Re: Ignorance

1

I guess OP.2 is why the metric system never caught on.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 7:06 AM
horizontal rule
2

150/15 is approximately 11.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 7:18 AM
horizontal rule
3

Which is a sound base for a numerical system because of its presence at that maximum of the volume knob on the amps of electric guitars.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 7:20 AM
horizontal rule
4

150/15 is 10 regardless of what base your numerical system is in. (Except if it's base 4 or below because then everyone will be like "what the hell is that weird squiggle between the 1 and the 0?")


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 7:30 AM
horizontal rule
5

But 165/15 is 10 in base-11.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 7:32 AM
horizontal rule
6

You guys are so basic.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 7:34 AM
horizontal rule
7

Still, I finished college without attending a single party where anybody was in blackface. I did once see a version of Othello that seemed a bit much.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 7:44 AM
horizontal rule
8

Me too! But we were in college pre-Beyonce. Nobody that I knew threw Destiny's Child themed parties.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 7:47 AM
horizontal rule
9

I think the problem pre-dates Destiny's Child. I'm pretty sure that I can recall frat party themes that were more racist than Beyonce-themed ones. I just didn't go.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 7:49 AM
horizontal rule
10

the problem pre-dates Destiny's Child.

So it was just Destiny then?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
11

I agree with 7. I'm honestly surprised at how often these blackface stories crop up. Not doing it is just so easy.

As for ignorance, I suppose it depends on the school system. I went to not especially progressive public schools, and I'm pretty sure we were made aware at some point in elementary school that white people dressing up in blackface was something that had been done in the past, but was racist as fuck and simply not done anymore.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
12

OP.1: I think I made it through high school having never seen a blackface skit or heard it referred to, and that was 20 years ago--closer to when it was common. So I'm sympathetic, though... not having seen blackface, I don't think that type of exaggeration would have been my go-to for a black actor themed party.

I don't think my US history classes ever got beyond WWII. Anything more current was not really old enough for historical perspective, and teachers usually ran out of time by the end of the year--if they had to repeat anything, everything was pushed back. Of course, only high school history was sophisticated enough to actually address social issues--junior high and 5th grade were heroic great men, wars and battles.


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 7:53 AM
horizontal rule
13

11.2: My schools seemed to ignore it altogether, which is why it was never addressed. Some of that was because the administrators seemed to think that we're California... all that ugly racism was a part of the south's history, but we're post-racial now. (Or, more likely, they had no good way to handle it, so they ignored it and hoped it'd go away.)


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 7:57 AM
horizontal rule
14

11.2: My schools seemed to ignore it altogether, which is why it was never addressed. Some of that was because the administrators seemed to think that we're California... all that ugly racism was a part of the south's history, but we're post-racial now. (Or, more likely, they had no good way to handle it, so they ignored it and hoped it'd go away.)


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 7:57 AM
horizontal rule
15

I think it might have come up in my AP history course, but nowhere else.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:01 AM
horizontal rule
16

My high school history teacher skipped WWII to cover Vietnam and Nixon. He seemed to think the most important things we could learn in his class were that Nixon wasn't that big of an asshole by the standards of his contemporaries and that the Tet Offensive was only a defeat for the U.S. because the Spiro Agnew was right about the media.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:01 AM
horizontal rule
17

I really have a hard time buying the 'ignorance' claim. For any individual, "I've literally never heard of blackface being offensive" is barely possible. Once you've got a bunch of people throwing a party, that no one thought of it as an issue seems really unlikely -- either someone brought it up and was ignored, or there was an actively hostile environment to anyone raising concerns about offensiveness.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
18

7. So did I. It featured Lawrence Olivier and Maggie Smith.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:05 AM
horizontal rule
19

I think it might have come up in my AP history course, but nowhere else.

At home, ever? Or in conversation generally? Because school is not the only place things ever come up.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:05 AM
horizontal rule
20

I wonder if the party featured their dates trying to stand nearly immobile next to them without smiling or changing facial expression?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:06 AM
horizontal rule
21

It's supper highly possible for two 18 year olds getting dressed for the party. Even if they know it, abstractly, in history class, that's different from knowing it while they debate dresses for the party.

Once they're at the party, I'm sure someone there knows it's offensive, but I don't trust that person to take the girls aside and explain it to them, rather than snap a photo and giggle while they post it to FB.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:07 AM
horizontal rule
22

19: Oh god, of course it came up elsewhere. But presumably, for these girls, they do not come from tidy liberal families who expose their kids to such things.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:08 AM
horizontal rule
23

21: Okay, but throwing a "dress-up as a black singer" party in a mostly white school, without some kind of thought about how to keep that sort of thing happening, seems to me to be on the party organizers.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:09 AM
horizontal rule
24

Where's the bright line between spray-on tans and blackface?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:11 AM
horizontal rule
25

I recall, vaguely, saying something in fourth or fifth grade like "We learned about the civil rights movement already! And the year before, too!" I suppose they thought the lesson hadn't taken.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:11 AM
horizontal rule
26

I guess, I'm assuming there's a climate of culpable anti-PCism that's keeping the people who know not to do this kind of idiotic thing from getting the message across generally before some 'innocent' nitwit makes an offensive fool of herself.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:11 AM
horizontal rule
27

Where's the bright line between spray-on tans and blackface?

The decollete.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:12 AM
horizontal rule
28

I am so with LB and RFTS, forget school this is taught at home. (It should be taught in school as well but there is no excuse to not teach it at home.) I hope their parents are ashamed and I mean that literally.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:13 AM
horizontal rule
29

The class of 2019 has never known a world where the words "Ted Danson", "Whoopi Goldberg", and "Friars Club" appeared together in a sentence.


Posted by: R. rubrum | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:14 AM
horizontal rule
30

In the future, frats should just proactively put "no blackface" on all of their party fliers, regardless of theme.

3: With some reasonable assumptions, that's true regardless of the base you're rocking out in.

I'm usually pretty good with arithmetic but when I'm really tired I've used calculators for almost-as-stupid computations. You should have told them a local mom's one weird trick for dividing by ten.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
31

21,23: Yes, the organizers should have thought it through or provided a "don't be stupid" addendum at the end of the party description.

22: Actually, I don't think I was ever exposed to blackface in any context--I've never been one to watch old timey movies or TV shows (where it would be a little more common). Of course, I also wasn't the kind of kid to go to large parties, so warning me may not not have been as necessary.


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
32

I am so with LB and RFTS, forget school this is taught at home. (It should be taught in school as well but there is no excuse to not teach it at home.) I hope their parents are ashamed and I mean that literally.

Jesus christ, I'm not condoning the parents/school system that produced these girls.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:17 AM
horizontal rule
33

So what's your point? I'm confused.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:19 AM
horizontal rule
34

Where's the bright line between spray-on tans and blackface?

The best way to find out is to throw a "dress up as George Hamilton" theme party and see whether or not people are offended.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
35

So what's your point? I'm confused.

That it's highly plausible to me that the girls were that naive. I'm not celebrating their naivete and giving them high-fives.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:22 AM
horizontal rule
36

Where's the bright line between spray-on tans and blackface?

I am pretty sure I've seen women with spray-on tans that resulted in them having darker skin tone than Beyonce. She's not that dark.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
37

It usually has more red undertones and less olive undertones, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:29 AM
horizontal rule
38

Was this the UCLA thing? I was kind of grateful to them for creating a racial incident on campus that was about something other than Israel. From the stories it did look pretty unlikely that it was a deliberate racial provocation, not that that makes it OK. Still seems incredible that you could be on the UCLA campus and not figure out that this was a bad idea.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:29 AM
horizontal rule
39

36: That's why she's deployed strategic blackface herself.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:30 AM
horizontal rule
40

I can't really pop in this thread until lunchtime, but I will say that IME a big part of the problem is not that nobody knows it's wrong, it's that people are way too scared of being labeled Humorless (tm) for objecting to it, even mildly. (e.g. "Hey guys, maybe we should put a little note on the invitations so nobody gets the wrong idea?")

On the other hand, if you do embrace the Humorless label, that does tend to mean that people will actively work to prevent you from finding out about things because they know you'll raise a stink.

On the third hand, it does function as a very good signaling effect -- some people, once they find out you are Humorless (tm), will be more likely to trust you and to come to you with innovative/creative ideas that they don't trust the blackface-wearers to listen to.

In conclusion: Be a good person! It's the right thing to do for yourself AND others!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:31 AM
horizontal rule
41

38: Nah. Not Texas, but super rural state at a tiny university.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:32 AM
horizontal rule
42

40 is super right. I personally loathed admitting to myself that I had to start being Humorless. Especially around misogyny.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:34 AM
horizontal rule
43

In my experience, people who throw parties with specifically-created themes (as opposed to throwing a Halloween party on or about October 31 or something) are a special kind of people that are only allowed to exist because once in a great while something brilliant comes along to count against the toll of bad taste and forced merriment.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:38 AM
horizontal rule
44

26 to 40, which I think is right. What I called 'culpable anti-PCism' was meant to be the same thing Witt is calling not wanting to be Humorless, or pressuring other people not to be Humorless. The bad people in this story aren't really the nitwits in blackface, they're whoever is making it hard to communicate that blackface is a bad idea.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:41 AM
horizontal rule
45

Those two groups probably overlap more than just a bit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:44 AM
horizontal rule
46

40: I more or less agree, but I don't think we should concede too much to genuinely humorless people, as though pointing out that throwing a blackface party is a terrible idea were the exclusive province of grim scolds.

There aught to be healthy middle ground between pointing out that obviously offensive racist shit is offensive and racist on the one hand, and circulating angry tumblr memes about how making hummus is cultural appropriation on the other.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:48 AM
horizontal rule
47

Don't worry, Heebie. We all knew you were humorless all along.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:55 AM
horizontal rule
48

When I think of offensive blackface I think of something like Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer with the exaggerated lips and white gloves. Just darkening the skin doesn't register to me as that awful. I know that it is offensive and ought not be done, but it doesn't strike me as racist in the same way. I could easily see naive teenagers thinking that as long as they stay away from the classic showbiz blackface look they are not in offensive territory.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:55 AM
horizontal rule
49

Don't worry, Heebie. We all knew you were humorless all along.

I'M NOT HUMORLESS.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:57 AM
horizontal rule
50

There aught to be healthy middle ground between pointing out that obviously offensive racist shit is offensive and racist on the one hand, and circulating angry tumblr memes about how making hummus is cultural appropriation on the other.

I wholeheartedly agree that there *ought* to be, but my overwhelming personal experience is that the nicest, most tactful, most low-key "pointing out" is interpreted by a large slice of the American population as "grim scolding."


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 8:59 AM
horizontal rule
51

Or reverse racism.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:01 AM
horizontal rule
52

In second grade, I had the role of Coretta Scott King in a class play. My parents explained to me that dark makeup was not appropriate.

But yeah, it's hard to embrace the Humorless position. I can at least joke that it's (closely connected to) my job, but it's frustrating to have to be That Feminist. The nice thing about my life now is that I'm rarely the only one.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:06 AM
horizontal rule
53

I once had a student ask me, basically, what's the best way to derail his fraternity's theme party (along the lines of bros-n-hos or cinqo de mayo) that would obviously involve awfulness; he was worried about being The Humorless Guy and having his objection ignored on grounds of being humorless, because some people were really enthused about the idea. I think we went with the pragmatic approach of telling the bros that he had asked me, as not completely awful faculty member, and I was very, very confident that the administration would lose its shit over this and would come down hard on the frat, so if they did it they would all be sad. Crisis averted.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
54

Drinko de Mayo?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:09 AM
horizontal rule
55

50: Definitely true. I just don't think we need to accept the equation. "Pointing out that a blackface party is a bad idea isn't humorless, it's just common sense" is the position I'd rather argue, as opposed to "people who care about racism should dare to be humorless and point out that throwing a blackface party is a bad idea".


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:11 AM
horizontal rule
56

36: That's why she's deployed strategic blackface herself.

Wow, that is . . . something.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
57

I surmise that the party organizers themselves were gigglingly treading a line that they knew perfectly well existed. We live in the age of tumblr/vines/etc where this stuff is pretty routinely discussed and I think it's difficult to be a young person with an online life today and not encounter some kind of "dressing up as other races is considered dubious by many people" idea. I suspect this type of party gets thrown by the same kind of person who is all "why can't I say the n-word, I have black friends".

I also surmise that the problem is that white people tend to dismiss how viscerally awful pervasive racism feels. I surmise this based on noticing many people dismiss how viscerally awful, e.g. constant catcalling or petty homophobia are to live with. So even if young, socially clueless white people know that blackface is held by some people to be bad, there's still a "well, it's not that bad really, maybe some people are offended but that's just their opinion and you can't please everyone" sentiment involved.

For the actual two girls, well, better to get this kind of thing out of the way now when it will get read as youthful foolery than to do something later. I am sure it's pretty tough to face the world, and I certainly do sympathize with that, but if they are sincere in dealing with it and sincere in apologizing, it will blow over. People will remember at their school, true, but I think that if they're proactive about saying "it was a really dumb thing that I regret now; I didn't understand how bad it was and would never do it now that I know" (and of course, act with probity in general) people will let it go.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
58

It isn't just the students. There was a local bar that used a bit of racist alliteration to announce a special on Corona every Wednesday. I think they stopped pretty quickly in response to complaints and a bit of graffiti.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
59

On the third hand,

Not required but helpful for counting in base 11.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:17 AM
horizontal rule
60

58: I missed that; which one?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:19 AM
horizontal rule
61

The Garage.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
62

I surmise that the party organizers themselves were gigglingly treading a line that they knew perfectly well existed.

I bet this is true. I agree with those above who said that the organizers were culpable when they didn't put a disclaimer on the flyer.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:25 AM
horizontal rule
63

If a Drinko de Mayo party is wrong I don't want to be right.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:26 AM
horizontal rule
64

If a Drinko de Mayo party is wrong I don't want to be right.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:26 AM
horizontal rule
65

Was this the UCLA thing?

The Kanye Western party.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:27 AM
horizontal rule
66

Also, I mean, what is even the point of this kind of party except to gigglingly walk a line? If there were a huge culture of, like, Taylor Swift-themed frat parties or something, so that we knew that Beyonce parties, etc, were located in a tradition of dressing up as famous people generally, that might be plausible.

There are lots of club nights where the theme is basically "dress in a louche fashion and get drunk" and yet somehow those manage to avoid making it about race.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:41 AM
horizontal rule
67

One problem is that parties that are slightly transgressive are fun, at least inasmuch as theme parties are fun, and it's not totally surprising that some kids get the acceptable lines wrong.

In reality, I suspect that there are two variants of these kinds of parties -- some really are intentionally racially provocative and contain a more or less explicit bonding-through-racism message (this seems to me like what Oklahoma SAE guy was doing). Others kind of blunder into it with vague ideas about what's funny and end up inadveretently crossing a line from bad taste and stupid to just "no" (an "I'm Rick James, Bitch!" party, for example, just thinking about black things that stupid white dudes used as a catchphrase).


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:45 AM
horizontal rule
68

Oh man, who wants to plan a Halfordismo-themed party???


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:48 AM
horizontal rule
69

Paleo-approved snack food is too expensive. And I don't know where to buy beerf.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:52 AM
horizontal rule
70

Y'all have inspired me to post a link to the UCLA story on my professorial account at the other place so that I could remind students not to do this, not to let their friends do this, and to be proactive if their social organizations are risking this. The past couple of years I've discussed "dressing up as cultural stereotypes" prior to Halloween in classes in which the topic is relevant, so maybe I've even made a small difference.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:54 AM
horizontal rule
71

I mean, the bigger problem is that (many, not all) fraternities are whites-only clubs* to a fairly unusual extent for this day and age, so the answer to the question "which SAE party was super racist" is, in reality, all of them.

Of course, the black fraternities are black-only clubs, which is only a problem if you are an ignoramus and know nothing about history.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:55 AM
horizontal rule
72

68 -- come over tonight, the theme is "no pants."


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:55 AM
horizontal rule
73

I don't get the naive framing. When I think about the blunders my mock trial students inevitably commit and the general lack of slack they are cut I just cannot wrap my head around reaching for a passive formulation of oh well it's plausible they are that naive. So here I am, humorless and don't have a problem with it.

Also everything Frowner said, including if they handle it appropriately the whole incident is very unlikely to have any lasting negative effects on their life prospects, and I hope they do handle it appropriately.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:57 AM
horizontal rule
74

Hell, if the only thing a student remembers from my class is that dressing up as racial stereotypes is wrong, and that they should prevent other people from doing it, I think I'll still consider that a win.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:57 AM
horizontal rule
75

Hell, if the only thing a student remembers from my class is that dressing up as racial stereotypes is wrong, and that they should prevent other people from doing it, I think I'll still consider that a win.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:57 AM
horizontal rule
76

I've lowered my standards twice!


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 9:59 AM
horizontal rule
77

71.2: Really? That's not true anywhere I know of, at least. All the historically black fraternities and sororities I know of have had at least some non-black members.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 10:00 AM
horizontal rule
78

It seems that if one knows what blackface is, one has an inkling that it's offensive. There's probably some kind of unspoken pact at work--if I don't mention it, no one else will mention it, and if no one mentions it, it can't be racist, because we're not racists!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 10:02 AM
horizontal rule
79

J, you've seen the Ohio University "We're a culture, not a costume" posters that make the rounds this time every year, right? Apparently students often respond well.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 10:03 AM
horizontal rule
80

72: It's BYOCrocodile, isn't it, though? I'm so underprepared.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 10:03 AM
horizontal rule
81

I'm sure you're right, though I never met a non-black member of my buddy's black fraternity, but more broadly it's pretty clear that the black fraternities are primarily about being black and they neither are nor are trying to be integrated institutions. To be clear, I think that's fine, but that's the reality.

I also suspect that even most very very whites-only fraternities and sororities have a sprinkling of non-white members these days, for plausible deniability if nothing else, but it doesn't stop (some) of them from being, for 2015, locuses of a peculiarly and particularly whites-only culture.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 10:10 AM
horizontal rule
82

80 -- pants-free croc wrestling is a fun and non-offensive theme, open to all creeds, colors, and genders, though it might offend Buttercup as potentially Australian.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 10:15 AM
horizontal rule
83

78: Yep! I typically have the students read a post or two from Native Appropriations as well.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 10:22 AM
horizontal rule
84

74: And yet I bet you'll still give them a terrible grade.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 10:41 AM
horizontal rule
85

I never went to any frat parties, but the only one I remember at all was one that was advertised with posters saying, "They said she'd never go down..."

Titanic-themed. But people at my very apolitical and un-PC* institution pretty much all agreed it was douchey.

*as in, PC wasn't really a thing on campus either way; I read about it in Newsweek or something, because it just wasn't something either side talked about much. And this is in the early '90s, peak PC.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
86

We used to throw parties wit the theme "Give us $5 and we'll give you a red cup for holding what comes out of these kegs." My roommates were very P.C. One of them was one of those "gun dealers" like they had back before they were required to sell guns to be a dealer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 10:46 AM
horizontal rule
87

I don't get the naive framing. When I think about the blunders my mock trial students inevitably commit and the general lack of slack they are cut I just cannot wrap my head around reaching for a passive formulation of oh well it's plausible they are that naive. So here I am, humorless and don't have a problem with it.

You're using my words, but it seems like you're imputing that I'm condoning what they did. Which I did not do. I'm not excusing it. There are tons of cues in the OP that I'm not excusing it. I'm just saying I think the crime was born of ignorance.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
88

Specifically:

1. "the university came down (appropriately) hard on the girls."
2. "But sometimes big consequences are appropriate."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 10:55 AM
horizontal rule
89

66: I can see this coming about mostly innocently. Why would I put "no blackface" on an invitation? (I mean, I've been invited to a costume party. No one has mentioned not dressing up in ethnic costumes, because my friends don't need to.) It's 2015! Who the hell would do that, especially because Beyonce is known for her really creative, crazy costumes? And it's two girls out of the entire sorority, so everyone else managed to put two and two together.

Still wrong, because intent really doesn't matter in this type of case, and someone should have thought twice. But I can totally see "omg costume party! yeah, I have blonde hair just like Beyonce....you know, we'd look even more like her with a really dark spray tan... " being the line of thought rather than "Blackface is so cool, but so un-PC, so we'll just walk the line."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 10:56 AM
horizontal rule
90

Don't worry, Heebie. We all knew you were humorless and racist all along.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 10:57 AM
horizontal rule
91

88 sounds like the intro to a bad porn.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 10:57 AM
horizontal rule
92

Or a good one, maybe, if there's careful casting and attention to the narrative.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 10:59 AM
horizontal rule
93

It seems that if one knows what blackface is, one has an inkling that it's offensive.

I'm not sure what this means. When you say, "knows what blackface is", do you mean, "is aware of minstrel-style makeup and performance," or do you mean "would ever consider coloring one's skin for a costume"? Because I don't think that the latter is obviously/a priori a problem. If your consciousness hasn't been raised, I'm not sure it's super-obvious why an afro wig is offensive but "British" teeth aren't.

Note: I'm not trying to argue that it isn't offensive; I'm just saying that the reason it's offensive--aside from the specific history of blackface--is the appropriation part, which has to do with power dynamics and such, which are simply not part of the discourse for white American 18-y.o.s. I agree that, at this point, it's been the source of enough social media outrage that kids should know better, but there's always new kids, and they always don't know stuff yet.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 10:59 AM
horizontal rule
94

What did they do exactly, to be Beyonce in "blackface"? She's pretty light brown. Did they actually rub soot on their faces?

I'm inclined to think that dressing up as Beyonce is not racist, though certain images are going to look racist even if the intention is not there.

Our elementary school had a project in which 3rd graders dressed up as famous people (as part of a biography project). One kid (and I wouldn't have let him, if I were a parent) painted his face black to be George Washington Carver (kid was Japanese/White). Since he was the only student to chose a Afrcian-AMerican man to study, I can't get too upset about the unfortunate black face costume.


Posted by: bj | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 11:50 AM
horizontal rule
95

Also really don't mind bollywood parties -- which are not featured in the "a culture not a costume" posters that I saw. Really, for me, it all depends on how it's done. I guess I want to see some authentic representation of the culture with the costume.


Posted by: bj | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 11:54 AM
horizontal rule
96

Can't get upset at the kid, sure. Warn him that he was accidentally offensive and not to paint his face black to dress up as a black man in future, though.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 11:56 AM
horizontal rule
97

I hope somebody old that kid later. Third grade is a bit different from college. I remember in first grade my son had taken to drawing (backward) swastikas because he had asked about a Falun Gong after seeing some protests and that's the image Wikipedia gives you. That was awkward.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 11:57 AM
horizontal rule
98

Before seeing 96.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 11:58 AM
horizontal rule
99

I don't know how you'd distinguish "George Washington Carver" from "black male, circa 100 years ago." I guess holding a giant peanut?

In conclusion, school projects suck.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 11:59 AM
horizontal rule
100

swastikas because he had asked about a Falun Gong after seeing some protests and that's the image Wikipedia gives you. That was awkward

That kind of think is going to happen more and more. That Jude image from a week or so ago is another example, this time involving an intern, apparently.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 12:18 PM
horizontal rule
101

||
These people say they didn't intend to frighten children, but even if they didn't I think it would have been a pretty great idea.
|>


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 2:07 PM
horizontal rule
102

||
Sigh...

Still, true American heroes I say.
|>


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 2:10 PM
horizontal rule
103

The true horror is play-on-opening video.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 2:13 PM
horizontal rule
104

You know there are ways to set your browser so it won't do that.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 4:40 PM
horizontal rule
105

I did not know that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-15 4:41 PM
horizontal rule
106

I think they just had fake goatees at the ucla party.


Posted by: Lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 10-11-15 9:31 PM
horizontal rule