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To find this disturbing for a number of reasons....

(530 Posts)
Tinlegs Sun 10-Nov-13 14:28:46

Photograph, posted on Facebook (and, therefore, in my eyes, endorsed) by a teacher of a group of people dressed up for Halloween. One person, "blacked up" (face mask, brownish make up on neck etc) one person "whitened up" (face mask, White make up) and a third person, also made up but in a brown colour. "Black man" wearing track suit, trainers and lots and lots of jewellery. "White woman" in curlers, Primark hoodie, track suit bottoms, heels. "Brown person" (an adult) in a child's buggy with a bottle, dummy and carrying what looks like a lunch box.

AIBU to think that this is racist and stereotyping of the worst kind. That they are dressed as a mixed race "chav" (not a word I would use but...) low income family who bottle feeds their baby, dresses badly and pushes a very old child around, who are all overweight etc.

Now I know these people. The area we live in is NOT at all multi cultural so there is unlikely to have been anyone offended at the party. But I am offended.

FWIW at least one of these people works with children on a daily basis.

Mumsnet, over to you.

Clobbered Sun 10-Nov-13 14:30:35

YANBU. What do you plan to do about it?

Tabby1963 Sun 10-Nov-13 14:32:55

It sounds like a tasteless choice of fancy dress, clobbered. A bit like the one reported in the BBC news recently.

FloozeyLoozey Sun 10-Nov-13 14:33:10

Yanbu. That would make me very uneasy.

Tabby1963 Sun 10-Nov-13 14:33:21

sorry, proper link

MrsDrRanj Sun 10-Nov-13 14:37:27


Extremely racist. How well do you know this person? I'd have to say something. Racism isn't ok just because there's no black people around.

Mylovelyboy Sun 10-Nov-13 14:39:52

Sounds like a Little Britain take off. Sounds quite funny. Whats the problem. How is it racist just because they are colouring their skin. Brown/white-white/brown. Think you need to chill on this one. Making yourself sound chippy. Polite question, are you black.

Mylovelyboy Sun 10-Nov-13 14:45:22

Just to say. Few years back went to a 70's fancy dress. Myself and two friends dressed as the Three Degrees as we love them. Afro wigs and black faces, lovely dresses. Sang (very badly) one of their numbers and everyone thought it was great. Think people should stop being offended for nothing. And one of my friends (one of the three degrees) is dark skinned Greek.

halfwildlingwoman Sun 10-Nov-13 15:51:30

It does not sound funny! My god.
Yes, it's racist. No I'm not black.

Mylovelyboy Sun 10-Nov-13 16:02:18

OP I think you are looking to deeply into this to be honest. On who's behalf are you being offended? Thats what i want to know. The underclass, black people ? So if someone went to a fancy dress dressed as (Mr T - from the 80's) Blacked his face and wore lots of gold necklaces would that be classed as racist. Bloody ridiculous. Think people need to lighten up on this one. Most black people would not be offended by this. Its silly people like you who are making trouble when there is not an issue. i do hope for your own sake you do not contact these people to complain. Im sure they would think you are very silly smile

Tinlegs Sun 10-Nov-13 16:04:31

Not sure if I am going to do anything. It was in a public place. I was not there. I have just seen a photo. However, my DH did not think it was meant to be offensive (although concedes it is offensive) but I am offended. I am not black. I too don't think the lack of black people in the crowd makes a difference. However, I doubt they would have felt the costume was acceptable if they had worn it in, for example, Brixton.

Also, dressing as the 3 Degrees (internationally successful) is very different from dressing as the stereotypically poor and marginalised.

ilovesooty Sun 10-Nov-13 16:07:12

The OP is partly concerned as the photo has been posted by a teacher. Not unreasonably so imo.

Tinlegs Sun 10-Nov-13 16:11:58

Do people not agree that a photo posted on Facebook (ie in public) is an endorsement? Also, that the teacher concerned would be censured for this were she to endorse this kind of stereotyping at school?

Interested in responses. I also feel that attacking an "underclass" is particularly cruel. People who struggle are easy targets and we should know better.

ilovesooty Sun 10-Nov-13 16:17:31

If I posted something like that it would be regarded as bringing my company into disrepute. I would challenge any colleague who did so and take it higher if they didn't remove it.

And as a former teacher I think it's unacceptable.

Mylovelyboy Sun 10-Nov-13 16:21:16

So OP my friends and I blacking our faces to dress as the Three Degrees was ok (because they were internationally successful) confused Your post states (blacking out faces bacically = racism). Think your need to speak to your DH again to make you think more rationally about what you are contradicting saying

FreudiansSlipper Sun 10-Nov-13 16:21:20


personally i do not know anyone who is stupid enough to not realise that blacking up is just not done now it is not the 1970's ffs

whitening up (do you call it that) does not really have the same history as blacking up and why it was done

bringbacksideburns Sun 10-Nov-13 16:21:53

It's a weird thing to do. In no way comparable to dressing up as Michael Jackson. It does seem to be taking the piss and not in a nice way.

Mylovelyboy Sun 10-Nov-13 16:23:43

ilovesnooty how on earth would that be bringing your company into disrepute? Your company has nothing to do with it if its a private party outside of work. Jeez

Mylovelyboy Sun 10-Nov-13 16:24:48

Freudian oh so you can whiten up but not black up. Double standards me thinks confused

Tinlegs Sun 10-Nov-13 16:25:43

I only called it "whitening" for lack of a better name. Her face has a mask on (very white) and then lots of white make up on the neck.

I do think blacking up is offensive and wouldn't do it. However, dressing up as stars is more acceptable than as the poor and marginalised.

Interesting that some would not be bothered by this.

ilovesooty Sun 10-Nov-13 16:26:41

My company's social media policy and Equality and Diversity policy isn't in accordance with your pov thankfully, mylovelyboy

OvaryAction Sun 10-Nov-13 16:30:09

I'd be offended by someone 'blacking up' and I'm white and live in a town populated by over 90% white British people.

Freudian is right, the historical and social context is what makes it offensive. Whiting up is not offensive in the same way, it is unnecessary and odd though, and I would avoid someone who was strange enough to do it.

Mylovelyboy Sun 10-Nov-13 16:31:17

So OP what has got your goat? Blacking up faces or dressing as chavs/underclass. Sounds like in your thread its both confused. Think some people take dressing up at parties to seriously and get offended when there is no offence to be taken. My ds primary school had to dress up in victorian costume. My ds and some others were put into the category of dressing up as 'vagabonds' poor kids basically. Some where dressed up as princes. Was I offended, of course not. Chill out ffs

ilovesooty Sun 10-Nov-13 16:33:00

I think mylovelyboy that you haven't grasped the point here.

Mylovelyboy Sun 10-Nov-13 16:33:48

No one has answered my question about going to a party and blacking up as the 1980's Mr T. Tough black guy with lots of gold jewellery. Would that be offensive. Not goading just interested on how anyone would feel about that really.

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