Letter: Dressing up as Mel B is not Blackface

Re: Sherwood Park teacher dresses in Blackface?

I know that I am not the only one who is heartily sick of ‘political correctness.’ From what I understand, the incident happened at a local talent event in which the judges were emulating various judges who have appeared on televised talent shows. These were Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandell and Mel B.

Blackface is a theatrical makeup, almost truly ebony in colour. Traditionally it was composed of cork grease, or shoe polish. As reported in the news this teacher was wearing dark face makeup – not blackface. Had she done her make-up more skillfully, as some of the make-up artists one finds on YouTube, those watching would have been unaware that it was not her own kin tone. Why on earth would this be offensive or hurtful other than in someone’s somewhat twisted mind? Had the teacher acted with malicious intent or meant it as a mockery, I could definitely see a problem. However, this did not appear to be the case – she was merely acting as Mel B for the local talent show.

The whole incident would probably not have caused any stir were it not for ‘Edmonton activist Bashir Mohamed’. Maybe it is he who needs a little education on when something is truly offensive or derogatory. People in countries around the world have performed in blackface as early as the 1440s, including popular African-American actors in the early 1900s. His thoughtless and uneducated action of tweeting out a harmless photo is indicative of the absolute lack of education and deceitful media presence in our current society, not to mention the growing divisiveness caused by this political nonsense.

For goodness sake let’s have a little common sense – which, I may add, is sadly lacking in this day and age.

Karina Staudinger, Red Deer

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