In the spirit of Halloween, many people are having parties and dressing as their favorite characters, fictitious and otherwise. People are wearing the makeup of ghouls and goblins, or masks of their favorite president. It is what this time of year is all about. However, there are some insensitive and unnerving going viral.
With its new found popularity, Orange is the New Black has women all over the country donning the infamous orange jumpsuit of the characters, who are all in jail, and going to parties. Actress Julianne Hough, with a group of her friends, decided to be the female cast, which contains a black character. Hough made her face up with bronzer, twister her hair up like the character, and went to the party. She is now receiving massive backlash from the black community for the idea of being a black character from a television show.
With this backlash of anger, there needs to be a moment of reflection within the black community. The Wayans Brothers’ smash hit, “White Chicks” is still one of many peoples’ favorite movies. It is shown often on many different networks and is seen to be a great film. However, it is two black men wearing white make up and degrading white, blond women by hyping up their stereotypes for two hours. There are other television shows that do this as well, like “Martin” with a character named “White Bob,” where Martin would put heavy makeup on to portray a white man who was apparently on speed. These elements of stereotyping is only accepted because the white race has white privilege and the lack of the minstrel show history, however they are just as wrong. A person becoming angry at Hough for her costume is like being angry at an 8 year old who decided to be Pocahontas and wore face paint.
While this misguided anger toward Hough was happening, there was an incident that should have sent every African American into a rage. There was a photo of a group of friends. One person dressed as Trayvon Martin, in black face and a bloody hoodie and one guy dressed as George Zimmerman, in a neighborhood watch t-shirt. This is what minstrelsy and black face really is and every Halloween, there is someone who decides to be a stereotype of the race as opposed to a character. Sadly, African Americans need a better way of appropriating the anger it causes.
Let’s get mad at true minstrelsy, the people who are really affecting us. Hough made a very unwise decision. Let’s drop what she did and look at what’s really going on.