"Amos n' Andy", Blackface, Ethnic Humor, Halloween, Minstrel Shows, Popular Entertainment, Racial Politics, The Cristakises, The Left, Yale
and piss off the SJWs.
Halloween is getting to be downright dangerous in this country. Back in 2015, the wife of Yale’s Silliman College Master Nicholas Christakis, and Associate Master, Erica Christakis, responded to an admonitory pre-Halloween email from the Intercultural Affairs Council â€” a group of administrators from the cultural centers, Chaplainâ€™s Office and other campus organizations â€” sent to the undergraduate student body warning against wearing Halloween costumes which could be interpreted as belittling or offensive: no sombreros, no blackface, no turbans, defending freedom of expression and arguing against hypersensitive prohibition and censorship.
Well, Master Nicholas and a black dean were confronted by angry student mobs demanding his firing or resignation. There was a march on President Salovey’s house and a presentation of outrageous radical demands, most of which President Salovey promptly granted. The Yale Administration assured the Christakises that free speech would be upheld, it was solidly behind them, and then quietly got both of them out of Silliman College and out of town. (Professor Nicholas Christakis was paid off for keeping quiet with the award of a prestigious Sterling Professorship a couple years later.) Mrs. Christakis no longer teaches at Yale, and is giving lectures and doing free-lance writing. Boo!
And the PC Halloween Monster strikes again! This time it is NBC Today Host Megan Kelly riding the tumbril in the direction of the stake for, yes! you guessed it, questioning the blasphemous nature of Halloween blackface. Burn, witch, burn!
Roxanne Jones, “a founding editor of ESPN Magazine and former vice president at ESPN,” lays down the law at CNN:
Sometimes “I’m sorry” just doesn’t cut it — a hard lesson that NBC Today show host Megyn Kelly now understands. Reportedly, Kelly’s morning show “Megyn Kelly Today” may be cancelled, according to CNN sources and Variety reports.
Kelly, who never really seemed like a good fit for the NBC morning show, overplayed her popularity earlier this week when she passionately defended people who don blackface costumes for Halloween — a thing that most Americans understand is definitely not okay, unless their intention is to offend.
“But what is racist?” Kelly asked on her show. “Because you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid that was OK, as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character.”
The backlash was swift. Kelly was roasted across social media and more importantly her colleagues and bosses were appalled by her comments. NBC executives forced Kelly to apologize first, internally to her colleagues, and then to the viewers.
But Halloween is tricky and the blackface flap didn’t die down.
Ironically, for me, the most revealing part of Kelly’s explosive comments was their illumination of her true face as an out-of-the-closet racist, in my opinion.
I didn’t buy Kelly’s innocent act of contrition. Maybe I’ve just become desensitized to these knee-jerk, teleprompter apologies for public misdeeds. Maybe we all have. Maybe we should.
But Kelly shouldn’t be surprised that her racist statements met resistance. And she shouldn’t be surprised that NBC, like so many other employers who have taken action against talent for incidents of racism, has apparently decided that her brand of bigotry is simply not worth the risk anymore. Even her NBC colleague Al Roker, who said Wednesday, “The fact is, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country.”
JenÃ©e Desmond Harris, at leftist Vox, explains to you ignorant bigots why defending blackface is a prosecutable thought and speech crime.
Put down the black and brown face paint. Step away from the bronzer 12 shades darker than your skin. That is, if you’re at all interested in not being a walking symbol of racism this Halloween.
Wait, what’s wrong with blackface? A lot of people, thankfully, don’t need this question answered. To many, it’s obvious that it’s a lazy, non-funny costume bad idea with a depressing history that is the opposite of celebratory. Each Halloween serves as a reminder that a giant gulf remains between people who understand that blackface is in bad taste, or are willing to defer to black people who tell them so, and people who are still asking “But why?” (You know, the ones who are thinking as they read this, “You say it’s racist but I can tell you right now I’m not racist, so it’s fine if I wear it! Come on, get over it! Stop with the political correctness! I don’t understand how this is offensive! It’s a joke!”)…
For the “why” crowd (and for anyone who feels moved to have a dialogue with one of its members), here’s an explanation of what, exactly, is wrong with wearing blackface, on Halloween or ever:
Blackface is much more than just dark makeup used to enhance a costume.
Its American origins can be traced to minstrel shows. In the mid to late nineteenth century, white actors would routinely use black grease paint on their faces when depicting plantation slaves and free blacks on stage.
To be clear, these weren’t flattering representations. At all. Taking place against the backdrop of a society that systematically mistreated and dehumanized black people, they were mocking portrayals that reinforced the idea that African-Americans were inferior in every way.
According to you, JenÃ©e, but it’s really a lot more complicated, and far less negative than that.
Minstrel shows and blackface performances, it’s true, did include unflattering stereotypes of African Americans, but white performers were not merely donning blackface to mock and belittle colored people. They were commonly doing it in order to become black. White performers wanted to become black in order to perform music with African-American roots and in order to pay affectionate tribute to old-time Southern African-American humor and culture.
When I was a boy, for several years, I grudgingly sacrificed a hour of extra sleep in order to get up and catch Amos n’ Andy re-runs on early morning television. There were things very much other than mockery and condescension that motivated me. There was a fascination in the flavorful and witty colored dialect. There was enormous charm in the very human foibles of the principal characters. And I distinctly admired the absolute brilliance, the polytropic enterprise, and the thoroughgoing rascallity of the Kingfish. Heck, if I’d been able to find examples at my local haberdasher’s, I’d likely have started wearing string ties and a tail coat in emulation of that great man. I loved the Kingfish, and –just like most American– I respected and admired the straight arrow cab driver Amos Jones.
Pre-Politically-Correct America actually had lots of diversity, and Americans loved and enjoyed that diversity. Popular entertainment reveled in exploiting ethnic stereotypes for humor and as an expression of affection. Jewish Molly Goldberg‘s ethnic characteristics were funny, but they were also heart-warming. Brooklyn Irish Chester A. Riley was crude, vulgar, and unmannerly, but he was also tough, loyal, and a good guy underneath it all.
It was the same with the old minstrel shows and Amos n’ Andy, which was a kind of continuation of the former right into the television era. Americans watched them to laugh at the characters and they also loved those characters.
It’s the Left that hates and wants to harm people.