March 07, 2014
8. NO, BUT SLAVERY, THOUGH
Slavery is such a protected topic that very few Americans seem to know anything about it. Slavery is still going strong in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. I asked the author of The Redneck Manifesto for an update and he said,
Last estimate I saw is that there are 30 million slaves worldwide at the moment, nearly half of them in India. 400,000 Africans were transported to America, and at the peak of slavery, there were 4 million in America. Also at the peak, a whopping SIX percent of white Southerners owned slaves and, it is to be assumed, nearly no Northerners. Smearing 100% of their descendants, many of whose ancestors weren’t even in the fucking country in 1860, is quite a stretch.
When you make slavery an unassailable taboo, you cryogenically freeze the notion that blacks were ruined by oppression and have no future because they were born into a country that hates them. That does more damage than any racist could do.
9. AMERICA’S WEALTH IS BUILT ON SLAVERY
If that’s true, how did the North possess the wealth and industrial might that enabled them to win the Civil War? After the Civil War, the South was scorched earth. The balance sheet was zero. Any wealth that was built on slavery was gone.
10. JOCKS WEAR BLACKFACE ON HALLOWEEN TO BE CRUEL
Intent is an important part of the law, but it’s not an important part of comedy. You do know that on Halloween, your kid isn’t literally Frankenstein when he goes door-to-door collecting candy, right? It’s the same with acting and clowning around on stage. You’re pretending. When Dave Chappelle does “White News” or Martin Lawrence does “White Bob from Marketing” or Eddie Murphy clenches his butt cheeks in White Like Me or Ike and Tina wear whiteface or the Wayans brothers become White Chicks, they are doing funny parodies of white people. Have you ever seen the way The Simpsons portrays poor white Southerners? Virtually all rednecks, no matter how disadvantaged, are depicted this way. I don’t want such depictions banned. They should be judged not on their potential to hurt someone’s feelings but on how funny they are.
11. IT IMPLIES BLACKS SHUCK AND JIVE AND BUG OUT THEIR EYES
Do they not? Did they not? Chris Rock does it. This came up in a recent 60 Minutes episode where they pointed to a critic who said, “Chris Rock is attempting to shuck, jive, grin, shout and bulge his eyes all the way back to the days of minstrelsy.”
As far as how the Chris Rocks of the 1800s behaved, I wasn’t there, but anthropologist Carleton Coon (yes, that’s his real name) conjectures that before electricity was widespread, people would communicate around a fire. For dark-skinned blacks, this would make them less visible. In order to emote, they may have taken advantage of the contrast that their eyes, teeth, and hands provided. In The Living Races of Man, Coon wrote:
A Negro’s facial expression, on the other hand, consists largely of exposing his eyeballs and teeth. There is a good reason for this difference…moving communication would be lost, under most lighting conditions, on a black face.
12. BLACKS LIVE IN A CONSTANT STATE OF FEAR
Young black men aren’t in danger of being shot by George Zimmerman. Statistically, they’re far more likely to be shot by other blacks. Anyone with the remotest understanding of modern interracial violence could argue that whites are more justified for living in fear.
I’m not saying I live in fear or think blacks are scary. The vast majority of them are totally awesome dudes. I’m just saying you can’t invent a culture of one-sided fear to rule out a type of face makeup.
13. LOOK, IT’S JUST BANNED, ALL RIGHT?
No, it’s not. Gays get a pass. I remember hearing Rufus Wainwright say that blackface performer Al Jolson is his hero. Rufus even released his own version of Jolson’s hit “Swanee.” British queer Matt Lucas does a hilarious black woman named Precious on the show Come Fly With Me. Where’s the outrage there? Ru Paul has publicly defended drag queen Chuck Knipp’s character Shirley Q. Liquor, who seems to meet all the criteria for the most hurtful blackface character ever done during slavery days.
Wait, isn’t drag itself a form of female blackface? Women were oppressed too, you know. According to many a blogger and college student, they still are. Why are we allowed to dress up as cartoons of women and lampoon all their bad habits, but black makeup is out of the question?
14. IT HURTS PEOPLE, SO IT SHOULD BE BANNED
Lots of things hurt people, but creating rules where you”re not allowed to offend people is to invite tyranny. Besides, the most offended are often the least reasonable. In Iran, where they practice sharia law, the offended reign supreme, yet they”re still offended.
15. FORGET IT. YOU DON”T UNDERSTAND. YOU”RE WHITE
Sorry, folks”logic is color-blind. Race hustlers and guilt-trippers need this last-ditch “Get out of argument free” card, or they”re out of a job. You don”t get to make up rules with no explanation just because you belong to a certain race. That’s racist.
Look, I have no desire to wear blackface and strum a banjo. However, I am a libertarian and I believe the only thing we should not be allowed to do is physically harm one another. If you”re dictating rules and you can”t succinctly explain why we need such rules, you should be overruled. If you have a problem with that, well, wow. Just…wow.