be considered racist?

HollyBerryBush Wed 02-Jan-13 20:50:15

Ive dressed as a geisha before. Would that be considered racist?

Definately - along with my Cleopatra outfit

>clasps an asp<

Dromedary Wed 02-Jan-13 20:51:30

Holly - isn't the difference that there is a preference in some communities for women in particular to look as pale as possible (as close as possible to white), whereas when whites dress up as black it has traditionally been to ridicule blacks?

Fabuloo Wed 02-Jan-13 20:55:34

I remember being shocked at the amount of skin lightening creams for sale in SE Asia, my Thai friend was equally shocked at my fake tan and sunbathing. They like white skin not in order to look 'Western' as I first assumed, rather pale skin in considered beautiful, much as it was here in the past. People who work outdoors in manual jobs tend to have darker skin and richer people are pale.

And yet we have comedians like Harry Enfield dressing up as Mandela and Leigh Francis dressing up as Craig David and that is considered to be funny.

No difference.

HollyBerryBush Wed 02-Jan-13 20:59:25

dromedary I'm split between several websites, so posting here and there, but I read a fascinating study on Black African leaders/positions of power who actively sought out 'light/er' skinned wives in order that their children are light/er skinned.

Obviously only having one G.G.G. Grandmother who was a Sierra Leone Free Slave - I am to all intents and purposes white and have no outward negroid features - therefore I cannot speak on behalf of the Black community - but the study categorically said Black people value light skin, hence bleaching, and it is seen as a social step upwards to have a lighter skinned wife.

I do not know whether that was assumptive. Or true. It is just something I read. but I did go a-googling the ten African leaders - and about 95% have lighter wives.

Fabuloo Wed 02-Jan-13 21:04:11

I think the 'preference' for lighter skin in some countries is less to do with trying to look western and more to do with pale skin historically belonging to the upper classes who didn't work outside in the sun.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Wed 02-Jan-13 21:06:01

I think that when it's obviously a child dressing up as someone he admires and wants to emulate, then the professionally outraged Twitterprats should know when to shut the fuck up. It's possible that the child's parents just didn't think it through - I would not have let DS do this, for instance - but nor is it a hideous racist hatecrime.

Fabuloo Wed 02-Jan-13 21:10:09

Do you think the Twitter community would have been as morally outraged if a black child had dressed as David Beckham? I imagine there likely would have been some horribly patrionising comments about how sad it is that black children feel the need to emulate white people

Dromedary Wed 02-Jan-13 21:13:48

Holly - I remember that Malcolm X talked about this in his autobiography. He regretted straightening his hair to make it look more western when he was young. Also his obsession with having sexual relationships with white rather than black women when he was young.
Then there's the whole Michael Jackson thing...

MikeOxardInTheSnow Wed 02-Jan-13 21:37:49

Sorry, I just popped in to share the news about the national grip shortage, but I see you have all heard, and are sharing out your hoarded supplies willy nilly all over the place in here. Thank goodness. I will go and tell everyone where the grips are.

drivingmisspotty Wed 02-Jan-13 21:43:36

hmmm, small kid blacks up and causes twitter furore but defends himself in a surprisingly eloquent way. anyone else suspect a brass eye type spoof?

mynewpassion Wed 02-Jan-13 21:58:18

Not racist but his parents are definitely stupid. Now, they have all learned a lesson. Sometimes these things need to happen so that other people can learn from it.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Wed 02-Jan-13 22:11:08

Mind you, it would be interesting to see what happened if a 10 year old boy dressed himself up as a woman he admired whether that's the Queen, Jessica Ennis or Beyonce. (And I can imagine my DS, for instance, wanting to dress up as Beyonce...)

I think his parents should have thought a little more about the possible outcome and allowing that haircut

And a 10 year old on Twitter? My ds is 7 and asking to join FB to play games, but I keep saying no. Is it acceptable to have 10 yr olds on social networks. Genuine question as I worry I am too harsh on him sometimes...?

tittytittyhanghang Wed 02-Jan-13 22:19:16

Have just read the article and have to say its one of the few dm articles where i agree with the top comments.

Bella88 Wed 02-Jan-13 22:23:42

If the footballer in question wasn't arsed, why the hell should anyone else be?

Valdeeves Wed 02-Jan-13 23:03:17

I don't think this little boy had those intentions at all - it's a shame. But I guess you have to be careful who you offend. It would be nice to one day live in a society where we can just paint our face in a colour as a tribute and it been seen as that. Right now the context of the past makes it such a cloudy issue.

tethersjinglebellend Wed 02-Jan-13 23:48:28

Nobody thinks the child is racist any more than this child is a member of the Gestapo. Yet nobody could argue that that book is not fascist.

If you truly believe that blacking up can ever not be racist, I suggest doing so and taking a trip to Brixton on a Saturday afternoon. I'm sure if you explain the non-racist context then people will understand. They'll probably want to shake you by the hand. Or something.

HollyBerryBush Thu 03-Jan-13 00:00:53

My ds is 7 and asking to join FB to play games, but I keep saying no. Is it acceptable to have 10 yr olds on social networks. Genuine question as I worry I am too harsh on him sometimes...?

You open the account, you control the PW, you control his contacts.

FB has a lot of fun, free games - mine have been playing under my accounts since 9 or 10. I control the PWs, I go through the accounts every evening

Lets be honest here, you'll get one or two posters who say their child cant have a FB account until their 13th birthday, but that child can open one at school, in a library, on a mates smart phone and the parent will never know - especially as they tend to use spoof names - Heidi Smith will become Heiidii LuffsJustinBeiber Smiffy - kids arent stupid, they don't pick family up on their secret accounts

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 03-Jan-13 00:45:50

This will not end well.

The child wasn't being racist. But it was ill thought out by his parents.

MammaTJ Thu 03-Jan-13 05:02:46

I was thinking about him having a twitter account at age 10 but Holly makes a good point. My DD has an email account, created by the school and is more than able to set up a facebook account at age 7. Scary!!

Back to the OP. I do not think the boy was being racist, it was flattery and the footballer clearly took it as such. I do think the parents should have realised how it could have been taken though.

Bertrude Thu 03-Jan-13 05:16:46

My husband did it once as he looks like a particular black celeb but is white. Was a fancy dress party where we knew everyone very well.

Went down a storm. Not offensive, not meant in an offensive way. Just like, say, someone with a big mustache putting on a curly wig and being a 118 man. Would that be offensive to curly-haired 118 men?

misterwife Thu 03-Jan-13 05:58:46

'I think that when it's obviously a child dressing up as someone he admires and wants to emulate, then the professionally outraged Twitterprats should know when to shut the fuck up.'

Quite.

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 10:32:10

But who exactly is offended? It strangely appears to be overwhelmingly white people offended on black peoples behalf, I find this a little patrionising.

I don't think it would be a problem dressing up as a black person in Brixton, but obviously it depends on the context.If you dressed up as anyone in order to make fun of them they would probably get upset, no matter what race they were.

I grew up in Hackney and there were a real mix of races, my older cousin married a black man and dyed her hair black and wore the darkest make-up she could find to try and look mixed race for a while, it was never a problem apart from the fact she looked a bit strange ...

tethersjinglebellend Thu 03-Jan-13 11:01:24

I can't believe I was about to write a post arguing that blacking up is racist and offensive.

If people honestly believe that it isn't then there's nothing more to say really.

Staggering.

ladymariner Thu 03-Jan-13 11:09:08

I'm amazed that people are getting into such a flap about this, it was a 10 year old boy dressing up as his hero Hadj El Diouf, going to meet him and getting his photo taken with him. In the photo Diouf looks really pleased to see the kid. He also had his photo taken with several other players, Neil Warnock the manager, some other fans and a couple of police. At Everton games lots of fans wear huge curly wigs to emulate Fellaini. Is there a problem with that? One NYE my son and his mate went as the guys from Pulp Fiction, ds' friend blacked up and wore a wig.....does that make him racist?

I think people need to get a grip and concentrate on the terrible things going on that really are racist, not some kid dressing up a as footballer.

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 11:11:09

tethersjinglebellend - but why are you so offended?

Is it just a white person dressing up as a black person, or would you find it offensive the other way round? How about a white person dressing up as a Japanese geisha or Indian person? Or the other way round? Or is any dressing up as another race but your own a no-no?

If it is because of the history of 'blacking up' do you think it is fair to judge future generations on the racist actions of previous generations, ironically, because of their race?

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Thu 03-Jan-13 11:18:29

YABVVVVU IMHO, if the father wanted to show the Dc's admiration for a particular player, he could have helped him master a skill to demonstrate to the man such as keepie uppie (sp) or dribbling or something, to show how he wishes to be like him/ his colleagues. Personally, I think that even if the father did not intend a racial insult, I think it is sad to show a child that it is physical appearance is what matters rather than abilities or pleasant qualities.

No doubt we will soon be banning all productions of The Mikado staged by amateur dramatics companies unless every member of the cast is genuinely Japanese.

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Thu 03-Jan-13 11:24:02

From pictures I have glanced at, the Dc is wearing his hair in a similar style to the player, why was this not physical homage enough, children of all races often copy fashions like this. To take it that step further, as the father, not the child, seems to have done, is stupid, offensive and tasteless IMO

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Thu 03-Jan-13 11:28:12

Voice, in a version I saw relatively recently, the only reference to physical characteristics was that the cast wore dark wigs, most audiences know wear the play is set, so why do we need to have the physical characteristics represented at all? If the cast is not composed of people of Japanese decent/ nationality.

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Thu 03-Jan-13 11:28:43

where

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 11:37:01

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere -

I think different racial characteristics are something to been celebrated and embraced, having children who are both English, but due ethnicity look very different, has really cemented this view for me.

I find it sickening that my blonde haired blue eyed DS would be condemned as a racist (by other white people) if he dressed up as DD, where if she dressed up as DS (or me) it would be "how sad she feels the need to look western". It really makes me angry.

NoLittle - The last couple of professional revivals of The King & I would only have genuine performers from the relevent parts of Asia. Why do the amateurs not have to conform?

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 11:50:41

I refuse to pass residual racial guilt onto my children, when the only part they have played is to be born.
I will not have them judged by the colour of their skin purely through the actions of others who happen to have the same skin colour.

That goes both ways.

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Thu 03-Jan-13 11:51:51

That's your opinion Fab, and you are entiled to it. My opinion, which is motivated by the fact I am a lifelong wheelchair user, who is a bit of a 'funny shape' as a result of my condition, is that our society is too fixiated on the physical. As I said above, I would prefer if DC's were taught to respect and acquire admirable skills and personality traits rather than physical ones. I am entitled to my opinion too.

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 11:52:41

VoiceofUnreason - I think most of the cast of Anna & The King were Chinese, and not actually Thai (if I remember correctly).

Pendeen Thu 03-Jan-13 11:53:16

Quite agree with you OP.

I would have more of a problem with the shaving of a 10 year old's head and hero-worshipping an overpaid sportsman.

ComposHat Thu 03-Jan-13 11:53:40

No act is offensive in itself, so blacking up per se isn't racist. It depends on the context and motivation of the person committing it. So for example an actor in a TV series about the Nazis giving the zeig heil salute isn't racist, whilst a crowd of thugs outside a shop run by a Jewish family making the same gesture to humiliate, belittle and frighten someone almost undoubtedly are.

This kid and I assume his father did not do this to cause offence or belittle anyone it was (an admittedly cack-handed) tribute to a favourite footballer, who along with his colleagues took it as a homage. I wonder if we have the 'right to get offended on his behalf, over a gesture he seemed happy with.

'The boy would have been utterly unaware of any historical undertones to blacking up and it is possible that his father wasn't either or at least didn't think it through. As a long term football fan, I can remember black players getting routinely booed and having bananas pelted at them, with Leeds Utd being a particular hotbed of racism. So in a roundabout way so it is kind of touching that white kids idolise and want to emulate black players.

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 11:54:11

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere - Absolutely, I can understand your point of view and I do actually agree with you.

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Thu 03-Jan-13 11:56:00

Voice, I don't really get your question, not meaning in a PA way. If an amdram group can formulate such a cast, then great, but not many would manage, so if that is not possible, I don't see why physical characteristics, which aren't there need to be referenced.

Jins Thu 03-Jan-13 11:56:37

What tethersjinglebellend said

KRITIQ Thu 03-Jan-13 12:06:08

People can say and do things that are hurtful to other people, even when they don't realise it's hurtful.

Not surprisingly, children often do this because they are learning about stuff all the time. It's important for adults to help them make sense of things - including to explain to them how their words and actions might be hurtful, even when they don't know that or intend it to be so.

So yes, I can accept that a 10 year old wouldn't understand the connotations of "blacking up," but it's depressing that his parents didn't, either - didn't see it as an opportunity to talk through some of the issues surrounding racism.

Depressing, but predictable, that many are saying it's just harmless fun and people are getting too uptight about this.

Just because someone stomps on your toe by accident doesn't mean it hurts any less than if they did it on purpose. When you explain that the stomping actually hurts, you hope the other person will stop doing it. If they respond by insisting on their right to bounce around as they please, that you're making a big deal out of nothing, that it was okay because no harm was intended, etc., then you can't help but wonder if they actually care if they're hurting someone.

And yes, appropriating someone else's culture and identity for "shits and giggles" can be hurtful. I've done it before at Halloween when I was young - dressed as an Indian and as a gypsy. I had no understanding of the experience of either at the time or that what I was doing could be hurtful. Wouldn't do it now. Plenty of other costumes to pick from.

I see the knives are already coming out for the new Lone Ranger film too, where Jonny Depp is playing Tonto rather than a genuine native American.

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 12:08:58

KRITIQ - I appreciate what you are trying to say and claerly you have good intentions but I also find it a bit patrionising and totally disagree with you.

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 12:09:56

KRITIQ - Who has been hurt by this boy dressing up as his favourite player?

seeker Thu 03-Jan-13 12:12:12

I just think that, as a rule of thumb, if you're not sure whether something is racist or not, it's best not to do it.

Easy peasy. Sorted.

Voice I thought Jonny Depp was part Cherokee from his great grandmother?

Wasn't there equal dissatisfaction with Mel Gibson in Braveheart, or Rene Zellwegger as Bridget Jones from the UK though?

Jins Thu 03-Jan-13 12:15:11

Doesn't Johnny Depp have Cherokee ancestry?

tethersjinglebellend Thu 03-Jan-13 12:15:20

"Is it just a white person dressing up as a black person, or would you find it offensive the other way round? How about a white person dressing up as a Japanese geisha or Indian person? Or the other way round? Or is any dressing up as another race but your own a no-no?"

Jesus Christ.

You have to ask?

Really?

"If it is because of the history of 'blacking up' do you think it is fair to judge future generations on the racist actions of previous generations, ironically, because of their race?"

This is singularly one of the most ridiculous things I have ever read on MN.

I'm out.

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 12:17:09

tethersjinglebellend - Yes I do have to ask, are you not going to answer?

ComposHat Thu 03-Jan-13 12:17:14

Just because someone stomps on your toe by accident doesn't mean it hurts any less than if they did it on purpose. When you explain that the stomping actually hurts, you hope the other person will stop doing it. If they respond by insisting on their right to bounce around as they please, that you're making a big deal out of nothing, that it was okay because no harm was intended, etc

Yes but the person whose toe was metaphorically stepped on it, was far from 'hurt' and was seemingly touched by the gesture. What is really offensive and patronising is that white, middle class handwringers seem to be telling him that his toe should be hurting and they have the right to be outraged on his behalf.

I'd always believed Depp had some Cherokee ancestory. But he's not wholly native American and therefore he shouldn't be playing the role. So THEY say.

seeker Thu 03-Jan-13 12:21:41

I just think that, as a rule of thumb, if you're not sure whether something is racist or not, it's best not to do it.

Easy peasy. Sorted.

I'm just going to keep saying this til most people say "oh, yes, that's sensible"
Then we'll know for certain that all the people still demanding their rights to cover themselves in boot polish and sing "Mammy" are proper racists.

Jins Thu 03-Jan-13 12:24:00

I agree seeker except the majority don't seem to have any doubts so can't use your rule of thumb

tittytittyhanghang Thu 03-Jan-13 12:24:03

Fabuloo, your not the only one, i too have to ask.

Why is any dressing up as another race but your own a no-no?"

KRITIQ Thu 03-Jan-13 12:24:29

Seeker's advice is the best. When in doubt, don't, and don't be afraid to ask someone how they'd feel about it before you do it.

Even if the footballer in this case appeared to be touched (like how else was he going to respond, eh?), it doesn't mean every other Black person will think it's hunky dorey or just conveniently forget the history and the racist context of black face.

I can see this is just going to be one of those discussions where the folks who feel entitled to do as they please will continue to defend their right and any explanation of why it's not a good thing will just be rubbished and disregarded. Life's too short and all . . . Ciao.

wigornian Thu 03-Jan-13 12:26:07

What a huge fuss...I'm mixed race, brown with black curly hair and would have no problem with this. People need to stop bing offended on behalf of others - I often find it is beeding heart liberals who get their kickers in a twist about things like this (Guardian readers, I'm looking at you!) rather than the supposed vctims.

DC is lighter than me, and has is oh's brown hair, my curls, and would pass for southern Europe.

We have some Gollywogs at home - what would the Guardian say to that!!

seeker Thu 03-Jan-13 12:29:32

Then they are real racists, then, jins!

Wigornian- words fail me!

FreudiansSlipper Thu 03-Jan-13 12:34:29

ffs it's 2013 and his father didn't know this will offend some where's does he live mars

what a load of bs he did but didn't care as it was just for a laugh and it was his son wanting to do so

just like the minstrel show was not racist it was just fun hmm

tittytittyhanghang Thu 03-Jan-13 12:36:33

Even if the footballer in this case appeared to be touched (like how else was he going to respond, eh?),

Ahh yes, even if they dont act offended, deep down they really are, cos the PO said so.

The footballer, his team mates, his manager and quite a few others have all clearly said that they were not offended by it, and by his actions the footbaler seemed quite flattered.

When in doubt, don't, and don't be afraid to ask someone how they'd feel about it before you do it. So do you have to ask every single person, or just one? There will always be someone offended by something, by your suggestion we'd be afraid to sneeze for fear of offending someone.

"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool" Sums up my feelings.

FreudiansSlipper Thu 03-Jan-13 12:41:57

so my friends that have been called nigger and my family who have been called paki in jest should just laugh it off becuase it was all a bit of fun no harm intended

Really so it is not up to the person themselves or others to feel offended it is up to ourselves to choose if we have offended others or not. Very much a line from the daily mail

Booblesonthetree Thu 03-Jan-13 12:42:36

Re the references to the king and I, the later film version (Jodie Foster) had actors from all over Asia in the relevant parts. It was banned in Thailand for being disrespectful to the King.
Personally I think it was misguided of the father to encourage his son to do it rather than intentionally racist, there are better ways to show respect for your favourite player!
I wonder what people would think about the Britannia Coconutters?

ComposHat Thu 03-Jan-13 12:42:58

Even if the footballer in this case appeared to be touched (like how else was he going to respond, eh?), it doesn't mean every other Black person will think it's hunky dorey or just conveniently forget the history and the racist context of black face

He could have refused to pose with him (twice) or told him to 'fuck off' he didn't do either of these things. You seem to want to rob El Hadji Diouf of his agency and ability to make decisions over what is offensive or not. (Believe me Diouf has no problems making his views clear on any number of subjects or speaking up when he believed he had been the victim of racism)

There is a world of difference between black face (which is a grotesque parody of the supposedly 'generic' features and gestures of black people as a 'race') and what this kid did in clumsy tribute to a specific favourite player, incorporating gloves, haircut and full kit.

To say there is a moral equivalence between the two is idiotic.

Dromedary Thu 03-Jan-13 12:48:45

Race or sex discrimination isn't just about the person who does it intending to offend. It is quite possible to lose a discrimination claim against you when you had no intention to discriminate and did not realise that you were doing so.

Booblesonthetree Thu 03-Jan-13 12:49:07

Slightly off topic but I can also think of better footballers to idolise than that diving git Diouf... However that is more of a footballing preference...

AbigailAdams Thu 03-Jan-13 12:55:30

What seeker, Kritiq and tethers say. If you have to ask then don't do it!

ComposHat Thu 03-Jan-13 12:55:35

I though that booble not to mention the spitting at numerous groups of fans, taunting injured players etc. but in that context it is largely immaterial.

Pendeen Thu 03-Jan-13 14:18:27

I'm not sure where this thread is heading...

There seems to be an almost perverse desperation amongst some contributors to find racism in the boy's intentions.

His objective in dressing, head-shaving and 'blacking up' was quite guileless - if misguided (and I am here also referring to idolising ugly football players who have no sense of style) but surely the effect was unintended.

101handbags Thu 03-Jan-13 14:28:18

Is Matt Lucas as the black female coffee seller in Little Britain racist? Just wondering as I've never considered it so.

Latara Thu 03-Jan-13 14:44:28

The boy's father was idiotically naive because 'blacking up' has a very offensive historical context.

ComposHat Thu 03-Jan-13 14:53:46

I just think that, as a rule of thumb, if you're not sure whether something is racist or not, it's best not to do it.

Easy peasy. Sorted

It is a nice sentiment, but is not a panacea for all ills and in some circumstances can be used to stifle legitimate criticism of certain cultural practices, for example raising concerns about circumcision (male or female) Irish abortion law or forced marriage. Or in a more tragic case the grooming of children in Rochdale by men from the British-Asian community may not have been tackled quickly due to the perceived cultural and a desire to avoid appearing racist.

Dromedary Thu 03-Jan-13 15:12:27

I don't think anyone is criticising the boy or suggesting that he was trying to offend. That's not really what is now being debated.

LeonardoAcropolis Thu 03-Jan-13 15:28:11

101handbags, that's an interesting point. Matt Lucas also portrayed a Muslim baggage handler and one defence for the sketches I remember reading was that it is an 'affectionate tribute' rather a demeaning caricature. A huge selection of British society were lampooned in Little Britain and Come Fly with Me - would it have been racist to ignore the Caribbean immigrants and Muslims? Or sensible as it would have avoided the inevitable Blacking Up?

ComposHat Thu 03-Jan-13 16:18:47

I wished Lucas and Walliams had avoided making 'Come Fly with me' altogether because it was fucking shite.

FierySmaug Thu 03-Jan-13 16:41:06

For pity's sake, how can anyone get offended by this? It's a little boy dressing up to look like his hero.
When I was 6, I was a bit of a tomboy, and my hero was B.A from The A Team. I loved dressing up as him, complete with black faced mask. Does that make me racist? hmm

wigornian Thu 03-Jan-13 17:36:07

Why seeker?

seeker Thu 03-Jan-13 17:51:59

Frankly, because I find it hard to believe that any black person would be so ill informed about their own history to countenance the presence of a golliwog in their house. For starters.

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 17:54:44

I'm disappointed tethers hasn't come back to explain why she finds it so offensive and whether she would find it so offensive in reverse, or in any of the other situations I described.... She said my comment about not judging future generations of a race on the actions of previous generation who happen to be of the same race is ridiculous... Does my son who is white somehow have his card marked as a racist because he is white, yet my daughter who is mixed race has her card marked as a victim... Sickening.

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 17:57:31

seeker - How dare you tell a person of another race how you as a white person feel they should and shouldn't act and what they should and shouldn't have in their home because you feel offended on their behalf, what patrionsing bullshit!

seeker Thu 03-Jan-13 18:00:44

A. You have no idea what race I am.
B. Being black does not make you automatically knowledgeable about black
history.

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 18:19:59

seeker - You you feel that someone who is black but knows less about 'black history' is somehow 'less' of a black person? There are a lot of black people with a lot of different histories around the world.

seeker Thu 03-Jan-13 18:25:57

Nope. I didn't say that. I said that being black does not automatically make you knowledgable about black history. There are many people, both black and white who do not know why, for example, golliwogs are offensive. Every time there's a thread about them, there are people who are horrified to discover that what they thought was just a doll was a symbol of oppression. Ignorant people, even when it is explained to them, persist in their right to be racist. I find the idea of a black person doing this even more depressing and upsetting than a white person doing it.

Hobbitation Thu 03-Jan-13 18:27:41

I think the sort of blacking up that is offensive is doing do in order to portray a racial stereotype, or like in the old days when they daren't have someone looking "too Asian" or whatever in a film and just got a white European person with a fake tan to play the role instead.

A little boy dressing up like his hero (however questionable his fandom) or someone doing fancy dress as a specific person isn't the same at all IMO.

FreudiansSlipper Thu 03-Jan-13 18:33:54

who on here has said the boy is racist

Most have pointed out that his father should have known better. Yes he wanted to dress as his hero he could have but when he wanted to blacken his face his father should have said well because not the long ago this was done In a derogatory manner this is not a good idea as it may upset some people and we do not want to do that do we, simple the son has learnt something and no one is offended but some just do not care if it is for a laugh

FamilyGuy22 Thu 03-Jan-13 18:38:20

I had a discussion on the feminist board about intention and that acting in good faith was perfectly acceptable. My view wasn't shared by some posters, which I find hard to level with.

For the record I'm not a white Brit and would in no way find that offensive. If anyone wanted to emulate my foreign features it would be fine - unless it was clear that the person had the intent to offend. In this case it would not in the slightest bit.

Sometimes I think people get over sensitive about all this race crap and it cheeses me right off. Can we not, for one minute, just relax and feel free to act innocently without recourse.

Incidentally when I read the article the first thing that came into my mind was Gene Wilder on Silver Streak where he blacks up to get past the cops LOL.

[sarcastic]

but wait, Gene was clearly racist, despite being very close mates with Richard Pryor [rolleyes]

[/sarcastic]

PiccadillyCervix Thu 03-Jan-13 18:40:26

Not read 5 pages so apologies if this has been said already. But there is really no need to "black up". NO need for it. Maybe the kid wasn't being racist,I am sure he isn't, I am sure he probably didn't know better. But his parents are idiots. His parents must know better.

Saw some friends of friends of friends fb photos where they had done an "out of Africa party". Most people dressed as animals fine, a couple dressed as "natives". Big fro, blacked, up plastic bones hanging round their necks. Vile. This is why we don't do it. This is the connotation it has. No one is going to die because the option to paint yourself brown has been taken off the table. It isn' PC gone mad.

tittytittyhanghang Thu 03-Jan-13 18:45:06

Damn, i was gonna dress us as a scottie for burns night, with a kilt and one of those tartan bonnets wi the tufts of ginger hair! But i guess that would be racist too hmm

peanutMD Thu 03-Jan-13 18:46:56

YANBU.

Pressumably anyone who does think so would apply the same thought process to movies such as 'White Chicks' where two black men impersonate two white females, who happen to be complete blonde-bimbo stereotypes.

Hobbitation Thu 03-Jan-13 18:56:42

Big fro, blacked, up plastic bones hanging round their necks. Vile. This is why we don't do it. This is the connotation it has. No one is going to die because the option to paint yourself brown has been taken off the table. It isn' PC gone mad.

Dressing up as some stereotype of "an African" is vastly different from dressing up as a specific person.

PiccadillyCervix Thu 03-Jan-13 18:56:48

This thread is ridiculous.

First of all, if a white person dresses up as a black person where hundreds of years of history have shown black people to be oppressed by white people this is inherently different to a black person dressing up as a white person.

Obviously.

The fact that the black footballer seems unbothered is irrelevant unless you believe all black people have the exact same opinion as this one man. (or that this one man would not see it as a pr nightmare to tell the parents of this boy how fucking unacceptable it was for his kid to go around dressed like this.

The assumption you can do whatever you want to do because you know better. Because you aren't racist.. that's amazing to me. It's a sense of entitlment that come from being in charge. From being top dog. It's the same way men can make sexist jokes or read page 3.. because they don't consider themselves sexist.

My boss can walk past me and say I have an amazing ass, I may love it. It doesn't stop the fact that most women won't and most women will consider it sexual harassment. I am not the voice of my entire gender and the boss should keep it in mind that one person's compliment is another's idea of gross misconduct.

Hobbitation Thu 03-Jan-13 18:59:10

Straw man whooshing past there.

PiccadillyCervix Thu 03-Jan-13 19:07:01

no, sexism/ racism. Pretty much the same argument.

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 19:11:56

* PiccadillyCervix

This thread is ridiculous.

First of all, if a white person dresses up as a black person where hundreds of years of history have shown black people to be oppressed by white people this is inherently different to a black person dressing up as a white person.*

Just because white people have oppressed black people in the past, in some places, does not mean that all white people should then be judged on those peoples actions, just because they happen to be the same race. That is genralising, judgmental and downright racist.

PiccadillyCervix Thu 03-Jan-13 19:16:45

No racism is what the majority of black people in western countries have dealt with for the 400 years. Not being able to black yourself up is not suffering racism hmm

It is not the end of the world. t really isn't

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 19:21:41

Being accused of something you are not because of the colour of your skin is though.

seeker Thu 03-Jan-13 19:23:07

God above- why are people so stupid!!!!!!!!!!!

It is not suffering racism to be told you probably shouldn't "black up"!

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 19:23:11

What about if a Japanese person dressed up as a black person they admired, would that be racist/offensive?

FreudiansSlipper Thu 03-Jan-13 19:24:05

but if you know it can cause offence and lets face it what adult living in the uk does not know this why would you do it

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 19:25:32

seeker - No one said it was, what a stupid comment. Being accused of being racist because you are white and have dressed up as a football player you like who happens to be black is racist. This argument wouldn't be happening if the boy wasn't white.

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 19:27:22

FreudiansSlipper- but who did it cause offence to exactly? From what I can gather it seems to have offended white people.

FreudiansSlipper Thu 03-Jan-13 19:28:55

fabuloo do you allow your children to always do as they wish? Who has said the child was racist but his father allowing him to blacken his face knowing that this may upset some had decided that is ok, what lesson is that to teach a child

sunshine401 Thu 03-Jan-13 19:31:43

Hmm... As it is a child I would think like this - when my little angel asks to be a pumpkin what do I do? I get them a little pumpkin outfit and paint their face orange.

Its a children's dressing up game. No harm or offence I am sure was meant to anyone.

FreudiansSlipper Thu 03-Jan-13 19:32:50

I suggest you read some more forums then

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 19:33:13

FreudiansSlipper - yes but who has this upset? Certainly not the player.

PiccadillyCervix Thu 03-Jan-13 19:35:47

sunshine bless. Your little angel smile

Out of curiosity, were pumpkins ever sold in to slavery by white people though? I don't remember that bit of the history lesson.

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 19:38:34

I am not a slave trader, nor have I ever owned a slave. The only thing in common is my race. I do not wish you to classify me as a potential racist because of my race.

FreudiansSlipper Thu 03-Jan-13 19:40:17

like I said look at other forums there is plenty of discussions going on

many women are not offended by sexist comments I am does that mean I can not be because a colleague/friend/family member of mine isn't

sunshine401 Thu 03-Jan-13 19:42:12

That is a pointless statement . Many terrible things have happened to all different cultures.

Because of this our children have to grow up in a world where they cannot dress up or wear face paint in fear of causing offense?

HullyEastergully Thu 03-Jan-13 19:42:38

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

PiccadillyCervix Thu 03-Jan-13 19:42:52

Are you really that upset that in the grand scheme of things.. you can't dress up as a black person? Really that you can afford to be wound up about it?

PiccadillyCervix Thu 03-Jan-13 19:43:59

Yes sunshine. Yes. If you think you are really that hard done by that your lil angel can't black up.. Well shit. Guess your life isn't so bad after all.

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 19:45:12

The arab slave trade took about 18 million black slaves throughout it's history, would you be so offended if an arab child was allowed to dress as a black footballer? Or would it just be offensive if it was a white child hmm

PiccadillyCervix Thu 03-Jan-13 19:46:54

As a white person who never once had to worry that I was racially profiled, or less likely to get a job as the same similarly qualified person I'm willing to accept that this in turn means I can not dress up like a black person for fear of possibly offending a real black person.

It's an awful shame.

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 19:47:52

PiccadillyCervix - How should I explain to my white DS that he is not allowed to dress up as my mixed race DD (not that he would want to, but if he did) because in the past people of his race were bad. But mixed race DD can wear her blonde tangled wig and dress up as DS, that's fine.

PiccadillyCervix Thu 03-Jan-13 19:47:56

Actually I would.

PiccadillyCervix Thu 03-Jan-13 19:48:59

I also think it is offensive when people dress as Native Americans. HAve you got a list?

Jins Thu 03-Jan-13 19:50:25

You can dress up as someone without blacking up though

If they had left it at the hairstyle then there wouldn't have been any fuss at all. However they wouldn't have got their fifteen minutes of fame. Dilemma...

FreudiansSlipper Thu 03-Jan-13 19:50:44

who is you in your post fabuloo?

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 19:50:56

Do you think my DD should be allowed to dress up as me, with a blonde wig and white make up on?

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 19:51:53

FreudiansSlipper - what do you mean?

PiccadillyCervix Thu 03-Jan-13 19:52:01

She can wear a blonde wig because anyone can dye their hair blond. If you painted her face white I would think you were mental. And yes the fact that your children are related no way negates the fact that they should be informed about the politics of race the way I will explain sexism to my son and daughter. I come from a totally mixed race family. My grandfathers are black my cousins mixed and I am white. That is not an "in" for me to black up. Don't be so stupid

sunshine401 Thu 03-Jan-13 19:52:11

PiccadillyCervix -- lol me and my little angel do not need to if it is anything to do with you.

Face paint is face paint Chill out!

PiccadillyCervix Thu 03-Jan-13 19:54:39

Trying to imagine either of my grandfathers faces if I had "dressed up as them". They's think I'd fucking lost it presumably

PiccadillyCervix Thu 03-Jan-13 19:55:48

Yes, paint is paint. With no history or context behind it. If you aren't very bright.

FreudiansSlipper Thu 03-Jan-13 19:56:09

previous post you wrote I do not wish you to classify me as a potential racist .....

who was that in reply to

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 19:56:11

PiccadillyCervix - would they think you were racist?

Going to throw my two pennies in,

Just because the footballer smiled and laughed in a photo with a little boy does not mean that he was OK with it. He was presented with a very young fan, what was he meant to do.

Why did the boy need to `blacken`up, from what I understand, the footballer has a very distinctive haircut so surely that was all that was needed? I mean if someone emulates Micheal Jackson, dont they just do the moonwalk and wear a glove? The arguement about the Mikado is a bit silly, I have never seen a production where they try to change the eyes (a most obvious feature) they just wear the costume.

I`m afraid I agree with Seeker, If you have to ask or think about it, its probably best not to do it.

sunshine401 Thu 03-Jan-13 19:58:28

Like I said in the case that is being mentioned I do not think this young child was setting out to offend anyone. It did not offend the person involved. So there is no need to get so wound up by it all.

PiccadillyCervix Thu 03-Jan-13 20:09:26

I am sure they would think I had knowingly done a racist thing, and that I had some sort of mental break down because they know I know better.

Fabuloo Thu 03-Jan-13 20:18:10

Would they feel offended rather than honoured that you wanted to look like them?

Dromedary Thu 03-Jan-13 20:22:14

Seriously, watch the film "Bamboozled". I didn't get the problem with golliwogs before seeing that.

PiccadillyCervix Thu 03-Jan-13 20:22:41

Yes they would be offended because they aren't idiots. They know the back ground of black face. They lived through racism at it's nastiest. My grandmother and him were not even legally married in some parts of the country due to him being black and her being white.

They would feel no more "honoured" than I would if dh decided to dress up as me. I'd think he had lost the plot.

If your dd painted herself white to "Look like you" off her own back, I am sure you would't feel offended because she is a child. However as an adult like the parents in the story you know that we don't do that sort of thing. They should have told the boy no.

nethunsreject Thu 03-Jan-13 20:23:46

YABU

I seriously wonder about mn these days. Few years ago, no one would've thought blacking up was ever reasonable! It were all fields etc blah blah. But fucking hell, really? Some people think this is okay? Of course it isn't the wee kid's fault, but surely an adult in the family must have thought this through.

FamilyGuy22 Thu 03-Jan-13 20:25:25

PicadilyCervix

I'm not a white Brit and think you're taking it too far, irrespective of your family being coloured. I'm not saying you're wrong but just expressing my opinion.

My race were oppressed by Brits in history as were many others. I don't see any harm in what the child did and have no doubt none of my family would either.

If we all acted in fear of offending anyone then we would cease to walk out of our homes. Especially in the diverse country we live.

The Irish have been oppressed by the English but they sell daft stereotypes of themselves in tourist gift shops, as do the Scots. Europeans wiped out the native American Indians but does that mean we should never have a wild west fancy dress night? Facial colour is but a feature of one's ethnic background, along with hair, eyes, nose and clothing. Slamming someone because they've decided to replicate one of these features is foolish IMHO

PiccadillyCervix Thu 03-Jan-13 20:26:00

Of course it isn't the wee kid's fault, but surely an adult in the family must have thought this through.

You would think that wouldn't you. Until you read this thread.

FreudiansSlipper Thu 03-Jan-13 20:32:23

who lives in fear of offending others?

I do not. I have learnt what is acceptable and what is not and I go by that, if I offend someone unintentionally I apologise for doing so and learn from that it's not hard unless you want to make it difficult for yourself

DameMargotFountain Thu 03-Jan-13 20:47:22

as an aside, OP, what made you apologise for the DM link in your 1st post?

seeker Thu 03-Jan-13 21:02:53

You don't have to live in fear of offending people- just don't do or say offensive things. Then you don't have to worry!

FamilyGuy22 Thu 03-Jan-13 21:16:15

Seeker

What one finds offensive may not be to another so saying, "just don't do or say offensive things" is a bit of a non-starter surely.

Is replicating someone's facial colour really offensive? Does the BBC or ITV have to actively stop playing Silver Streak on TV because viewers may get offended by Gene Wilder? Or will Tropic Thunder never get air time because of Robert Downey Jnr?

ComposHat Thu 03-Jan-13 21:20:20

"just don't do or say offensive things. "

What a meaningless, trite statement. You seem to think there is an absolute definition of 'offensive' and 'non-offensive' words and deeds.

seeker Thu 03-Jan-13 21:46:17

"What a meaningless, trite statement. You seem to think there is an absolute definition of 'offensive' and 'non-offensive' words and deeds."

I actually think that broadly speaking there is. There might be a little bit of fiddling at the margins, but for the most part, it's pretty easy to tell what's offensive and what's not.

seeker Thu 03-Jan-13 21:48:23

And even if it's not offensive, some things are much better not said or done. For reasons of courtesy or good taste. I think this particular blacking up thing comes under that category. Not very courteous and not in very good taste.

FierySmaug Thu 03-Jan-13 22:14:37

I hope I never come across an Italian dressed as an Englishman, complete with bowler hat and umbrella. Now that would be racist wouldn't it? I mean come on, after those pesky Romans came over here, forcibly recruited our native British men to fight for their empire, and then stayed to oppress us for 300 years..hmm

seeker Thu 03-Jan-13 22:17:49

To reprise an earlier post, god above, why are people so stupid!!!!!!!!!!!

JustAHolyFool Thu 03-Jan-13 22:21:43

FierySmaug there is no weight of history there. You're talking about stuff that happened thousands of years ago. There are still people who can't see anything but skin colour when they see someone who isn't white, which is why this is a problem.

JustAHolyFool Thu 03-Jan-13 22:22:33

seeker beats me, it really does.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 03-Jan-13 22:22:41

Fiery that quite simply isn't the same thing.

tittytittyhanghang Thu 03-Jan-13 22:26:22

There are still people who can't see anything but skin colour when they see someone who isn't white

And these are the people we should be handwringing about, not the people in the op.

ravenAK Thu 03-Jan-13 22:29:14

The Black & White Minstrel Show last aired in '78. I won't link, but I've just watched a couple of fairly jaw-dropping clips on youtube.

Bit more recent than the Roman Occupation of Britain.

JustAHolyFool Thu 03-Jan-13 22:30:17

You can be concerned about more than one group of people.

I find blacking up completely awful, and I don't know anyone who doesn't.

OldMacEIEIO Thu 03-Jan-13 22:33:32

I used to love the black and white minstrels. and george formby
and that little fat bloke...

whatsisname. mr pastry or summat

Charlie Drake. thats him

seeker Thu 03-Jan-13 22:34:39

Nobody's handwringing. The people described in the op were obviously a bit thick, and blacking the kid up was a bit tasteless and silly and it would have been much better not to do it.

What boggles me is people's insistence on their inalienable right as English people to be silly and tasteless and to do stupid things! Who was it said that nobody ever went bankrupt underestimating the public taste?

OldMacEIEIO Thu 03-Jan-13 22:41:44

We need a new O level in the curriculum

'Taking offence on someone elses behalf'

I was thinking of an A level or a bacalaureate, but thats probbly a stretch

JustAHolyFool Thu 03-Jan-13 22:43:00

So are you only offended by things that directly affect you then?

FierySmaug Thu 03-Jan-13 22:43:19

I'm afraid I just fail to see that a white person should be considered racist or offensive for blacking their face, on the basis that black people have been oppressed by white people through history. As long as it isn't done in a deliberately derogatory way, where's the real harm?
I'm from Cornwall where in Padstow, they have 'Mummers Day' or 'Darkie Day' which originates from a Pagan winter celebration and has nothing whatsoever to do with slaves or black people at all. But guess what, people have tried to ban it after wrongly speculating that it stems from slavery. I know this is going off point a bit, but it just makes me a bit hmm when people get offended on behalf of other people over something completely innocent - like a little boy dressing up as his hero.

JustAHolyFool Thu 03-Jan-13 22:46:53

Fiery it's been said over and over that the little boy is innocent in all this. No-one is disputing that.

I don't see what Mummers Day has to do with it, totally separate issue and nothing to do with this.

Again, do you only get offended by things that directly affect you? And how do you know what race people on this thread are? I know plenty of people, black, white, Asian who are offended by blacking up. To paint this as an issue that white people wring their hands over and black people don't care about is ludicrous.

sunshine401 Thu 03-Jan-13 22:47:20

People do need to get a grip like the op states . Agree smile

OldMacEIEIO Thu 03-Jan-13 22:50:14

if you want to be a busy-body, thats up to you. If you want to be a gossip and a nosey parker - carry on.
if you insist on being a holy fool - hey.

JustAHolyFool Thu 03-Jan-13 22:54:30

OldMac I don't tend to engage in discussion with people who choose to use personal insults as a discussion tactic. I prefer to argue the toss in an adult way.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 03-Jan-13 22:54:32

Fiery nobody has said the little is racist.

It's not simply about the fact that white people oppressed black people here,it's the fact they used "blacking up" to mock them.

The footballer in question was not offended. He is not every black person in world. The fact he wasn't offended doesn't mean other won't have been. Some gay men are fine being called a poof by friends,doesn't mean all are okay with it. It's not that hard to work out really.

sunshine401 Thu 03-Jan-13 22:54:33

OldMacEIEIO - Who are you posting to?

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 03-Jan-13 22:54:55

*little boy.

JustAHolyFool Thu 03-Jan-13 22:55:56

PS - do you even know the meaning of "holy fool"? It would seem not. I suggest you look it up before attempting to use it as an insult.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 03-Jan-13 22:56:03

I give up with my phone. It exists purely to smite me.

FierySmaug Thu 03-Jan-13 23:00:57

The point of bringing up Mummers Day is that everyone blacks their faces, and of course, somebody somewhere gets offended by it.
Do you think it's distasteful for a black person to whiten their faces? What about the film 'White Chicks'? Two black men dressed up as white girls for the purposes of entertainment. I'm white and am not remotely offended by that.

seeker Thu 03-Jan-13 23:01:28

I bet you've got lots of black friends, and you call them "nigger" and they call you "whitey" and you all have a good laugh together about it, don't you?

sunshine401 Thu 03-Jan-13 23:02:51

it's the fact they used "blacking up" to mock them.

PLEASE note the word USED! This is thankfully not the world we live in now.
There are always going to be stupid people who seem to think they are better because they are white , straight , thin , tall and whatever else.
When it comes to a young child who has a hero and wants to be like them. In my eyes this proves a step up the ladder of today's world. This poor lad has been slatted and insulted at such a young age and for what ? For wanting to be like his hero. Such a shame.

OldMacEIEIO Thu 03-Jan-13 23:06:52

holyfool - you are not very bright - you jump to a lot of conclusions based on very little evidence

Alis is equally hampered.

get it into your heads - the black guy was not insulted.
do not spend the rest of your energy looking for someone else, somewhere in the world who might have been insulted if something similar might have been said to them in a similar vein on a similar day.

FierySmaug Thu 03-Jan-13 23:08:13

Alisvolatpropiis Not every white person who blacks their face does so to mock black people.

JustAHolyFool Thu 03-Jan-13 23:08:19

Again, Fiery, I don't get what Mummers day has to do with this issue. You've just said it has nothing to do with trying to look like a black person, so it has nothing to do with this issue.

Black people have never been in a position of power over white people. It is not the same thing.

Whether or not you are personally offended by an issue is also not really important.

FreudiansSlipper Thu 03-Jan-13 23:08:45

and sadly blacking up is still seen as entertainment by some look to austalia's got talent

HollyBerryBush Thu 03-Jan-13 23:13:31

Black people have never been in a position of power over white people. It is not the same thing.

You should read giles Milton, "White Gold" - about the slave trade - that would be the North African trade in white people .....

""This is the forgotten story of the million white Europeans, snatched from their homes and taken in chains to the great slave markets of North Africa to be sold to the highest bidder. Ignored by their own governments, and forced to endure the harshest of conditions, very few lived to tell the tale.

Using the firsthand testimony of a Cornish cabin boy named Thomas Pellow, Giles Milton vividly reconstructs a disturbing, little known chapter of history. Pellow was bought by the tyrannical sultan of Morocco who was constructing an imperial pleasure palace of enormous scale and grandeur, built entirely by Christian slave labour""

The Barbery Pirates went up as far as Scandanavia - and Cornwall and the south coast of the UK was a very popular place to get your slaves from, by coastal raiding.

sunshine401 Thu 03-Jan-13 23:13:58

grin

If I may pop up I am in a position of power in my job !
shock

FierySmaug Thu 03-Jan-13 23:17:35

The point of bringing up mummers day is that people black their faces for it. Even though it's not to emulate black people, some ignorant people think that is exactly what it is, and get offended by it. People should just stop getting offended on behalf of other people.

JustAHolyFool Thu 03-Jan-13 23:19:32

Fiery, that is a total logical fallacy.

Some people are offended by one thing does not equal no one should be offended by anything.

HollyBerry, while that is a very sad tale, I doubt anyone would disagree that historically, white people have had vastly more power than non-white people throughout the world for long periods of history.

OldMacEIEIO Thu 03-Jan-13 23:20:26

well said hollyberrybush

some facts and perspective

seeker Thu 03-Jan-13 23:25:04

Let's just get this straight. Are people saying that there is no racism in Britain today and never has been? And that slavery affected white people just as much as black people?

HollyBerryBush Thu 03-Jan-13 23:26:39

We also skate over that the black slave trade was facilitated in the main by blacks, capturing and selling on other tribe members. A large part of North Africa still uses this practice.

OldMacEIEIO Thu 03-Jan-13 23:27:52

Seeker - good attempt at re framing the debate.

which is

To think 'blacking up' isn't necessarily racist

tittytittyhanghang Thu 03-Jan-13 23:30:06

Are people saying that there is no racism in Britain today and never has been? And that slavery affected white people just as much as black people?

Thats not what i've read, not at all.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Thu 03-Jan-13 23:30:16

I think that probably the reason the boy's parents thought this was OK and didn't consider the possiblity of others seeing racist connotations in it was down to the difference between dressing up as a known individual you admire and dressing up as a stereotype of another race. I think it's fairly likely that other non-Afro-Carribean people have dressed themselves or their DC up as Will.I. Am/Mo Farah/Lenny Henry from time to time and used facepaint as part of the outfit, without having been caught in the act by someone who wanted to start a shitstorm.

And as a general rule I think that going beserk at people who have made a well-intentioned blunder or been a bit thoughtless or poorly informed is a really crap way to promote greater tolerance and understanding. It makes the squawkers feel all good and smug and politically correct and righteous, makes the person who did whatever feel silly and humiliated and angry and sad - and quite often makes members of the group allegedly 'insulted' by whatever it was feel patronized and alienated.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 03-Jan-13 23:33:24

There is history of the people of Russia enslaving Welsh people. Welsh in old English means foreign. Wales means foreign land. We are talking the 9th century.

I'm sorry but the above mentioned bears now relevance to the very recent "blacking up" to mock black people. None.

The little boy isn't racist. His parents should have thought about it a bit more. Everyone knows "blacking up" isn't acceptable. Surely?

JustAHolyFool Thu 03-Jan-13 23:33:59

I haven't seen anyone go berserk here SolidGold

I also think this focus on the slave trade on this thread is a bit odd: yes, there was slavery in the UK, but that is not the only form that racism takes and it is not the only form of power.

OldMacEIEIO Thu 03-Jan-13 23:35:31

solid gold

I think the first half of your post was good
the second half was very good

imo

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 03-Jan-13 23:35:35

*the people of Russia meaning the people who lived in that area before it was actually Russia in the state sense.

FierySmaug Thu 03-Jan-13 23:37:26

Are you directly affected by white people blacking their faces? If not, why get offended on behalf of black people who might be offended because they are black?
I didn't say that no one should be offended by anything, just that it's bloody irritating when people get offended on behalf of other people, who may not even be offended themselves. Iykwim?
It's a bit late for debate, I'm going to bed, my grammar is suffering now.

manicinsomniac Thu 03-Jan-13 23:42:41

YANBU at all

If you are going to dress up as someone you need to look like them.

I've painted my face (and neck, hands arms and feet) black before for a production of To Kill A Mockingbird. I went to an all white school. You can't effectively put on a play like that without a racially mixed cast. It wasn't racist, it was just a costume.

I find it bizarre that anybody could find this offensive.

seeker Thu 03-Jan-13 23:44:51

Had anyone "gone berserk" you might have had a point.

But they haven't. They have said that it was thoughtless and in poor taste and probably shouldn't have been done. Not really the same thing at all.

And then bizarrely, people started posting about the Arab slave trade in the 17th century to show that black people have been in positions of power over white people. Presumably saying that blacking up's therefore fine. Very odd.

JustAHolyFool Thu 03-Jan-13 23:45:40

No FierySmaug and I'm not directly affected by paedophilia either, but that still offends me.

Like I said, I know plenty of black people who are offended by blacking up. So I don't see your point.

HollyBerryBush Thu 03-Jan-13 23:51:41

And then bizarrely, people started posting about the Arab slave trade in the 17th century to show that black people have been in positions of power over white people. Presumably saying that blacking up's therefore fine. Very odd.

I am not people, I am an individual. I've yet to morph.

I was putting a counter point - this is called discussion and exchange of information - to the statement made 'black people have never had power over white people'

I'm sorry you couldnt follow the logical progression of discussion, i will try and simplify next time

Meanwhile back in reality - a little boy dressed up as his hero - he did not dress up as the whole African/West Indian/Aboriginal races. Some people cant grasp that concept. Fortunately El Hadji Diouf did.

FierySmaug Thu 03-Jan-13 23:59:25

Comparing pedophilia to people blacking up their faces? Not even approaching the same kind of 'offensive' is it?
And anyone, white or black, who is offended by people blacking up their faces in a non-derogatory way, should find a hobby.

seeker Fri 04-Jan-13 00:02:25

I could be wrong, but I think the slave taking you are talking about was controlled by the Ottoman empire- Barbary pirates raided costal areas everywhere within striking distance- including, on occasion, Britain. They also took lots of slaves from Africa. All this predated the European slave trade by a coupl of centuries, and was largely controlled by middle eastern Muslim countries, rather than black Africans. IIRC.

JustAHolyFool Fri 04-Jan-13 00:03:37

I didn't compare the two. Comparing would be "blacking up is as bad/not as bad/the same as paedophilia". I said that blacking up doesn't affect me and paedophilia doesn't affect me, and yet they both offend me. That is not the same as comparing.

I have plenty of hobbies. They don't stop me finding the time to be offended by things, weirdly enough.

HollyBerryBush Fri 04-Jan-13 00:06:38

I'll argue the toss - last time I looked, North Africa was infact in ummm Africa:


The Barbary pirates, sometimes called Barbary corsairs or Ottoman corsairs, were pirates and privateers who operated from North Africa, based primarily in the ports of Tunis, Tripoli and Algiers. This area was known in Europe as the Barbary Coast, a term derived from the name of its Berber inhabitants. Their predation extended throughout the Mediterranean, south along West Africa's Atlantic seaboard and even South America,[1] and into the North Atlantic as far north as Iceland, but they primarily operated in the western Mediterranean. In addition to seizing ships, they engaged in Razzias, raids on European coastal towns and villages, mainly in Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal, but also in the British Isles, the Netherlands and as far away as Iceland. The main purpose of their attacks was to capture Christian slaves for the Islamic market in North Africa and the Middle East.[2]

caramelwaffle Fri 04-Jan-13 00:09:14

There are many people who are not white who would not see this as the least bit racist but others who refuse to hear this, or see this; as Solid says, patronising.

I personally say - ultra patronising: always is in debates like this.

OldMacEIEIO Fri 04-Jan-13 00:14:03

Holyfool need to check up the word Sanctimonious.

Placing herself on a high pedastal
impossible to disagree or argue with her

it's not clever Holyfool. in fact, any fool can do it

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 04-Jan-13 00:14:38

Fiery white people in the 20th century blacked up to mock black people.

Why is it so hard to grap that some black people might be offended?

As I have previously said,nobody has the little boy is racist,rather his parents did not think about their actions.

I think Beyonce is gorgeous. Would I,as white women "black up" to initiate her? No,no I would not.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Fri 04-Jan-13 00:18:46

Seeker: I wasn't referring specifically to this thread.

JustAHolyFool Fri 04-Jan-13 00:28:16

caramel and again, there are many who would see this as offensive. So what is your point? That as a white person I am not allowed to say anything about black issues? Because that, to me, is far more patronising to black people.

Hobbitation Fri 04-Jan-13 00:30:48

Surely the whole point is that El Hadji Djouf thought it was great. It isn't really anyone else's business.

FierySmaug Fri 04-Jan-13 00:35:46

Just because white people in the 20th century have blacked up specifically to mock black people, it doesn't mean that everyone who blacks up does it to deliberately offend or mock.
I'm English. The English oppressed the Scots over centuries. Would it be highly offensive for me to dress in a kilt and a ginger wig as a Scottish person? Perhaps for a fancy dress party? How about dressing as a welsh person? Didn't we oppress them too?

JustAHolyFool Fri 04-Jan-13 00:43:31

Fiery As a Scottish person, yes, the ginger wig thing and the idea that we all wear kilts is fucking irritating. I would be offended if an English person wore those things.

Nancy66 Fri 04-Jan-13 00:44:29

it's insensitive and you'd have to be a bit bloody thick not to see it.

caramelwaffle Fri 04-Jan-13 00:49:41

Just See I don't know if you did it on purpose, however you have just given a really good example of what I am talking about: a self confessed white woman talking to someone like me, to make up a statement that would seemingly be attributed to me (trying to put words in my mouth) - for me to rebut. There simply is no need for me to rebut your statement.

Also - not everyone who is non-white is black; yet some people who are white seem hellbent on being the mouthpieces of those people also. I find it patronising.

JustAHolyFool Fri 04-Jan-13 00:52:14

caramel I really don't get what you are saying, could you explain please?

Also, not sure what "self-confessed white woman" is supposed to mean. Why should I "confess" to being white? Seems an odd choice of words. I'm not ashamed of being white.

caramelwaffle Fri 04-Jan-13 00:53:42

Simply that you stated you are white. And no, there is no need to be ashamed of that.

ComposHat Fri 04-Jan-13 01:08:56

I think that probably the reason the boy's parents thought this was OK and didn't consider the possiblity of others seeing racist connotations in it was down to the difference between dressing up as a known individual you admire and dressing up as a stereotype of another race. I think it's fairly likely that other non-Afro-Carribean people have dressed themselves or their DC up as Will.I. Am/Mo Farah/Lenny Henry from time to time and used facepaint as part of the outfit, without having been caught in the act by someone who wanted to start a shitstorm

And as a general rule I think that going beserk at people who have made a well-intentioned blunder or been a bit thoughtless or poorly informed is a really crap way to promote greater tolerance and understanding. It makes the squawkers feel all good and smug and politically correct and righteous, makes the person who did whatever feel silly and humiliated and angry and sad - and quite often makes members of the group allegedly 'insulted' by whatever it was feel patronized and alienated

Agree with every word written! Well argued solidgold I think the comparison with what this lad and his parents did emulating a specific person who happened to be black and with black-face and or getting dressed up as a sterotype of another race is incredibly dimwitted or down right mischief making.

FierySmaug Fri 04-Jan-13 01:09:46

Holyfool - Perhaps you're just more sensitive than me then. I've seen an American dressed as an Englishman, complete with stereotypical tweed jacket, (attempting) a posh accent, wearing a monacle and grasping a cricket bat. I actually thought it was quite funny. Didn't enter my mind to get offended about it.

JustAHolyFool Fri 04-Jan-13 01:11:46

Er, I think the Americans mocking the English is a bit different to the English mocking the Scots, isn't it?

FierySmaug Fri 04-Jan-13 01:15:52

Are you actually serious? So the Americans can mock the English, but the English can't mock the Scottish?

JustAHolyFool Fri 04-Jan-13 01:20:08

Anyone can mock anyone they like, honestly. I'm going to bed. Why don't we all celebrate the fact that it's Friday by blacking up, wearing a jimmy wig and doing that eye thing that non-racists do to denote Chineseness.

Woop de woooop. Good night all.

FierySmaug Fri 04-Jan-13 01:22:00

Fabulous idea. Good night.

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 04-Jan-13 01:23:07

Fiery you ignored the Welsh. The English did all sorts to prevent the Welsh language being spoken.

It's still not relevant.

FierySmaug Fri 04-Jan-13 01:29:03

We English were so bad weren't we? We really should spend eternity apologising for the terrible things our ancestors did hundreds of years ago shouldn't we?
Or not.

BigSpork Fri 04-Jan-13 01:37:27

I don't see a situation where "blacking up" is right. There isn't a good reason to blackface, yellowface, brownface, or redface. Skin colour isn't a costume, an ethnicity isn't a costume, some cultural, particularly sacred, clothes are not costumes. There are plenty of ways to dress up without those - doing so reduces people to those features, and reduces important qualities (in people and in cultures) to 'a bit of fun' which shouldn't happen.

I find it odd that many people seem more concerned about the discomfort it causes them to be accused of being a racist than the pain of those being oppressed by racism. As if being accused of messing up (and everyone's does sooner or later, particularly in a society built on and continuously benefits from oppression) is somehow worse than the acts of racism/oppression themselves.

The guilt thing is lame. No one is asking white people to feel guilty. No one asks men to feel guilty. No one asks able-bodied people to feel guilty. No one asks cis people to feel guilty. No one asks heterosexual people to feel guilty. And so on. Because feeling guilty doesn't do anything, it does not help.

I do ask people to apologise when they mess up rather than make excuses - we're human in screwed up society, it's gonna happen. Listen, do research from the many free valid sources on the internet from people from these groups who want to educate (those who want to, not everyone does, don't ask random people) as well as many good books and educate yourself (schools don't teach this kind of thing well right now if at all neither does the popular media), educate/speak out/question your own people when they say crap. Use the power position to help those who don't have it and try to minimize the oppression others have to go through, don't add to the weight.

I've smile and nodded through many offensive actions towards me, it comes with the territory of living in this society - I can't win: I go along with it and I'm used as an example of what everyone 'like me' thinks, speak against it and I'm an example of a bad over sensitive one, not the norm. I get no clout unless someone else (white) speaks with me. This happens, today. People are harassed, abused, degraded, and treated as less than, today. The often quoted 'women make X on what a man earn' is only discussing white women, it gets worse beyond that. People are killed for their skin colour and the association with it, today. Speaking about these things as if they are all in the past invalidates and ignores the pain people go through, today, and prevents recognising and fixing the problem tomorrow (can't fix what you can't see).

And because it is of interest, the Depp thing, He said his great grandmother was "Creek or Cherokee or something". It was a vague throwaway comment in an interview, he not a part of either of those nations or is there any evidence of it (he was adopted by one part of the Comanche nation after he got the part but that's highly controversial as held by the NDN media). He could have used his considerable Hollywood clout to get often overlooked Native Americans actors into the part or to actually use actual Comanche attire rather than a white man's inspired painting that's more a caricature than anything connected to a real Indigenous nations; however, after what happened to Marlon Brando I'm not surprised. We've also got Cloud Atlas choosing to spend ridiculous amounts of money to CGI yellowface White faces into Pacific Asian rather than pay Asian actors. Representation is important, it's been shown that people make a lot of assumptions of people from their media representations and people make assumptions about what can be from what they see up there...which is why media has been shown to lower the self esteem of every group but white boys. And people think there isn't a problem today.

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 04-Jan-13 02:42:25

Fiery are you deliberately being obtuse or are you just ignorant?

PiccadillyCervix Fri 04-Jan-13 03:25:30

sport, and very well said

PiccadillyCervix Fri 04-Jan-13 03:25:48

spork

seeker Fri 04-Jan-13 07:40:45

Hollyberrybush- as your c&p says, the Barbary corsairs operated out of, among other places, parts of north Africa. But at the time, those places were part of the Ottoman empire-a sort of superstate that covered a huge amount of territory, reaching almost as far as what is now Austria. It's misleading to refer to them as Africans. Particularly when discussing slavery. The vast majority of black slaves bought and sold in Europe and America were from West Africa.

So it's not quite right to say that there have been times when black people have had power over white people by referring to the 16th/17th century Ottoman slave trade. Interesting and underdiscussed though it is.

FamilyGuy22 Fri 04-Jan-13 09:50:54

Has anyone actually considered that it might be an insult to people's intelligence/character to assume that they would get offended by something like this?

theodorakisses Fri 04-Jan-13 09:54:10

As usual, the reader comments are far more offensive than anything else.

theodorakisses Fri 04-Jan-13 10:00:31

The little boy isn't racist. Football is. I am white and have experienced some prejudice in the countries I have lived in, the assumptions made about a white western woman, even a plump, middle aged married one caused me a lot of distress. Surely this parents action is inappropriate at best and I personally was deeply shocked by some of the vile Nazi racism reported recently and wouldn't want to give them anything else to hate.

Fabuloo Fri 04-Jan-13 10:51:57

*seeker
Nobody's handwringing. The people described in the op were obviously a bit thick, and blacking the kid up was a bit tasteless and silly and it would have been much better not to do it*

For someone who doesn't want to cause offensive, I would say this is an offensive comment, I think the word thick is pretty offensive.

Fabuloo Fri 04-Jan-13 10:53:41

FamilyGuy22 - exactly, it is incredibly patrionising.

JustAHolyFool Fri 04-Jan-13 11:19:15

I'm not assuming anyone else would be offended. I am offended. Other people can be offended as they like. I am talking about MY reaction, no-one else's.

BigSpork has explained my feelings exactly.

Blistory Fri 04-Jan-13 11:30:44

Are you actually serious? So the Americans can mock the English, but the English can't mock the Scottish?

Absolutely. The Americans have never had power over the Scots but the English have so it IS more offensive when an English person does it.

Why is it so hard to understand that the balance of power affects the dynamics so much ?

Men/Women
Whites/Blacks
Able bodied/disabled

etc etc

seeker Fri 04-Jan-13 11:37:33

Really? If somebody does or says something that indicates that they are a bit thick it's not offensive to say it!

Fabuloo Fri 04-Jan-13 12:09:22

seeker - I imagine they would certainly feel offended at being called 'thick'.

JustAHolyFool Fri 04-Jan-13 12:36:00

Fabuloo, do you honestly think that being offended that someone calls you thick is the same as being offended that someone is being racist?

Really?

theodorakisses Fri 04-Jan-13 13:36:45

There is a big difference between, for example, French people taking the piss out of us or the Americans laughing at our teeth and people in a football crowd targeting black players, making Nazi salutes and the other vile gestures. An English child is unlikely to be bullied by his French or American peers, children who are currently being raised on images of racist bullying that is not to account are more likely to beat up or bully a black child in England, even in this day and age.

tittytittyhanghang Fri 04-Jan-13 13:56:58

I have thought about this some more and came to the conclusion that some people get more offended than others, and as someone who is not so offended, tbh, I dont see the point in telling the offended why I think they are wrong, if they feel offended, then every emotion is valid blah blah blah and so be it. Im just glad i can tell the difference between actions/words that are racist (in the sense that they are prejudiced/bigotted/nasty etc) and those that are not. Imo there are actions/words that fall into both these categories and usually have to be looked at in context.

Where i do get a bit hmm is where those offended self appoint themselves as some sort of world moderator. If you dont like the use of certain words/actions then dont use them and you'd be within your right to ask other people not to use them in your company because they offend you. I cant stand it when those on the offence try to clamp down on the (accepted) use by everyone else though.

I think of it a bit like people who find meat/animal skin extremely offensive. Fair dos if thats what you believe but don't try to stop me eating/wearing what i want.

Jins Fri 04-Jan-13 14:00:09

I agree with tittytittyhanghang to some extent. I make no pretence of being a world moderator. I try to behave in a way that will not offend. If someone else wishes to use terminology or behave in a way that will or may cause offence then that is their choice and they will be judged accordingly.

Or thumped

Either works for me

JustAHolyFool Fri 04-Jan-13 14:03:57

I don't really get that argument. So if someone says the word "nigger" or "paki" in your company, you don't say anything?

I'd hope men would say something if someone says women deserve to be raped if they're wearing a short skirt. In the same way, if someone says "paki", I will tell them that a lot of people don't like that word and that it makes them sound racist.

PiccadillyCervix Fri 04-Jan-13 14:05:33

I cant stand it when those on the offence try to clamp down on the (accepted) use by everyone else though

See this is the problem, you seem to think black face is acceptable by the rest of the world. It really really isn't. It's almost always considered racist. You can try and rationalize all you like, but I genuinely don't think most people on this thread would walk in to predominately black area with black face on. Because they know it probably wouldn't go down well.

gonna leave this thread now

Jins Fri 04-Jan-13 14:07:17

No I would speak up but I'd always be hoping that someone else spoke up who was less polite than I am

HoHoHoNoYouDont Fri 04-Jan-13 14:10:39

Good post titty

JustAHolyFool Fri 04-Jan-13 14:11:19

Well you've just totally contradicted yourself then Jins because in your last post you said that you let people say what they wanted without comment.

There is nothing polite about accepting racist language.

tittytittyhanghang Fri 04-Jan-13 14:14:23

I don't really get that argument. So if someone says the word "nigger" or "paki" in your company, you don't say anything?

Well it depends if they were using it in a derogatory manner or not. I don't think its that hard to tell the difference.

Jins Fri 04-Jan-13 14:15:51

Yeah I know. I'm not doing well with words generally today. sad

I do generally speak up. If someone is being a complete arse like many on this thread then I leave them as long as possible so everyone can see what an arse they are.

Proudnscaryvirginmary Fri 04-Jan-13 14:16:27

Was that a joke titty? How can you say the word nigger in a non derogatory manner?

JustAHolyFool Fri 04-Jan-13 14:17:17

Well it depends if they were using it in a derogatory manner or not. I don't think its that hard to tell the difference.

I'm struggling to find an example of someone using either of those words in a manner that isn't derogatory really. In any case, it is reducing someone to the facts of their race and nothing more.

I'm not talking about examples of black people reclaiming the word "nigger". That's something completely different in my view and a far more complicated issue than the one we're talking about here.

PiccadillyCervix Fri 04-Jan-13 14:31:37

justaholyfool

I guess titty means the OK uses like pakishop or going for a chinky hmm

seeker Fri 04-Jan-13 14:36:12

HolyFool- don't forget that racists almost always have loads of black friends who don't mind a bit if they are called "nigger" in affectionate tones. Oh, and remember Prince Harry's "little Paki friend". He laughed like anything every time he was called that, because he's got a sense of humour, unlike us po faced, kill joy guardianistas.

DreamingOfTheMaldives Fri 04-Jan-13 14:57:34

*Solidgold - I think that probably the reason the boy's parents thought this was OK and didn't consider the possiblity of others seeing racist connotations in it was down to the difference between dressing up as a known individual you admire and dressing up as a stereotype of another race. I think it's fairly likely that other non-Afro-Carribean people have dressed themselves or their DC up as Will.I. Am/Mo Farah/Lenny Henry from time to time and used facepaint as part of the outfit, without having been caught in the act by someone who wanted to start a shitstorm

And as a general rule I think that going beserk at people who have made a well-intentioned blunder or been a bit thoughtless or poorly informed is a really crap way to promote greater tolerance and understanding. It makes the squawkers feel all good and smug and politically correct and righteous, makes the person who did whatever feel silly and humiliated and angry and sad - and quite often makes members of the group allegedly 'insulted' by whatever it was feel patronized and alienated*

Composhat - Agree with every word written! Well argued solidgold I think the comparison with what this lad and his parents did emulating a specific person who happened to be black and with black-face and or getting dressed up as a sterotype of another race is incredibly dimwitted or down right mischief making.

I completely agree with you both Solidgold and Composhat

BigSpork Fri 04-Jan-13 19:57:14

I think the issue in these types of conversations is how the concept of racism/being racist is perceived.

It is commonly portrayed in white media and by white people as a conscious purposeful act, like murder, something done to someone, an individual act to hurt or be offended by or not. This is reductive, ignoring how institutional and ingrained it is within our society, ignoring how it tinges our reality and our perception of it. This article by resistracism fleshes out this idea better.

It's similar to sexism - as a woman it is easy to see the old boy's network that prevents access, the constant micro aggression against myself as a person, the disturbing representations in the media, the violence which is accepted in the media and by society, the concerns/thoughts/plans for my safety that men do not have to deal with, the treatment of my words as not as human as a man's. I've pointed it out to many men who completely miss it until it is pointed out - it's not a part of their mental framework.

It's the same here with racism (or xenophobia, or heterosexism, or cisexism, or ableism, pick an oppression dynamic), there is a historical network preventing accessing, safety concerns that others do not have to deal with, the treatment as less than human, issues with representation in media and elsewhere (repeated studies show that people believe fictional representations even more than non-fictional ones, in the latter people are more on their guard), and continuously grating micro aggression that wear people down, on top of the violence and what is normally seen as "racist" actions. I've had to point it out to white friends, and my white partner, who would never have noticed it, it isn't part of the framework and it's emphasised in an education system which boosts white (mostly male) achievements and whitewashes and ignores the achievements of other groups. It's dehumanizing from the big to the small, reinforcing the system. That is what "blacking up" is, it is reinforcing the system that allows this.

The news and governments and NGOs add to it. There was a sad article recently interviewing Congolese women discussing how they had to emphasis their rape statistics because that's what aid groups wanted to hear and what gave them access to aid, discussing a lack of representation and power - which leads to the dehumanisation that leads to rape - or social preventions doesn't get them anything. It's sad that they have to play the system/stereotype to get white agencies and governments to help because they are too blind in thinking they are good to see the racism that they are reinforcing and forcing others to reinforce for them.

sunshine401 Sat 05-Jan-13 21:14:16

Absolutely. The Americans have never had power over the Scots but the English have so it IS more offensive when an English person does it.

I am a Black British citizen my parents are African who moved to the UK about 4 years before the birth of my older brother. The above statement is ridiculous on all accounts no one has any right to offend anyone because of race. Regardless of what has happened in the past to their own race/gender.
I have no right to be more offended by someone calling me a so and so black blah , then a white person being offended by me calling them a so and so white blah.
It is about the times we live in now not what our previous generations have done to harm others race.
Again though in this situation I do not find it at all racist. Its way to blown out of proportion. It is a young child being like his hero nothing more to it.

creighton Sat 05-Jan-13 23:12:45

''It is about the times we live in now not what our previous generations have done to harm others race.''

we are still affected today by what previous generations did to other races/people. for anyone to say this is not true is wrong. the way people are perceived now is still affected by what happened in the past.

seeker Sun 06-Jan-13 00:04:02

I agree with living in now too. that means treating other people with respect, and avoiding blacking up if at all possible.

Pendeen Sun 06-Jan-13 00:29:06

"I do ask people to apologise when they mess up rather than make excuses"

That's very generous of you..

How can you explain when someone has "messed up" and how do you decide if it's an excuse or an explanation? Why is your opinion so superior?

There are no absolutes.

Different perspectives and to a large extent, different experiences.

Someone from an urban, mixed race area such as London or Birmingham would find their views were regarded as completely alien in a remote, rural environment.

(Yes I am irritated by attitudes such as yours).

BigSpork Sun 06-Jan-13 00:49:27

Living in the now (or at least within the last year):

The British Home Office took 14 weeks to get a Black British citizen home from Syria even they knew he was undergoing torture. There have been repeated cases that show the Home Office does far more for White British citizens abroad and working for White Brits here on cases with other countries than it does for other groups. We have members of the Met being shown on recording to be racially and physically abusing. The stats and studies for racism within the police , who are meant to protect everyone, are stomach churning

The often quoted pay gap is only referring to White people. Black and South East Asians earn considerably less with Chinese (and likely other Pacific Asians) Women earning the least of all. This PDF has helpful information on it with tables close to the end with easy to read data points.

Africa's resources are being grabbed again by multinationals backed by their governments and the amount one company avoids in tax each year is more than the aid to that country from other governments (most aid to African countries comes from other African countries). The IMF's policy towards African countries is strangling them, their own economists tell them so, but the current policy makes White countries more money. It's continuing the power dynamic by going on about how we live in the now rather than the past, but when the current is a continuation of it, even when farther behind the scenes than before, it still causes a major problem,. Another major problem is the media representation which only goes on about the poverty and hunger (when from 1990-2000 only 3/10ths of 1% were affected by famine) and corruption regardless of our own corruption or how out governments feed it. The media'#s continuous portrayals affect perceptive and this affects how people are treated today. Colonialism causes a lot of financial and personal pain even without getting into neo-colonial issues.

As the world leaders and the source of a lot of our media, the US is an important place to look at as well. Every 36 hours a Black person is killed in the US by a police officer or other authority figure and every 40 hours one dies from these wounds. This has included Black children sleeping in their beds and unarmed innocent man having 90 shots fired at him. The much talked about "stand your ground" laws only apply if you are white passing, all other cases have failed and more severely punished. What many don't know is that in 13th amendment preventing slavery in the States makes exceptions for those convicted of a crime, just after it was ratified it was very common for Black people and Indigenous people to be convicted for random stuff to use them as slaves, and although America doesn't allow known slave/prison made objects to be imported pretty much all non-weapon military and many other household components are made by prison labour. The prison system in the States is designed to use non-white people as slave labour, it makes a lot of money. And no one is standing up to them doing it and this mentality flows into their media representations which is why TV/movies have been shown to lower the self esteem of everyone but white boys.

Repeating myself: People are harassed, abused, degraded, and treated as less than, today... People are killed for their skin colour and the association with it, today (a man was pushed off of a train platform because of his skin colour, the woman thought it was okay because it's alright to hate anyone South East Asian or Arabic looking because of terrorism). Speaking about these things as if they are all in the past invalidates and ignores the pain people go through, today, and prevents recognising and fixing the problem tomorrow (can't fix what you can't see).

HoHoHoNoYouDont Sun 06-Jan-13 00:55:59

FFS can't believe this one is still going.

<<wanders off to watch paint dry>>

BigSpork Sun 06-Jan-13 01:02:10

Pendeen: If an individual tells you that you have messed up and caused them pain, you have messed up and caused them pain. It won't be the same for everyone, no one has the same dynamics and every group is made up of individuals, but if you hurt someone, you apologise - not go "well, so-and-so doesn't see the problem with it/prefers to be called X so I don't see why you have an issue/want to be called Y" or "That's not really important compared to...". You mess up, you apologise for hurting someone, kids can get this but adults make so many excuses and defensive barriers as if the discomfort and irritation of being called out on how the racist ideas of society have affected you is somehow worse than the actions of racism, like blacking up, which are triggering and distressing to a lot of people. Why would you want 5to do something known to be triggering with its previous and current usage to hurt people. Minimise the pain and burden, our own wants and desires to do something shouldn't come before someone's pain.

JustAHolyFool Sun 06-Jan-13 01:38:52

HoHoHoNoYouDont if people are interested in talking about it, why shouldn't they? It seems a little mean-spirited to suggest that it's boring to do that.

wigornian Mon 07-Jan-13 14:34:50

seeker how very patronising. Get over yourself, am actually a pretty intelligent person, and know quite a bit about history, actually. I just do not find black, or white dolls offensive - and lots of sensible people agree with me. You'd no doubt be scandalised to hear that I bought the Gollywogs at our local sub-post office. To be honst, the attitude you display offends me more than any mindless racist ranting.

Please do not presume to tell me how I should feel, and then imply that if I do not feel like that, that I must be ignorant!

Pendeen Mon 07-Jan-13 15:49:47

BigSpork that is not necessarily the case.

My point about regional as well as personal perspective is probably more relevant to your contention.

BigSpork Tue 08-Jan-13 12:50:47

What is not necessarily the case?

Regions are made of people who should adapt and challenge their thinking and have their thinking challenged if we are ever going to improve things. If someone said or did something hurtful to me, no matter where I am, I don't learn that this is what acceptable there, I just learn not to trust them or that area. Just like I don't use one of the local park during the school run and holidays because of the xenophobic crap that has happened to me and my children so often during those times. Just like I don't sit outside on the benches of the community hall when my daughter is in GirlGuides because every time I have men have shouted at me from cars. Neither of those are acceptable behaviours, no matter where you are, but I have to change myself to suit oppressors to protect myself and my kids. So if someone in my circle does or says something hurtful, I will call them out on it and expect them to apologise and learn (or I learn not to trust them), because I don't want them going and hurting someone else and claim ignorance or treat my silence as acceptance and use me as a excuse to do hurtful things. Because that crap happens.

There is a difference between someone making a mistake like in this story and those who do these things actively knowing the harm and contributing to the generalizing and stereotypes that get us harassed, abused, and killed. That is an absolute - people kill other people because of the stereotypes and generalizations that they prove in their head and the media feeds that. The difference between a mistake and someone who doesn't see the problem is hurting others they see as less than human is easy to see because the former is willing to apologise and listen and the other will never listen and play 'it's not me, it's them' bingo - they all say variation of the same stuff which is helpful in learning how to avoid and who not to trust.

MrsBethel Tue 08-Jan-13 14:24:56

OP: YANBU

This clearly isn't racist. It's affectionate. The boy's enjoying playing at being his hero. El Hadji Diouf looks happy. What's the problem? (There isn't one.)

If anything, the nay-sayers are bring racist in making such a big deal about it.

Pendeen Wed 09-Jan-13 09:34:43

There are significant differences between urban areas and small rural communities and if you don't understand then the debate has probably run it's course.

StuntGirl Wed 09-Jan-13 10:10:52

To reference a point that has been made several times - Native Americans generally consider it racist and offensive when others dress up as them. It's called cultural appropriation. So yes, to everyone who has said "So if I dress up as a Native American is that racist too?" Yes, yes it is.

MrsBethel Wed 09-Jan-13 11:13:10

""So if I dress up as a Native American is that racist too?" Yes, yes it is."

If someone is doing it specifically to cause offence, then that is racist.

Otherwise, I don't think it is. Your Native American won't see the costume and think "bastard racist, they clearly hate my people".

If you accidentally keep your shoes on in the wrong room, shake hands with your leftie, offer the wrong sandwich fillings, or whatever, it doesn't make you a racist.

StuntGirl Wed 09-Jan-13 11:28:38

Now while obviously no one person can speak for an entire race/culture/sex/religion I have to disagree with your above statement. Some may not, but many do.

MrsBethel Wed 09-Jan-13 11:34:48

Well, granted, you'll always get some nutjobs from all walks of life.

JustAHolyFool Wed 09-Jan-13 11:56:06

So when someone says something offends them they are "a nutjob"?

When Scotland is reduced to a kilt and a jimmy hat, it pisses me off. A lot.

StuntGirl Wed 09-Jan-13 12:10:21

Well, granted, you'll always get some nutjobs from all walks of life.

That is a horribly dismissive statement to someone's perfectly valid feelings of suffering racial oppression.

Besides, she's not the only one.

JustAHolyFool Wed 09-Jan-13 12:16:38

Also, I'd love to know how I'm being racist by not condoning blacking up.

MrsBethel Wed 09-Jan-13 12:19:17

Read it again.

If they think "bastard racist, they clearly hate my people", then they are most likely a nutjob, yes.

I'd probably be a bit offended, but I'd have sufficient empathy not to react like an absolute dick.

JustAHolyFool Wed 09-Jan-13 12:25:38

I don't see anywhere in that blog that the writer is saying "bastard racist they clearly hate my people."

In fact, I'd say she's remarkably calm, considering.

MrsBethel Wed 09-Jan-13 12:27:21

What blog?

MrsBethel Wed 09-Jan-13 12:31:23

Read it again. All I said was that if a someone looks at a bit of Village-People-type fancy dress and thinks "bastard racist they clearly hate my people" then they are probably a nutjob.

JustAHolyFool Wed 09-Jan-13 12:33:30

I've never heard any look at a Village People type fancy dress (by which I assume you mean native American) and say "bastard racist they clearly hate my people".

I HAVE heard people say "that is cultural appropriation and demeaning to my culture."

Which is a bit of a different thing, really.

MrsBethel Wed 09-Jan-13 12:37:44

Exactly. It might be insensitive, but it ain't racist.

(unless it's sort of mean and on purpose)

JustAHolyFool Wed 09-Jan-13 12:41:40

Well, it is racist. Racist isn't just mean and on purpose. Racism is in insidious in society.

StuntGirl Wed 09-Jan-13 12:49:06

You don't have to be intentionally "mean" to be racist.

MrsBethel Wed 09-Jan-13 14:25:36

I disagree. I'd say racism involves some sort of denigration of the race.

If someone wore a stereotypical costume in order to make fun of or belittle a race then clearly that is racist.

But plenty of stereotypes find there way into popular culture without any intended or perceived denigration of a race. Is David Walliams racist?

seeker Wed 09-Jan-13 14:55:23

Racism doesn't have to involve denigration. It's racist to make assumptions based on race alone - black people are good at running, or have good senses of rhythm, for example. Or Asian people are all good at running corner shops.

JustAHolyFool Wed 09-Jan-13 15:43:16

Whether David Walliams is racist or not, I have no idea. What makes you ask?

StuntGirl Wed 09-Jan-13 16:15:45

I'd say racism involves some sort of denigration of the race.

And Native Americans say non-indigenous people appropriating their cultural and ceremonial traditions is denigrating their race. Who are you to argue with them?

In fact it's taken so seriously that there are laws in place to protect aspects of Native American culture. Non-Native American's legally cannot make something and call it, for example, Navajo.

MrsBethel Thu 10-Jan-13 15:39:59

"And Native Americans say non-indigenous people appropriating their cultural and ceremonial traditions is denigrating their race. Who are you to argue with them?"

People might find it offensive, and I'm not going to argue with that.

But it isn't racist.

You're saying that bloke from the village people was a racist. I'm saying that ain't necessarily so.

sunshine401 Thu 10-Jan-13 22:15:39

Wow some very good work from the media on here... confused

Pandera Tue 05-Feb-13 09:49:14

PiccadillyCervix - My grandfathers are black my cousins mixed and I am white

Surely if your Grandfathers are black, then your Mother & Father are both mixed race, then you will also be mixed race...? Unless you are adopted?

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