Culture

What's More Offensive than Blackface?

Julianne Hough and friends dressed as the cast of "Orange Is the New Black" for Halloween

Julianne Hough and friends dressed as the cast of “Orange Is the New Black” for Halloween

Julianne Hough probably didn’t think this one through. That’s the Huffington Post‘s take on the actress’s choice to attend a Halloween party dressed as a black character from Orange Is the New Black. As part of her transformation, Hough donned blackface. HuffPo reports:

The actress attended the Casamigos Tequila Halloween party in Hollywood with friends, who appear to have all gone as the cast of the hit Netflix series. No one in the group, however, seems to have given Hough a heads up about her offensive getup.

This comes during a persistent campaign to badger the Washington Redskins into changing their name. It also fuels the hand-wringing campaign to prevent “offensive” costumes from appearing on school campuses.

As a black man, I find myself wondering two things. First, why do I need white people to be offended on my behalf? Second and far more importantly, why should I be offended by something as trivial as a Halloween costume?

I’ve never quite understood why blackface should offend me. The act of wearing blackface does not harm me. It does not take something from me. It does not prevent me from acting upon my own judgment. It does not violate my rights. I accept that blackface offends some people. I understand that it may be distasteful. But I’m not sure why academics and journalists are so desperate to snuff blackface out of existence while ignoring or even advocating practices which actually harm black people.

Blackface, huh?

Blackface, huh?

For instance, it probably goes without saying that the same people wringing their hands over blackface, the Washington Redskins, and the political correctness of Halloween costumes meanwhile support the minimum wage. Hell, the Huffington Post has a whole section of their website dedicated to it.

Unlike Julianne Hough wearing blackface to a Hollywood party, the minimum wage does take something from black people. It does prevent them from using their own judgment, and thus violates their rights. A young, poorly educated and therefore unskilled black man cannot consent to work for $3 per hour, because we have arbitrarily decided that such an arrangement is beneath the dignity of a human being. So he retains his dignity, and goes unemployed.

How about education? HuffPo has a position staked out there as well, supporting the status quo in top-heavy government stagnated bureaucracy. That takes something from black children and their parents. That prevents blacks (and everyone else) from acting upon their own judgment, and thus violates their rights. Why should I be more offended by Julianne Hough in blackface than by the fact that only around 45% of Minneapolis high school students graduate on average? Julianne Hough in blackface doesn’t leave kids less prepared to enter the workforce or attend college. Julianne Hough in blackface doesn’t deprive a single mother of options which could provide her children with opportunities for a better future.

Maybe HuffPo and their allies on the Left should rethink the priority of things which offend them, assuming the well-being of black people is actually their goal. That’s quite an assumption, I know.