Grotesque reprehensible iconography such as that conjured up by blackface has a way of rearing its ugly head in iterations – perhaps not as its original look – but there surely. Yes, I saw Miley’s performance as a minstrel show.
Pimped out by big media capitalizing on the embodiment of stereotyped ignorance, classlessness, laziness that blackface codes for sales and the cheap laugh – it behoove us to remember: So when we see these things we can condemn instead of condone with our silence
This type of iconography is dangerous because it seeds a hotbed of violence waiting to happen – let’s be real – happening all the time. Black face is slapped on any person of color as soon as they step foot on American soil. Blackface is the black man in a hoodie. blackface is a black man running. blackface is the assumption first that the black man is the boogie man, mindlessly out to get you. There is blackface, brown face, yellow face, red face.
Race is a disease with this country and vanquishing it requires vigilance at the bedside retelling old stories anew and not standing for and being able to clearly articulate why the way we continue to frame color is unacceptable. That racism exists and has not been disappeared like a uncouth rebel son. This is our post-racist society: We are more entrenched than ever. One must confront an ill not pretend it doesn’t exist to truly eradicate it. We’re in the last battle – that’s why the wounded monster is flaring up and showing its might. Lets subdue it once and for all.
So, yes, I will call on the ghosts of Joplin and Jo to come to us and remind us how we might battle blackface today. That we must. I will dance in homage to Josephine Baker in hopes all the work she did subverting the blackface iconography does not get eroded. I will dance to Joplin’s maple leaf rag to celebrate that black is beautiful and blackface has no place nor power here in our midst.
We see you. Be gone!