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It's 2013, not 1913


Anxious Girl

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I did see that! Have you seen the article on Jezeble about the white model bronzed and tanned into an 'african queen' its not just racist its tasteless too. :snooty:

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I grew up with this sort of rubbish, and no one ever thought twice about it. Here's what I learned: White people are the default. You can't be pretty/handsome, unless you're white. Other races are a bunch of assorted stereotypes. And possibly fun to make fun of.

It was fun, growing up bi-racial. :evil:

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I'm sorry you had to deal with that crap. As a white person, I try to check my privilege, and be open to hearing people of color when I inadvertently cause offense.

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I'm sorry you had to deal with that crap. As a white person, I try to check my privilege, and be open to hearing people of color when I inadvertently cause offense.

Thanks. :) There's a silver lining to my story: Learning that I was never going to be conventionally attractive made me set my own standards for beauty. But thanks for fighting the good fight. :)

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Thats what I thought too. I mean were there no black models available or......it just sends a message that at least in main stream culture white should be the norm (not to beat a dead horse) idk

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Thats what I thought too. I mean were there no black models available or......it just sends a message that at least in main stream culture white should be the norm (not to beat a dead horse) idk

Apparently, her agency has black models on their books, but they went with her, for whatever reason. And as you said, it sends the message that "white" is the norm, and everyone should comply. What if you can't? My partner and I are planning for a baby right now, and that's nothing I want any child of mine to ever learn/worry about. Of course there are heaps of white people, who aren't models, but it's the bit where you "automatically disqualify" just because of your race, which grates.

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Maybe its because im not for a country with the background of the usa and where a concept like blackface doesnt exist, but i dont understand why the people think is racist a white painted black.. i mean here you sea a lot of that in christmas since one of the three wise men is black and nobody see it bad. I mean if is like a costume, not for make joke of blacks or anything.

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Maybe its because im not for a country with the background of the usa and where a concept like blackface doesnt exist, but i dont understand why the people think is racist a white painted black.. i mean here you sea a lot of that in christmas since one of the three wise men is black and nobody see it bad. I mean if is like a costume, not for make joke of blacks or anything.

That's the sort of thinking I grew up with. And just for you, I'm going to get personal: When I was a child, it was funny and accepted to wear "Chinaman-costumes". Yellow-face and all. What I learnt from that was that it was fun to make fun of my looks, I learnt that I was a joke. I leant that it doesn't matter what I look like, I'm always going to be laughable. Is that what you would want to teach your kids if they happened to be non-white? Would you stand up and tell them that it's okay for others to make fun of them for something they can do fuck all about?

And in case you're Dutch, "Swarte Piet" is a completely different story.

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That's the sort of thinking I grew up with. And just for you, I'm going to get personal: When I was a child, it was funny and accepted to wear "Chinaman-costumes". Yellow-face and all. What I learnt from that was that it was fun to make fun of my looks, I learnt that I was a joke. I leant that it doesn't matter what I look like, I'm always going to be laughable. Is that what you would want to teach your kids if they happened to be non-white? Would you stand up and tell them that it's okay for others to make fun of them for something they can do fuck all about?

And in case you're Dutch, "Swarte Piet" is a completely different story.

No im not dutch, im from spain, and i understad that if its like a costume for make fun or a joke is racist, but why is racist only paint the face brown? i mean if you are gonna for example wear a costume of obama, you gona wear makeup to look more like him, or if you are gona use a costume of a chinese you are gonna paint your eyes to look more asian.. i think is more racist seeing it wrong than wearing it, because i dont see anything bad in the way a asian or a african looks, so i dont think that it is a joke to look like them, an nobody found it funny, only another costume, like if you paint blue to be somebody from avatar film.

But i understad that in usa given the recent history and all, people are more susceptible about this kind of things that dont have significance here.

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I grew up with this sort of rubbish, and no one ever thought twice about it. Here's what I learned: White people are the default. You can't be pretty/handsome, unless you're white. Other races are a bunch of assorted stereotypes. And possibly fun to make fun of.

It was fun, growing up bi-racial. :evil:

This reminded me of a sociology class I took in college We were talking race relations and how in America white is not really a race here, it is the norm and everyone else is different ( mostly thanks to media)

The best way it was described (to me at least ) is that when white people look in the mirror they do not see white (or their race) as how they define themselves, whereas on the contrary someone Asian or African American would include their race in how they define themselves.

It totally opened my eyes, and I grew up in a very diverse urban area

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People from the US sometimes fail to understand that other countries around the world do not have the same history with blackface as them (I am not saying this is true of anyone here, just to clarify), and as a consequence it's widely considered not nearly as inappropriate. A few years ago they resurrected a variety show called Hey Hey it's Saturday here in Australia, and they recreated acts from the 70's that were popular on their gong show-style segment called Red Faces. One of those acts was a parody of the Jackson 5, done by 5 white guys. 4 of the guys had their faces pained black, and the one playing Michael was painted white. Harry Connick Jr was a judge and he gave the group a 0 and took major offense.

He didn't understand it was a parody of a parody of Michael Jackson's changing skin colour in the late 70's. He didn't understand that back then, to us, it wasn't offensive at all. He didn't get that to a lot of Australians (who have never learned about American history, who are ignorant about the civil rights movement or the history of blackface in America), it still isn't offensive.

I do understand how offensive it must have been to an American with their background and perspective, but to people who don't have that perspective because they're from a different country it can be hard to understand why it's so offensive to other people.

I think generally it's unfair to say 'that is extremely offensive in my country so your country should be ashamed of yourselves for not being offended'. It's offensive in some countries to use your left hand to eat, but if you went to a country where that wasn't the case you probably wouldn't ask other people to conform to that belief, even if you still conform to it yourself.

Please don't think I'm saying that people shouldn't be offended, because I'm not saying that. I'm also not saying that anyone here is trying to say people should be automatically offended because it is offensive in the US.

I'm just trying to elaborate a bit more on the subject of other cultures and their attitudes towards blackface. I think that it can also be difficult for white people to understand what it's like to see your race exaggerated and parodied, since unfortunately being white is aspirational in so many countries in the world. That's why educating yourself is important.

Personally I think this whole thing is ridiculous. The people who cast models in ridiculous roles always have some kind of excuse ('the dress looked better on her body', 'she had the right face' ect ect), but all this does is make it look like being African isn't good enough, that lighter is better and Caucasian is the norm. I think the ad looks bizarre because she might have darkened skin but her features aren't even vaguely African. They should have found a gorgeous model who was actually of African origin - and there are a LOT out there. I am ridiculously envious of some of the stunning Sudanese girls out there at the moment.

Edited for a very unfortunate mistake!

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(snip)

No im not dutch, im from spain, and i understad that if its like a costume for make fun or a joke is racist, but why is racist only paint the face brown? i mean if you are gonna for example wear a costume of obama, you gona wear makeup to look more like him, or if you are gona use a costume of a chinese you are gonna paint your eyes to look more asian.. i think is more racist seeing it wrong than wearing it, because i dont see anything bad in the way a asian or a african looks, so i dont think that it is a joke to look like them, an nobody found it funny, only another costume, like if you paint blue to be somebody from avatar film.

But i understad that in usa given the recent history and all, people are more susceptible about this kind of things that dont have significance here.

I'm in Europe too, and that sort of thinking makes me want to despair. Especially the bolded. And they do have significance here. They exoticise different phenotypes and ethnicities, making it blatantly clear that no matter what, non-whites will always be "the other". We "don't belong". That's hurtful. And your assertions that you don't see anything bad in the way others look doesn't make it better.

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No im not dutch, im from spain, and i understad that if its like a costume for make fun or a joke is racist, but why is racist only paint the face brown? i mean if you are gonna for example wear a costume of obama, you gona wear makeup to look more like him, or if you are gona use a costume of a chinese you are gonna paint your eyes to look more asian.. i think is more racist seeing it wrong than wearing it, because i dont see anything bad in the way a asian or a african looks, so i dont think that it is a joke to look like them, an nobody found it funny, only another costume, like if you paint blue to be somebody from avatar film.

But i understad that in usa given the recent history and all, people are more susceptible about this kind of things that dont have significance here.

The difference between blackface and painting yourself blue for an Avatar costume is that there are not any real Na'vi who can be offended by humans using their culture for a costume. However, every black person I've known has found blackface to be universally offensive because it is a caricature of their appearance and culture - which is good enough reason for me to say it should not be done.

But yeah, there is absolutely a cultural difference between how people from the US see blackface and how it is seen in other cultures, and that's really important to keep in mind. I am an American who used to live in Spain. The first time I went there it was right before Epiphany and I remember being totally shocked by the costumes for the Reyes Magos - and by how NOT shocked everyone else around me seemed to be, you know? So it's definitely understandable that you would see it differently since your cultural context is so different.

(Argh, I really want to switch into Spanish here because I feel like that would help explain what I mean...Diana, we are not allowed to post in languages other than English on this board, but if you want to discuss this topic with someone in Spanish, please feel free to PM me and we can chat. :) )

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I think it's important to understand that in some countries wearing blackface to dress in a costume, for example - as President Obam, is fine (a fact that I was quite ignorantly unaware of! I learn all sorts of things from this site!), but, here in the US at least, that would be considered racist. (And FWIW I'm white.) I'd NEVER dress in a costume of someone not white, because I feel that would be racist. Not being from the US you don't see that, and that's fine, pretty nifty in fact - and, if you dressed in blackface in the US I would hope that by explaining what you've explained to us (that it's not racist where you live) that people would be understanding. Of course, there would be people who wouldn't understand, but those are also the people that probably expect people in Spain to speak English because they're "Amurrican". (That, to me, is also racist - how dare someone go to another country and expect to be catered to - but those are the "Ugly Americans" and we're not all like that! :) )

I have never understood using white people "in place of" any other race. It's not like Africans don't have features that are different from white people, for example. I mean, really? A white woman tanned to look like an "African Queen" must look ridiculous! (I haven't seen the ad being referenced.) African woman have beautiful features that white woman simply do not. It's not like there is a shortage of gorgeous African women!

I have a feeling I'm either being overly-PC or racist myself, but I don't mean to be. I always struggle with using the right terms, "African American" vs. "Black" etc. (I actually heard someone refer to someone of Chinese decent as "Oriental" and I cringed - there are some I know are JUST NOT RIGHT!), and I feel very ignorant about this topic. I really do want make sure I use the right terms, but I don't know how to ask without sounding like an ass. I did ask someone once (a black woman) if they prefer "Black" or "African American" and she said that she prefers Black because she is so far removed from Africa that she doesn't identify as "African American". I live in an area with a large just moved here from Africa population, and I thought it was an interesting thing to know that there is a difference. I grew up with someone always saying "African American" and a teacher called her out on it, and said to just say "Black", so I was never really sure which to use. Now I feel like I just dug my "Ignorant Racist" hole bigger. HELP!)

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I think it's important to understand that in some countries wearing blackface to dress in a costume, for example - as President Obam, is fine (a fact that I was quite ignorantly unaware of! I learn all sorts of things from this site!), but, here in the US at least, that would be considered racist. (And FWIW I'm white.) I'd NEVER dress in a costume of someone not white, because I feel that would be racist. Not being from the US you don't see that, and that's fine, pretty nifty in fact - and, if you dressed in blackface in the US I would hope that by explaining what you've explained to us (that it's not racist where you live) that people would be understanding. Of course, there would be people who wouldn't understand, but those are also the people that probably expect people in Spain to speak English because they're "Amurrican". (That, to me, is also racist - how dare someone go to another country and expect to be catered to - but those are the "Ugly Americans" and we're not all like that! :) )

I have never understood using white people "in place of" any other race. It's not like Africans don't have features that are different from white people, for example. I mean, really? A white woman tanned to look like an "African Queen" must look ridiculous! (I haven't seen the ad being referenced.) African woman have beautiful features that white woman simply do not. It's not like there is a shortage of gorgeous African women!

I have a feeling I'm either being overly-PC or racist myself, but I don't mean to be. I always struggle with using the right terms, "African American" vs. "Black" etc. (I actually heard someone refer to someone of Chinese decent as "Oriental" and I cringed - there are some I know are JUST NOT RIGHT!), and I feel very ignorant about this topic. I really do want make sure I use the right terms, but I don't know how to ask without sounding like an ass. I did ask someone once (a black woman) if they prefer "Black" or "African American" and she said that she prefers Black because she is so far removed from Africa that she doesn't identify as "African American". I live in an area with a large just moved here from Africa population, and I thought it was an interesting thing to know that there is a difference. I grew up with someone always saying "African American" and a teacher called her out on it, and said to just say "Black", so I was never really sure which to use. Now I feel like I just dug my "Ignorant Racist" hole bigger. HELP!)

Context matters. That's what I meant when I mentioned the Dutch "Swarte Piet". It's a very specific tradition , within a particular context. Generic costumes are a different kettle of fish and you (general you) can tell me that a "Chinaman costume" for carnival is nice and dandy till the cows come home, it's not.

ETA: Just because certain countries and cultures don't consider something racist, doesn't mean that it isn't. I grew up in Germany, and quite a few things that would raise hairs in the US were considered perfectly normal. They still had a profound effect on people like me, in the way we learnt to see ourselves. As a little girl, one of the biggest praises was being told how pretty you are (wrong in itself, but that's not the point). The media and my environment told me that I'd never ever qualify for that, because I'm not white. And to make matters worse, it was funny to dress up to look like me. It's not considered racist, it's "cultural". But just because something is "cultural" does that mean we have to stop calling it out? Do we make allowances for sexism, because something is cultural?

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Dressing up as a specific person of another race (example: Obama, Chairman Mao) is one thing. If you do ANY sort of face painting, though, in the modern United States it's just too close to caricature blackface (or yellowface, same idea) to escape criticism, you WILL offend people and it's just plain not worth it. Very occasionally a serious media outlet will make it work, but there will be discussion about boundaries and whether or not face paint is used, wigs, etc (Fred Armisen as Obama comes to mind). Average people for a costume? Don't go there.

You can find all kinds of posts from parents on the net, their kids have (IMHO rather clueless) teachers who have assigned them to dress up as figures from history (why is this sort of assignment needed??) and they're wondering what to do about "the face painting question" and pretty unanimously the answer is NO, don't do it. Regardless of your intent you WILL offend people. Similarly the advice for teachers is, stop with those assignments, let the kids make presentations and drawings only but don't require costumes. The US just has too sensitive a history with blackface to make it work.

Problem is, it's not just history either. There are STILL, TODAY in 2013, people who think it's okay to dress up as a caricature of an entire race for Halloween - they dress up as "Chinamen" or "geisha[1]" or "hos" or worse yet they hold "ghetto" parties where people put on blackface and wear stereotypical clothing to dress up as "rappers and hos" (I kid you not) or have "illegal alien" parties, similarly offensive costumes dressing up as stereotypes of Mexicans, often pretending to be pregnant. People doing this put pictures of the event all over the internet even, with no shame, and then wonder why people are angry when they see the photos... these are college kids, supposedly the best and brightest.

I suspect if someone sees the "Swarte Piet" things in context they'll realize it's different, but that instant gut reaction would probably be there, for an American, and if you're IN the US doing it, yeah, better expect some reaction.

[1] Yes, it's an occupation, but 99.9999% of people who dress up as it just thinking "oh, sexy Japanese woman" and then get the entire thing completely wrong and offensive, so...

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I don't think it's meant to be that being black or asian or whatever is bad, but that dressing up as another race specifically is an issue. To me it's more about history and that when drawn or creating the character they often tend to put stereotypical caricature on the person. I never hear about people dressing up as a white person for Halloween. Maybe a specific person who is white, but their skin color isn't the reason they are choosing to be that person. That does not seem to be the case when it comes to any other skin tone. It's meant to degrade or mock, even if the person wearing it is unaware that they are doing just that by wearing the costume. While I have not seen people where such costumes here, friends from the more southern areas have done this or know people who have done such things.

Blackface just has a very, very negative history here and that's why it's an issue. As a white woman dating a non-white man, I can see more of the issue because there are still people who very much look down on such a relationship because it's "unpure". Doesn't matter that hardly anything in the US is nearly 100% anything and mixed people have been around for a very, very long time, it's still an issue. And it is a bit of a concern that if my current bf and I ever have a child, they will be biracial, but because of the one-drop rule that is still used, s/he will likely be considered black because let's face it, darker genes are stronger and s/he won't likely be a blue-eyed, blonde, white American. It does not bother me at all about having a child that's biracial and I think they'll be amazing and beautiful because I'll obviously be biased since it's my child. ;) But it's other people that concern me because even though we've come a long way in regards to racial equality, we still have a long way to go.

So it's not having a "black face" (aka having dark skin tones) that's the problem so much as the caricature of what a black person looks like that's the real issue.

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Guest Anonymous

I think the quoted comment is pretty much right:

“Can I just say as a young black model (I'm a girl) having worked my ass for the past 3 years, this hurts my soul. I'm happy for Ondria as a person but the amount of times I have been told ‘oh sorry we already have a black girl that looks like you’ or ‘most of our clients dont hire black girls, sorry’ and then I see THIS, it pisses me off! There are so many beauitful black models out there working TWICE as hard for barely half the recognition and the only time they give a shit about us is when they need our dark skin for some ‘ethnic’ photo shoot and in this case with Ondria, they couldn't even be bothered. Can I see a black girl do SCANDANAVIAN PRINCESS please? Hmmm?â€

Black models have very limited options for work. It comes up as an issue once in a while and the typical response is something like: "Modelling is about fashion, if black models aren't fashionable, what can you do?" (as if fashion is an uncontrollable, organic being that is not subject to human influence) or "There just aren't modelling jobs for black models, what can you do?". In this case, in one of the few instances where there is a role available for a black model, they pick a white model and spray (paint? powder?) her brown.

In terms of cultural differences, I think France's history/relationship with black people is similar to that of my country (the role in the transatlantic slave trade, slavery in the Caribbean, colonies in West Africa, 19th-20th century racist media, 20th century immigration from former colonies in Africa and the Caribbean). I think, even in its original cultural context, the spread could be considered racist.

The comments are insufferable. The whole "Who said all Africans are black?????" thing is bullshit. If the spread wanted to represent a white, Asian, Arab, Berber, etc. African then why choose a white model and colour her brown?

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So what if a black girl want to be for example marilyn monroe in halloween, she will have to use a blonde wig, and wear make up to look like her..thats the point of using a costume to look different as you are every day, not better or worse, but different. You will see it racist?

And i dont see racist at all dressing like a chinese woman or a geisha, i dressed like that in carnival when i was a child, and it was a beautifull costume(maybe the difference is that hallowen is more for dress like monsters or scary things and our carnival have a different concept). But i dont see it racist at all, its the same as dressing in a flamenco dress and being a sevillana in carnival.

And the ones that sell the chinese costumes in their shops are the chineses so, i dont think they found it offensive either.

I was thinking about this tv show we have where famous people imitate famous singers of all time, so men have to dress like women, women like men, and somethimes they have to paint black to look like some singers. Nobody complain about it, and nobody thinks that its racist.

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So what if a black girl want to be for example marilyn monroe in halloween, she will have to use a blonde wig, and wear make up to look like her..thats the point of using a costume to look different as you are every day, not better or worse, but different. You will see it racist?

Speaking for myself (a white person) here: If a black woman were to dress as Marilyn Monroe for Halloween I would not think it was racist if she wore, say, a blonde wig and Marilyn's beauty mark to do it. If she lightened her skin too, I would think that was odd and unnecessary. If the other aspects of the costume (dress, wig, etc.) are good enough, I would get it without her having to do anything to her skin.

If a white man were to dress as, say, President Obama, and darkened his skin to do so, I would not think that was appropriate. I know this seems like a double standard, but the reason I would think this is because there is a history in the US of white people painting their skin to mock and belittle other races. There is not a similar history here where it's the other way around.

As far as the question of just doing it to look more like the character...that makes me think about my experiences attending science fiction conventions (one of my favorite pastimes) where a lot of people do costuming, often as characters of a different race. For example, there are a lot of white fans who dress up as characters from Japanese anime. They all do that without altering their facial features to look more Japanese because honestly, we are already suspending our disbelief because nobody is proportioned like an anime character no matter what their race is. (It works in other ways too - for example, a young black woman who dressed up as an amazing Sailor Moon.) It's very possible to put together a well-made and true-to-life costume without needing to paint your face to do it - I've seen it done many times. It's just a line that doesn't need to be crossed when there are so many other ways you can still believably portray a character who's not like you.

edit: I spel gud

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As far as the question of just doing it to look more like the character...that makes me think about my experiences attending science fiction conventions (one of my favorite pastimes) where a lot of people do costuming, often as people of a different race. For example, there are a lot of white fans who dress up as characters from Japanese anime. They all do that without altering their facial features to look more Japanese because honestly, we are already suspending our disbelief because nobody is proportioned like an anime character no matter what their race is. (It works in other ways too - for example, a young black woman who dressed up as an amazing Sailor Moon.) It's very possible to put together a well-made and true-to-life costume without needing to paint your face to do it - I've seen it done many times. It's just a line that doesn't need to be crossed when there are so many other ways you can still believably portray a character who's not like you.

This brings up another interesting question. Would you consider it to be racist to dress in "blackface" to cosplay as a made up race such as a Klingon or a drow?

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This brings up another interesting question. Would you consider it to be racist to dress in "blackface" to cosplay as a made up race such as a Klingon or a drow?

That's a tough one. Being white I don't think I'm really qualified to answer that conclusively. I can tell you that the Klingon costumers that I know (who are mainly white people) tend to use forehead appliances that are pretty close to their own skin tone already. They maybe darken their faces a little but it comes off more as "I used lots of bronzer today" than anything else. I also know that Star Trek, by the end of its run, had a policy of only casting black actors to play Klingons in order to avoid the issue you mention.

The whole concept of drow honestly troubles me a bit to begin with, at least with how it's been presented in D&D mythos. Evil dark underground spider worshiping dark elves that are evil and dark and icky! Nothing at all like those good light elves from the surface. :|

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    • PreciousPantsofDoom

      PreciousPantsofDoom

      I frigging hate the toilets at this worksite. Specifically the door locks. Stupid little knoblet that isn't clear if it is locked or not. Door opens right off the main hallway and the toilet is just far enough from the door that I can't just hold the door shut in case I've got the lock wrong. I mean really people, how hard is it to design this? I just want to pee in private with no anxiety. Apparently that is too much to ask for. 
      · 1 reply
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