Dear White People: The Only Time it’s Ever Okay to Wear Blackface

20 Oct

blackface4Dear White People, Blackface and Cosplay

Dear White People came out in theaters over the weekend and was so full of truth. The movie hit close to home for many black students on a predominately white college campus, displaying race relations with humor. It’s a satirical film with a breath of fresh air amongst the Tyler Perry films and all those movies where Kevin Hart plays the same character again and again. Though Dear White People had its flaws, it’s definitely a must-see.

The climax of the movie takes place at a race-themed party, where white students are invited to “unleash their inner negro,” and dress in blackface, afros, and obnoxiously large chains—like they’d just walked out of the “All Gold Everything” video (thanks, Trinidad James).

Sadly, these parties aren’t uncommon on college campuses, and ignorant white people party in the most insulting outfits they can find. Somehow, the conversation always comes back to blackface.

We haven’t even made it to Halloween yet and people are already donning blackface. Recently, cosplay enthusiast Kira Markeljc received loads of backlash for darkening her skin to cosplay Michonne from The Walking Dead.


So people began to question whether cosplay is an acceptable time to darken your skin for a black character.

Cosplayers often paint their skin to become characters like the Hulk or Mystique. However, painting your face blue or green is not the same as painting it in someone else’s race.

Blackface is rooted in our nation’s racist past. It was used to mock black people in minstrel shows. A blackface character made fun of slaves and free blacks of the 19th century. These minstrel shows cemented and proliferated racist images of black people around the world. And much of those ideas about black people from those minstrel shows still exist today.


So yes, hundreds of years later, blackface is still insulting.

I’m sure the cosplayer didn’t mean to insult anyone—but she did. Her intentions mean very little and her ignorance doesn’t make her innocent—especially considering she was not at all sorry after people called her out on it. She could have easily played Michonne without the paint, and not resurrected the ghosts of America’s racist past (and present).

So for the record, no—it is never okay to wear blackface. Not for Halloween. Not for cosplay. Not for anything.

Oh and dear white people, you can also stop dressing up as Native Americans, Latinos, and any other race or ethnicity for Halloween; it’s just as racist.


P.S.: Go see Dear White People. Let me know what you think of the movie.

5 Responses to “Dear White People: The Only Time it’s Ever Okay to Wear Blackface”

  1. Aimee February 4, 2019 at 3:55 PM #

    I’m jewish and take super offense to people dressing up like nazi’s, kkk etc…. but I wouldn’t ruin a person’s career if a picture resurfaced from 30 years ago of he or she wearing such costume. I would explain why it’s offensive and makes many people uncomfortable and upset but an apology would be enough! Should dressing like Alice in wonderland be offensive to white people? In this case, is the movie “White Chicks” racist against white “rich girls?” Is it ok to paint your face like The Hulk? I mean, if it’s a person of honor and character, than it shouldn’t be offensive black, white, Latino, etc!!!! How many of us dressed like Michael Jackson in the 80s? Red zipper jacket, sparkle glove, curly hair, loafers etc….. it was innocent and we admired him. C’mon- the world needs to lighten up and toughen up! Lots of people on a daily basis offend me but I just do my best to educate who I can in my reach and keep moving. Not everything is black or white( seriously, no pun intended) and America…. please stop blaming people for mistakes they made under 18! Enough is enough! To preach tolerance, you need to understand tolerance first!


  2. Miranda Simpson October 25, 2018 at 12:31 PM #

    So white people can’t dress up & paint as any other race ever, period. But every other race can do as they please. Yea that’s also racist & hypocritical.


  3. David June 2, 2017 at 6:55 PM #

    She couldnt just as easily cosplayed with out darkening her skin. In her denying she didnt do something wrong with her intentions it doesnt make her ignorant. She thought she did it in good taste its cosplay, pretending to be someone else and these guys take it seriously to every detail. At most she should have said she wont do it again due to the outrage but she didnt do anything wrong despite triggering americas past sensitive problems. This article borderline jumps on the sensitive bandwagon.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. cmrlovesasl December 4, 2014 at 10:38 AM #

    Cultural Appropriation. People need to stop dressing like other races. Like you said RACIST.



  1. 7 Good Reasons White People Should be Allowed to Use the N-Word | A Womyn's Worth - May 5, 2015

    […] mean damn, ya’ll can’t say the N-Word, can’t wear blackface, and can’t have white-only sections anymore. Your whole world feels uprooted, doesn’t […]


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