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November 10, 2012
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body art and ethnicity

:iconfra-ni:
fra-ni Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012
Hello,

I was at a small get-together the other day and was telling people about how I painted my face as a black person the night day before. My intention was to get across that I am a fabulous dresser and I painted myself in such a way that was tasteful and in sink with my colorful personality.

So what I thought was a good natured innocent thing backfired on me completely and everyone in the room suddenly treated me like I just did something very racist. I am not racist of course and I love all the races equally. Also, no one displayed any offense at the party I was at when I was face painted.

I remain ignorant to the idea that painting yourself as another race in order to make yourself look pretty and alluring is a racist thing to do. Those who I explained this too felt it still to be racist anyway, but why should it be?! Should the known fact that a history of cruel violence exists around an art form prevent us from using that art form to create a beauty that at most shares minor visual (not even stylistic) traits with its predecessors?

If someone can help me realize how much of a racist I am by what I have done then I am eager to find out how wrong I am.

Thanks,
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Devious Comments

:iconcouchycreature:
CouchyCreature Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
you don't need more people to tell you how wrong you are, just a few telling you that it was probably a bad choice and wrong. How wrong is irrelevant really unless you really believe that it wasn't wrong at all.
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:iconscythepuppet:
scythepuppet Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Minstrel shows are generally regarded as very old-school propaganda. Although it was a form of entertainment, it also served to misinform the public about black people, to make them seem clownish, servile, absurd, sinister. When stuff like that is your only contact with black people, the lies stick, even if they're transparently lies. It introduces a pattern of thinking that confirmation bias will reinforce later. If it's not your only contact, well, it can just be painful to watch.

You're not a racist--your intentions were fine. Almost weirdly admirable. However, this is the sort of thing where you have to appreciate how other people are taking your actions. As soon as that makeup goes on, everything you do will be interpreted as your imitation of a black person, and that can veer into offensive really quickly. Ever heard a comedian do a "white guy voice"?

People generally don't like to see someone transparently pretending to be something they're not, and costumes are generally regarded as mocking. Whether you intend it to or not, having someone copying you is generally not as complimentary in this context.
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:iconmercury-crowe:
Mercury-Crowe Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
It's 'offensive' because people used to put on blackface to play insulting characters.

People get way to offended over this stuff now.
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:iconmpsai:
MPsai Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012   Digital Artist
...Why didn't you just get a tan?
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:iconladyzelda1:
LadyZelda1 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012
racist is only what the government says - but then area 51 doesn't exist.
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:iconladyzelda1:
LadyZelda1 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012
weirdos
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:iconladyzelda1:
LadyZelda1 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012
Al Jolson did it and no one harped on him. People are just too politically correct and are too afraid of Big Brother. You wusses!
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:icondoctorv23:
DoctorV23 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012
Black face could be done tastefully and in a non=racist way, yeah, why not. (Theatrical make up is generally for portraying something without actually being that something). There was even a vaudeville performer Bert Williams [link] who did black face and actually was black.
That said, there is an unfortunate history of racist satire and stereotyping there, but with very mixed elements as well. [link].
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:iconrockstar1009:
rockstar1009 Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Lots of people are racist cunts and have no idea they are being completely fucking disgusting. Another fine example: [link]

How is that any better than Blackface? I'll never know. :no:
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:iconfra-ni:
fra-ni Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012
It felt like one of many great ways to beautify myself as I am very narcissistic.

I looked at some examples of black faces done in the past and found that those face paintings were a lot more extreme than how mine looked. I made my skin a luscious copper with gold blush, fine eyeliner, and a mole. I also painted my goatee and mustache black. The event I was at was featuring artwork showing images of Snoop Dogg.

I know now to tread lightly when doing this or avoid it completely. We might as well ban all forms of art because they can all be traced back to a history of racism no?
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:iconblack-allison:
Black-Allison Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012
History always bears strength on something. For example when Yves Saint Larent released an perfume called Opium in a little bottle with 'Oriental' designs people were offended and you probably can't find a bottle of that stuff in China today because it recalls up painful national memores.

It's a question of appropriateness. I've seen people done black-face as a form of art for performances or such. However once it is outside justifiable situations it becomes pretty controversial. I don't think what you did was racist. I think it was inappropriate. It's like coming into Sunday mass at a Catholic church and start asking the ladies next to you about the fight you had with your same sex lover over the amount of money they blew on getting a skull tattoo on their chest.
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:iconcaptainfantasy:
CaptainFantasy Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012
You couldn't have been that oblivious and ignorant to know that painting your face to 'look black' would have some negative connotations, oh 'lover of all races' person. Instead of being defensive and turning this into a 'why me?!' pity party, learn from this strange misguided incident and move on. I'm sure on here you'll get a post or two standing up for your 'artistic integrity', but back on earth you'll simply look like a painted-up clown on their way to a minstrel show.
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:iconladyzelda1:
LadyZelda1 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012
So if you are Christian, fat, or an alien, it is okay to pick on someone. Other than that it is racist. Lame
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:iconcaptainfantasy:
CaptainFantasy Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012
What the hell are you talking about? What you said has no bearing on this conversation, and has nothing to do with what I just said. I was actually saying you should be empathetic towards others and try to understand why they might be offended. I don't know how you got that I was telling people to pick on others. But wonders never cease.
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:iconladyzelda1:
LadyZelda1 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012
You are racist, no doubt about it. Deactivate and save us the embarrassment of having some racist among us. For shame!
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:iconfra-ni:
fra-ni Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012
I don't quite care for pity here...

As a matter of fact I have a physical attraction to all races and sexes, so knowing this about myself makes me appalled to find out that what I have done was bigotry!

So interpret what I just wrote in whatever mischievous way you can find to make me seem like a racist person. And be satisfied with that I suppose.
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:iconcaptainfantasy:
CaptainFantasy Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012
Okay, I know you're from Canada, but you don't seem to be from Mars or anything. Surely you know something about blackface before, and how it's frowned upon because of past history. It was just one of the many ways to dehumanize and demean blacks in the past, and no matter your personal intentions, it can obviously be taken the wrong way. I don't think you're an irredeemable racist or anything, but I just think you didn't realize the whole implications of doing that beforehand. And my advice was, instead of being defensive about this, try to empathize with the people who might be offended by what you did.
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:iconfra-ni:
fra-ni Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012
I can certainly agree with what you're saying. It's obviously a touchy subject and I was displaying irritation about this fact.

And yes, I totally did what I did without thinking as while I was doing it I was only thinking how awesome it looked on me. This is a link to how it looked. And if anyone is offended then I am very sorry and I wish no harm by it.

[link]
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:iconladyzelda1:
LadyZelda1 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012
It is not about blacks now. They are accepted. It is about Mexicans trying to reconquest America in revenge for losing California. And they are doing it, bit by bit.
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:iconcaptainfantasy:
CaptainFantasy Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012
Where is this coming from now? I have no interest in your conspiracy theories about Mexicans retaking California out of revenge. That sounds fucking batshit. The central valley is a godforsaken wasteland anyway, so if they want at it, they can have it for all that I care.
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:iconladyzelda1:
LadyZelda1 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012
You are deluded. Wait til they take over your town.
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:icontrorbes:
Trorbes Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012
FYI: White people don't get to determine what races are 'accepted' in society.
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:iconladyzelda1:
LadyZelda1 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012
It is like the Chinese have come to take over America. Red Dawn has become real.
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:icondablackx:
DaBlackX Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012
I wouldn't consider what you did "racist", just treading a fine line.
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:iconhippo-rim-job:
hippo-rim-job Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
So continue spending time with the people from the first get together and not the second.

And try to avoid the phrase porch monkey.
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:iconsavwolf1:
savwolf1 Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012
What 'Nokari said.
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:iconemilyericson:
emilyericson Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Agreed.
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:iconnokari:
nokari Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
So the moral of the story here is that you did something unintentionally racist and you still don't understand that what you did is rooted in racist history that the majority of the civilized world finds offensive.

Black face is not tasteful and I don't see how you would think that coloring yourself similar to another race's skin was necessary for you to get across your idea... That itself shows that you attribute certain characteristics or personalities as only seen in black people. Whether you really think that way or not, that's what other people will think. People from all other races share the same traits and adopt the same personalities, so why would you think you needed to make yourself look like a different race?

Maybe the problem here is that you just need a history lesson. While you think it's art, until we live in a world where other people agree, you shouldn't do it unless you're prepared to deal with the consequences of people's offended reactions to it.
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:iconpakaku:
Pakaku Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012
Your answer lies here: [link]
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