Saturday 9 February 2019


Two Washington Post headlines yesterday:

Poll: Only 58% of Americans oppose blackface

Blackface is a global problem

A global problem.

A BBC lead story yesterday:

Luxury fashion brand Gucci has withdrawn a woollen jumper from sale after the item was criticised for "resembling blackface."
The black "balaclava jumper" covered the lower half of the face and featured a red cut-out around the mouth.
The item prompted a backlash on social media by users who claimed the design was offensive.
In a statement, Gucci apologised for any offence caused and said it would be removed from sale.
The brand said it would turn the incident "into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team" and was committed to increasing diversity.

Guardian headline recently:

Prada pulls figurines that resembled blackface from New York store

Luxury firm says it ‘never had the intention of offending anyone and we abhor all forms of racism and racist imagery’

Sky News headline recently:

Model speaks out after eating pizza with chopsticks in 'racist' Dolce and Gabbana ad

Zuo Ye featured in promo videos for the fashion house in which she struggled to eat pizza and pasta with chopsticks.

My gradmother and parents and everyone's parents and grandparents loved The Black and White Minstrel Show, right through my childhood and well into into my adolescence. I considered it the acme of boring conformist lowbrow kitsch - and they turned good old songs (which I liked in their original form) into muzak. It seems daringly outre and subversive now I suppose but the outrage about blackface is a further stage in the American collective nervous breakdown about race, which is caused after very long fuse by slavery, as seen through the prism of 1960s American liberalism.

Lord Olivier was wonderful as Othello and the Two Ronnies were good here. I note Ronnie Barker in blackface singing 'You find the jokes ain't funny no more.'

I have always been in love with Keep Young and Beautiful, a very sexist old song even when I first heard it in about 1980, sung so saucily by the peerless Eddie Cantor

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