Realistically, the folks who will read this article are black people who already know that blackface is not the move. So it is your job, readers, to pass along this precious intel to your white friends.
This white privilege thing makes people like Julianne Hough, these horrible people and this ridiculous football coach, think that blackface is a-okay in 2013. It’s not. But black people need to just get over it, right? Remember when black entertainers used to adorn their faces with flour and use straw for blonde hair when they made grotesque caricatures of white people when white folks first stepped out of slavery in the U.S.? Yeah, me neither, because that never happened. Stop using the Wayans brothers as a pass to partake in foolery. It is not the same thing.
We go through this every single year. Every year! Some people will get their best sad face together and issue a mea culpa while maintaining that gosh golly wow they did not intend to be racist. Looking at you, Julianne. Others will do something so terribly offensive that there is no way to feign ignorance of the impact. The soul-less humans who portrayed Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman complete with a bloody hoodie would fall into that category.
And this is not to say that you can’t be a person of another race for Halloween. I am loathe to admit this, but Miley Cyrus actually did something right this time. Her Halloween costume was Lil Kim’s infamous 1999 purple pasties get-up and the former Hannah Montana star nailed it. She used no blackface, just a purple wig with straight bangs and that über revealing outfit. Similarly, Ellen DeGeneres was Nicki Minaj for Halloween and she did a great job of recreating the hip-hop star’s boob-baring top that got tons of press earlier this year.
I myself was Mae West for Halloween when I was seven years old. No White Chicks type make-up was necessary. My mother just put a blonde wig and some lipstick on me and I was reciting some of West’s more famous lines all night. “When I’m good, I’m good. When I’m bad, I’m better.” Of course nobody knew who I was. They assumed I was Marilyn Monroe, but I did at least get to talk to people about one of my favorite old Hollywood stars.
So, there you have it. It is surprisingly easy to not be offensive for Halloween. You can be anyone of any race, just leave the skin-tone-altering make-up at home (not that you have any) and use common sense. No dressing up as people in tragic events. Got it? Of course you do.