Dear White People,

I address this to you because you, WE, are the main defenders of shit like this. The other day, a white lady knowingly painted her kid brown as a costume. She knew it was not politically correct and had been told it was a horrible idea but she did it anyway. She was proud of it. I can’t even begin to address the school that rewarded a kid who showed up in blackface.

Via Facebook/Constance Hall

Via Facebook/Constance Hall

In painting her son, this mum hurt the person her son was trying to emulate. She hurt other people of colour. There was literally no benefit to anyone to paint her child’s skin. He could have quite easily dressed as his hero without being painted.

Blackface is Bad, Okay?

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We know the history of blackface. Minstrels and mockery and the idea that being a person of colour is simply a grotesquerie that we can wash off when we are done. It’s not a flattering imitation or a symbol of hero worship. I would usually agree that intent matters and in this case, I can see the intent of the child was just to be like his hero.This mother, however, knew better. She had an opportunity to teach her son that race is not a costume, that painting his skin could hurt and offend people. This mother decided that she would instead teach him that it is okay to do whatever you want without regard for how it effects other people.

It’s Racist.

All the people defending this absolutely racist thing to do keep saying “but how is it racist?” and sharing dictionary definitions.

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Here’s how it’s racist. See the definition above? Note the bit about antagonism, for starters. Antagonism means active hostility or opposition.


Doing something that you know hurts, offends or contributed to the oppression of a group of people is pretty fucking antagonistic, don’t you think?

But maybe you aren’t being antagonistic because you don’t really think your race is superior, as specified in the definition of racist? Think about this. Many, many people of colour have said that blackface hurts, offends or otherwise negatively impacts them. If you are telling them they are wrong, you are saying that you know better than they do about how they should feel. Superior, much?

Seeing Race.

In discussions about this topic, I’ve noticed a lot of people arguing that it’s fine because they don’t even see race

This does not make you a more evolved or superior being. This makes you a bit of a knob, actually. You think you are somehow above racism if you claim you can’t see the colour of a person’s skin? Unless you are literally visually impaired in some way, you see race the same way anyone else does.

colourblind 2 colourblind

 Claiming you don’t see it does not make you a good person. It makes you someone who feels superior to others (superiority, again!) and it makes you someone who actively ignores a part of the person standing before you. Their culture, their history, their identity. If you “don’t see” race, then you “don’t see” racism. You’re part of the problem.

Politically Correct.

How many white people are moaning about being politically correct over this? As if being politically correct is a bad thing? Newsflash: being politically correct means not doing stuff that harms other people. You will not suffer, white people, if you go through life without ever using another person’s race as a costume. No harm will come to you by avoiding doing hurtful and racist stuff. You won’t be disadvantaged by never doing blackface. I promise.

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If you find yourself bitching and whinging about political correctness, just stop. Consider the fact that you are moaning and whining about not being able to freely hurt, insult, offend, oppress or otherwise harm a group of people. 

You want the “PC Police” to allow you to keep hurting, insulting, offending, oppressing or otherwise harming  others without calling you on it. You want to cling to shitty behaviour without being made to feel bad. Let that sink in.

It’s Okay to be Wrong.

I am wrong all the time on any number of things. You know what you do when you find out you’re wrong? You change your fucking position. It’s okay to do that. If needed, you even apologise. Most people will be fucking amazed if you try this out on the Internet. I highly recommend it. You say “Aw, shit, I did not realise that. I’m so sorry to anyone I may have upset or hurt. I know better now, thanks heaps for sharing that info.”  Then you carry on with your life, with your new knowledge. And you share it around when needed. You seek out more knowledge by listening to the voices of those people these issues effect.image

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Via Facebook/Briggs. An indigenous Australian artist you should follow.

We don’t get to choose how other people feel. We don’t get to decide if other people are hurt.

louis ck

Our world has a lot of problems when it comes to racism. We won’t change that until we, white people, acknowledge that and try to do better. It’s not difficult. We just have to listen, read and learn. It’s not rocket science.

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  • Mel Roworth

    I had known painting skin dark was a fopaux but never knew why. When it comes to down to it, I think some people activity choose to stay ignorant even when the reasons are thrust at them. Hopefully, like me, many more have chosen been educated in this matter now.

    • They sure do choose to. They ask why, you tell them, they argue with you. There’s no interest in learning to do better. Being open to being wrong is a huge character bonus IMO.

  • TeganMC

    I wonder how many of those jumping up and down about it not really being racist also hate being told by men that something isn’t sexist? Even if you removed racism from the equation, this falls under the ‘don’t be a dick rule’. If people tell you it’s hurtful, don’t expect high fives when you ignore them and do it anyway.

  • jess

    This is so helpful, thank you. Off to follow Briggs!

  • Hugzilla

    YOU are the fucking QUEEN.

    • Good grief, no! But I’m tickled that you said that 🙂 🙂

  • I think it was the wilfulness of the mother’s decision that made this even worse. Just a horrible thing to do made worse by the indifference to how it would make people feel. And then the school (the school!) endorses the behaviour. OMG, so shameful.

    I feel deeply for the little boy. I’ve seen his image everywhere and not everyone is respecting his privacy like they should.

    • I do feel for the boy. His mother and her childishly wilful decision to do something like this, knowing it was wrong, makes me sad for him. I hope they are sheltering him from this storm.

  • Stephanie Donley

    When you hear people say, “it’s just ridiculous”, ask them why.
    You don’t know what it’s like when the shoe is on the other foot, and you are the one growing up in a society where you are an outsider in your indigenous lands. You don’t know what it’s like to walk down the streets to see street signs and statues with the names of people who sport hunted your ancestors. Until you can find a lil empathy for what it must feel to be persecuted for the same reasons as your ancestors, for the colour of your skin, you don’t get to use it in your costumes. You only see the colour of such people’s skin, which is why you think it is a necessary part of the costume.
    Why is asking for a lil empathy so ridiculous?

    • Empathy- that is so important. Understanding, acceptance and decency. Not that hard, really.

  • OH I AM APPLAUDING EVERYTHING YOU’VE SAID!!!!!! YES!!!!
    We all have our prejudices and ignorant blind spots (it’s human nature), but wilfully choosing to stay uneducated and to express those inappropriately, resulting in hurting others, is honestly beyond me. That woman had so many red flags. So many. She ignored them all!
    I feel so much for that kid. He’s so innocent in all of this and sadly may not learn anything from it, if he feels (or is made to feel) his family has been unfairly victimised. I feel sorry for Constance Hall who never invited that post to her page. I feel sorry for Nic Naitanui who is straight out of surgery and had to deal with that crap – the media probably hounding him for comment right afterwards.
    Nic is one of my son’s footy heroes. But I would never paint him black if he wanted to dress like him.
    There are so many ways you can show you’re a certain recognisable character/hero without needing to ‘match’ the race. I feel sorry that this lady lacked imagination. I am always furious when I’m reduced down to nothing but my race (I’m Asian – I blogged about it in the last week or two even). While it is a part of me that I have learned to celebrate, I am so so so much more than that. I cannot speak for people like Nic Naitanui but I think it can be insulting to be reduced to your race as being your defining characteristic. I think it is actually racist to do so!!

    • I agree that it is. We are so much more than race. And the history of painting your skin like this and the fact that it still hurts people should be more than enough to earn people to stop. Even if they don’t understand why, they can accept and act accordingly. It’s not that hard.

    • SkyeWard

      Half the country would not even have noticed the woman’s post if Constance had of deleted it and just sent her a private message instead of announcing the deleted post to her whole fan base. Sorry but as much as I think she’s a fantastic person and means well the child’s well being could have been thought out a bit more by everybody involved. But who cares right he’s just a kid?

      • No one that I have seen is shaming the child. No one. Every single one is calling out the mother. As I have done here.

        • SkyeWard

          The media recycling his picture 100000000 times is enough to make any child feel embrassed. In the digital age nobody can say at his age he won’t see it. Its wrong.

          His mother is a knob. But what if it was you who made the mistake. I would be begging the media to show my face instead and just leave my child alone.

          • I have no doubt he’ll see it at some point. I somehow doubt the mum that exposed him to all this is sheltering him but I truly hope I’m wrong. The fact that the school rewarded this appalling act also tells me that everyone in his community knows exactly who he is. Whose fault is that? His mother’s. His school’s.
            His mum had an opportunity to educate. She threw it in the bin. The school reinforced her extremely unwise, hurtful choice. Together, they made sure he learned the lesson- that race as a costume is hurtful, offensive and steeped in an oppressive history- in a very hard way.
            His mum didn’t make a mistake. She did this wilfully and knowing it offensive. She is clearly unrepentant. She said everyone told her not to do it but she did it anyway- she damn sure knew it was wrong, offensive and hurtful. And I note she is has not been showing her face in the media or asking for her child’s image to be removed- the image she posted of him in a public forum to begin with. She’s apparently been to busy inciting people to threaten Constance Hall.
            It’s anger and hurt towards this mother (whose name I blurted out, I might add, to protect the identity of her child) that I have seen. And bewilderment that someone would do this to their child. I have not seen anyone criticise the boy at all.

          • SkyeWard

            I never once suggested anyone criticized the boy. It doesn’t take critisicm to feel shamed. Merely the viral sharing of the picture a billion times is enough. Its so offensive yet its everywhere in my news feed.

            I’m not having a go at you or saying your opinion is wrong. I’m suggesting as bloggers we need to stop sending the image around the globe a million fecking times.

            The pond scum media I expect it from because they make a living off people making shitty choices.

            Its just a personal opinion. Not saying anybody is a bad person. Its the “done thing” when your writing an article to include the image that is hurting everyone – including the boy. I’m probably the only person on the planet that thinks that’s just stupid.

          • Your mentioned shaming the boy several times- all I’m
            getting at is that no one is shaming him- it’s his mum that’s the target. As for the pic- his face is well blurred out. I’d never have shared it if it could identify him. If only his mum had shown him that same little consideration. I shared it because it was what I was writing about. Even the content here isn’t aimed at him though. I feel for the kid.

          • SkyeWard

            I think we don’t understand each others views and thats okay. We would be boring if we all agreed on every thing. I agree with you that mum should have never proudly behaved like this. A lesson learnt the hard way.

      • Constance was not going to comment, but was advised (correctly it would seem) that the media would be calling/hounding her for comment as the mother of the child had declared her wilful blunder for all to see on a public page with a very large following. She shamed her own child by default – exposing him online – which is very sad. Had she kept it to herself, made a better decision on advice of family and friends, not tried to get praise from her ‘queen’ Constance, then his image would be safe from the scrutiny of a nation. I don’t think anyone cares to shame the child. I am sad his image has been circulated (blurred or not) but had she not willingly provided it publicly (which is different to if an image is stolen or copied from a private space), this wouldn’t have happened.

  • I love the Louis CK quote.

  • Kirsty @ My Home Truths

    I love all of this, especially the bit where it’s okay for people to realise they are wrong and to apologise and move on – why does this seem to be so hard?

    • I’m always so floored when I see it and so pleased that the person was big enough to do it. More of that, please, Internet!

  • Louis CK really sums it up. I would say “that’s all you need to know” but history and details are important to learn. Maybe his comment is the launchpad for details.

    • Exactly, they are. But if one can’t manage the learning, it’s a great start!

  • Not exactly setting a great example for her child is she?! I overheard this being discussed a couple of days ago and someone mentioned that it’s okay for men to dress as women (they were talking about the show Mrs Brown) and saying it’s funny, not sexist. It took all of my willpower to say it’s not funny and I do find it kinda sexist that a man and dresses up as a woman and behaves in a bizarre and exaggerated way.

    • Mrs Brown is an interesting one- it’s so clearly a bloke I a dress and such funny banter but yes, there’s an interesting element there of sexism. I’d never considered that! Thanks for sharing!

  • Maggie McGary

    I can’t believe the houha about what this Mum did. This football player was her son’s idol and he wanted to be exactly like him – certainly flattering. So to be truly like him, he needed to be black. The son didn’t care if he was black or white, he wanted to be exactly like his idol – he was honouring him and honouring his race. This political correctness is such bullshit – my daughter went dressed to book week dressed as a cat and I painted her face to look like a cat. I wonder if I’ve pissed off all the cat owners around the world……..F*cken lighten up people! Constance, you’re a great Mum

  • Thank you Em!

  • This is wrong on so many levels and I am appalled that it is racist…and it’s…I cant say any more. Honestly and truly, does this ‘woman’ who gives herself the name starting with Q think she is actually right in any way on this matter? I can’t write any more. I am incredibly saddened by a school’s compliance in ‘giving out a prize’ for it.. What?

  • Bree

    *fist pumping* Great post! I love how raw and emotion filled your post is – this is most definitely something we should ALL feel strongly about. Blackface is wrong and it is time to STOP.

  • SkyeWard

    I don’t agree with Blackface. Although in this situation (the boy) – technically it was not Blackface the way history defines the use of the theatrical dressing of a black person. Does not make it right (I realize this) but what is not ok is the constant circulation of this young boys photo – even blurred out and dragging him through this. He is a child. He was innocent in this whole situation. He will be forever known for this in his community.

    Give him a break. Its not OK to say the N word either but little white assholes down at the skate park are saying it all the time.

    This kid idolised his hero and because of his mothers ignorance and others he is now shamed. Ready dissapointing.

    Have an opinion but stop putting this childs photo through the wringer.

    • Blackface is historically the theatrical dressing of a white person as a black person- an important distinction. The harm such things did is far reaching.
      His picture is blurred out. You can’t expect people not to use it in this discussion. He is not the object of anyone’s ire though- I’ve not seen one person shame him. Only his willfully arrogant, unempathetic and callous mother who bragged about knowingly doing the wrong thing. The post she made was already in distribution before Constance deleted and commented about the matter- as she should have.

  • Lisa Shearon

    THANK YOU for making sense of this. I knew it was wrong, but I couldn’t quite put it into words. You nailed it, again: don’t hurt people. Pretty fucking simple, really. x