‘Blackface or no blackface’ – a moral dilemma for our times

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Radio 4’s Moral Maze is to devote an entire series to the great unanswerable ethical debate of the modern age – when is it acceptable for a white person to black up and pretend to be someone from a racial minority for comic effect?  Some are calling it the dilemma of 2019, while others are saying: ‘Didn’t we sort out this shit out in 1970???’. Either way, modern politicians seem torn between disavowing their racist past, or brazenly starting a tour of the ‘Black & White Minstrel Show’.

A spokesman for the Equality and Human Rights Commission said; ‘The main line of defence seems to be ‘I was young, it was different times’ which possibly only works if by young, you mean dumb and by different times, you mean during the Third Reich. If our politicians are to be believed, every school in the 80s was doing ‘blackface’ cabaret or David Walliams’s sketches – which begs the question, what the hell kind of school did you go to?’

A day does not go past without a major celebrity suddenly remembering that they once upon a time, dressed up as a Nazi or Sammy Davis Junior – which feels like an odd thing to forget and an even odder one to have in your dressing-up box. Explained one Senator: ‘People need to stop jumping to conclusions. It’s all about context. And the context is, I’m happy to be casually racist.’

A spokesman for white privilege said: ‘When you think back to your college years and your time spent in the Lib Dem Glee Club, haven’t we all dressed up in a culturally and ethnically insensitive fashion? Be it David Baddiel or Justin Trudeau , who hasn’t gone ‘blackface’ for a quick and easy laugh?’. Most of us, it turns out.

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Posted: Sep 19th, 2019 by

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