Thursday, February 28, 2013
DEMOCRAT in trouble over blackface
You can dress up in pseudo-Irish garb on Pat's day and nobody takes offence -- even though the Irish see themselves as having had a grievous history of persecution at the hands of the British. So why no similar indifference about blacks? It is seen as akin to mocking the handicapped, it would seem. Which is an interesting insight into what politically correct minds really think about blacks
A prominent Brooklyn assemblyman defended himself on Monday after attracting attention for wearing blackface to a party he hosted this weekend to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim.
The assemblyman, Dov Hikind, a Democrat who has been a longtime power broker in the Orthodox Jewish community, wore an Afro wig, orange jersey, sunglasses and brown makeup or face paint as part of a costume that Mr. Hikind said represented a “black basketball player.”
“I was just, I think, I was trying to emulate, you know, maybe some of these basketball players,” Mr. Hikind told The New York Observer. “Someone gave me a uniform, someone gave me the hair of the actual, you know, sort of a black basketball player.” He added, “The fun for me is when people come in and don’t recognize me.”
Mr. Hikind, who has been in the Assembly since 1983, noted that it was common to dress up for Purim.
“I am intrigued that anyone who understands Purim — or, for that matter, understands me — would have a problem with this,” Mr. Hikind wrote. “This is political correctness to the absurd. There is not a prejudiced bone in my body.”
“I am deeply shocked and outraged by the insensitive actions of Assemblyman Hikind, to dress as a black basketball player complete with tanned skin and an Afro wig,” said Assemblyman Karim Camara, a Brooklyn Democrat and the chairman of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus.
Mr. Camara said that “the history of the blackface minstrel show is something deeply painful in the African-American community” and that “the stereotypes embodied in blackface minstrels have played a significant role in cementing and proliferating racist images, attitudes and perceptions.”
Another Assembly Democrat, Deborah J. Glick of Manhattan, took to Twitter to state her concern, writing: “Assembly member Dov Hikind in blackface was beyond offensive. A Purim party shouldn’t be cover for insensitivity.”