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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Blackface Updates and Stories

Recently in the news, there are a few stories that caught my notice concerning blackface:

1) Remember the New Orleans judge that wore blackface to a party? His punishment has been passed down. It's a year suspension, that will be reduced to six months. Also interesting is that the party's host was dressed as Buckwheat. If you have to dress in blackface, or as a black person, why choose the most demeaning characters?

2) I don't know if you remember this, but in 1998, some policemen and a fireman wore blackface in a New York labor day parade. Because of the uproar, they were fired. The city has recently been ordered to give them backpay.

3) And in a newer story, a drag queen has been dropped from hosting a drag queen show in Atlanta. Relevance? This act, called Shirley Q. Liquor is a new fusion: blackface and drag. The performer, a white and gay man, plays a character which is "an uneducated southern black woman on welfare with 19 children". More on her shennanigans here.

Shirley Q. Liquor


Continue reading "Blackface Updates and Stories" »

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Blackface from the Bench

I don't think this judge could do something so offensive to his constituents and be impartial from the bench:

Judge facing suspension for Halloween costume

New Orleans bureau

NEW ORLEANS -- Twelve days before Halloween, the state Supreme Court will hold a hearing on a Louisiana Judiciary Commission recommendation that a white Terrebonne Parish judge be suspended for a year without pay for appearing at a Halloween party in a prison jumpsuit and wearing shackles, an Afro wig and blackface makeup last year.
Timothy Ellender, who has been a judge in Terrebonne for more than 20 years, at first called the resulting furor "a tempest in a teapot" but later admitted in testimony before the Judiciary Commission that his behavior had been offensive.

NAACP leaders in Houma filed a formal complaint asking the commission to recommend the removal of Ellender for "an outrageous and distasteful demonstration of racial insensitivity not befitting a judge or the dignity of judicial office."

In recommending his suspension, the commission said Ellender's integrity and his ability to be fair and impartial toward black people who appear before him as defendants in criminal and other court proceedings "will be forever in doubt."

"Every decision he makes and judgment he renders concerning an African-American may be questioned and second-guessed," the commission said in a report filed Aug. 17 at the Supreme Court.

The commission said Ellender cooperated fully with its probe and made it clear in testimony "that he will take great care not to exhibit racial bias or to promote racial stereotypes in the future."

Justice John Weimer of Thibodaux, a former Lafourche Parish judge, has disqualified himself from hearing oral arguments in the case Oct. 19 and from taking part in the court's ultimate decision. Lafourche and Terrebonne are neighboring parishes. Retired Judge Lemmie Hightower will sit in Weimer's place.

Accompanied by his wife, who was dressed as a police officer, Ellender showed up at the party on Halloween dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit and handcuffs borrowed from the local sheriff, as well as the Afro wig. It was a private party but was held at a Houma seafood restaurant in view of other patrons.

Ellender told the commission that, when his costume did not provoke the amusement he thought it would, his brother-in-law -- dressed as "Buckwheat" from the "Little Rascals" show and wearing blackface paint -- offered the judge some of the paint to enhance his costume.

"When asked if adding the blackface paint resulted in his getting more laughs, Judge Ellender told the commission 'it was more humorous, yes,' " the commission's report states.

The Louisiana Code of Judicial Conduct requires judges to adhere to high standards of conduct and behavior that promote "public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary."

Friday, March 05, 2004

Flag Problem over, but attitude remains in Georgia..


ANOTHER blackface incident. Though this fraternity has apologized for this incident, it has to be intentional. There is too much press about this behavior, for any american to make an honest mistake about it.

Fraternity Party Stirs Racial Tensions Georgia State University held a meeting Thursday afternoon in hopes of defusing racial tensions after a mostly White fraternity held a hip-hop themed party and two of its members arrived in blackface.

The party was held off campus back in January by the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. The university’s African-American Alliance and other student groups asked that the fraternity be suspended.

The meeting was organized to open a dialogue between fraternity members and the students they may have offended. Hundreds, mostly African-Americans, attended the meeting.

“We believe that this was a hurtful incident and it goes against everything Georgia State stands for. Georgia State really appreciates diversity and we are a diverse campus,” said Assistant Dean Pamela Anthony.

The fraternity released a statement which, in part, read: “We shouldn’t have had that theme…I apologize for offending anyone.”

Dan Foresstor, the fraternity’s president, said, in hindsight, the party should not have been organized around a hip-hop theme. The two members who wore blackface were suspended from the fraternity for six months.

The punishment, however, was not good enough for some.

“I’m disgusted by the [fraternity] allowed their members to imitate Black people and have a racist event like that,” said student Chad Hardy.

“I think there should be some kind of reprimand, as far as, you know, getting kicked out for maybe a semester or two. Something should happen. Nothing not happening, that’s just not acceptable,” added student Herschel Brown.

The fraternity is going through the judicial process at the university and could be suspended for a semester. The next meeting has been scheduled for April 13.

Monday, February 16, 2004

SpongeBob Blackface ---->Update

I was able to find a picture of the Valentine's Day card. Judge for yourself; does this look like blackface?


Saturday, February 14, 2004

Spongebob in Blackface

LOL, I couldn't decide to put this story in 'Blackface' or in 'Outrage???'.

A humorous story about misprinted Valentine's Day cards and the aftermath.

Apparently, mis-colored Spongebob V-day cards came out with Bob looking more brown than yellow. Since that cartoon character has exagerrated features:


in a darker hue, he reminded many of a blackface characature.


One assertion I disagree with in the story is that the workers who manufactured the cards in error are not familiar with either spongebob or blackface (these cards were made in China). I have been to china, and much of american popular culture is known widely there. Including the repulsive parts, like blackface.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Outkast update: Silence still

CBS has apologized to native americans:

"We are very sorry if anyone was offended," said Nancy Carr, CBS spokeswoman in Los Angeles.

Not the most heartfelt apology, but an acknowledgment all the same, I guess.

But there is still silence from Andre 3000 and Big Boi of outkast for their demeaning performance. Will there be any? I don't think most people think outkast intentionally meant to disparage native americans, but some acknowledgement from outkast would really show their fans where their heads are and set a good example.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004




The movie is "White Chicks".
Similar to my story of Outkast portraying native americans in a not-so-flattering way, we have a portrayal of whites by blacks for comedic purposes. Is this equivalent to blackface?

I'm not sure. Certainly, the power structure and image of whites is extremely favorable compared to blacks. When one mocks a black as a low life or ignoramus, there is a strong stigma associated with that already. The mockery adds to an already powerful stereotype. With whites, this is not true. Whites collectively or in general are not seen as ignorant or lowlifes.

There is also a long and ubiquitous history of mocking blacks in the US. Portrayals have been in children books, songs, radio and TV programs, movies, advertisements, product labels, etc. This part of western culture has even leaked into other societies, as anyone who has visited asia can attest. Except for a couple of standup comedians, whites are generally not mocked.

However, they are seen as narcissistic and shallow, as may be portrayed in this upcoming movie. How do these portrayals shift the arguments against blackface in media? Should blacks accept blackface now that some african american performers are doing whiteface? Is this an even exchange?

About the movie:

In the hilarious comedy "White Chicks," Shawn and Marlon Wayans play two ambitious but unlucky FBI agents who go deep undercover as female, high society debutantes to infiltrate the sophisticated world of the Hamptons to investigate a kidnapping ring.

Who is really outkast? -OR- Redface?


At the Grammy awards, winner Outkast gave a performance with dancers dressed as native americans and entering onstage through a teepee-shaped spaceship. I think these performances were more a mockery of native culture than a homage.

Blacks have been made fun of in america for literally centuries. Performances like this dilute the cry of blacks when they complain about blackface and other denegrating portrayals of africans and the african diaspora. Redface is as bad as blackface. Black performers and entertainers like outkast should show the same sensitivity to other ethnic and racial groups that they would want shown to theirs.

Here is an illuminating page of commentary and comments about the incident on

The story:

Native Americans Call For CBS Boycott After Outkast Grammy Performance
By Clarence Burke Jr.
Date: 2/10/2004 2:25 PM

While Andre 3000 of Outkast drew praise from much of the country for his performance during Sunday night's Grammy Awards, some Native groups are not happy.

Some Indian groups are calling for a boycott of the network, deeming Andre 3000's neon green Native American attire offensive.

The rapper and backup dancers wore green buckskin dresses and green buckskin leggins.

A tipi with smoke billowing out of it was used as a background prop during the performance.

One board member of the Native American Cultural Center in San Francisco called the performance the "most disgusting set of racial stereotypes aimed at American Indians...ever seen."

Andrew Brother Elk, chair of the cultural center, filed a formal complaint with the FCC.

A spokesperson for CBS issued an apology, saying the network was "very sorry if anyone was offended by the performance."



OUTKAST star ANDRE 3000's performance at Sunday's (08FEB04) GRAMMY AWARDS has fallen foul of Native Americans, who accuse of him of playing on racial stereotypes.

Some Indian groups are calling for a boycott of TV network CBS, which broadcast the ceremony, deeming Andre 3000's neon green Native American attire during his performance of hit track HEY YA! offensive.

The rapper and back-up dancers wore green buckskin dresses and green buckskin leggings, while a tipi with smoke billowing out of it was used as a background prop during the performance.

A board member of the NATIVE AMERICAN CULTURAL CENTER in San Francisco called the performance the "most disgusting set of racial stereotypes aimed at American Indians ever seen".

ANDREW BROTHER ELK, chair of the cultural centre, has filed a formal complaint with America's FEDERAL COMPLAINTS COMMISSION.

A spokesperson for CBS has issued an apology, saying the network is "very sorry if anyone was offended by the performance".

11/02/2004 09:23

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Penn State Update

Here is an article that gives even more background of the situation and of the history of "Blackface Boy" Covener.

Here are links to many more of the party pictures: page1 and page2 , another page

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Interesting Site: black- and yellow-face

Here is a non-political site that has a collection of blackface and yellowface in TV and movies.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Penn State Blackface Update!

One of the senators in that debacle decided last year to resign from the senate and withdraw from the University. She was taking major heat from attending that party.

She also claims her life was in danger. I don't think so. Her social life wasn't even in danger of death at that school. I'm sure many people gave her their enthusiastic support. Hell, I'm sure many students wish they'd been at that party.....

Anyway, she has changed her mind and decided to come back:

"My parents have let me return, and I am very excited about that," Cangelosi said. "I never wanted to leave. I wasn't willing to give up my education here and go to a community college for a semester."


Cangelosi was one of five USG members who attended former Town Sen. Brian Battaglia's controversial Halloween party, during which members of the Penn State College Republicans dressed in costumes that many found offensive.

Former USG member Jason Covener dressed in blackface, portraying USG Vice President and former Black Caucus Vice President Takkeem Morgan. Others referenced the Ku Klux Klan and mocked fraternities and sororities.

During her statement, Cangelosi said Penn State President Graham Spanier put her life in danger by including a link to Penn State's online student directory in his written public statement about pictures taken at the party. As a result, she removed her address from the directory.

Yeah, right. Like noone who really wanted to couldn't find out who she was and where she lived. She was a campus senator, after all.

Well, maybe next time she attends a private party and some fool shows up in a klan outfit, and another sports fresh blackface, she will leave in disgust. Naaah.......

I would like to know how many students left in disgust. I have seen most of the pictures from that party, and there are alot of scenes where students are sitting around 'Blackface' Covener laughing and having a good time, like he's wearing an angel outfit.

This is just another example of how some Americans embrace racism. And then they expect minorities to believe this is a colorblind society.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

The Republican Blackface Party

I'm not naive enough to think that racists don't have house parties or that racists don't go to college. Digital cameras and websites have allowed us to examine these phenomena more closely, however.

For this present incident, without technology, this never would have come into public view. It would probably have simmered around campus as a rumor vehemently denied by these people.

One reason this story stands out is that these people were leaders on campus. And leaders of the republican party and conservative movement, two groups that have a tenuous history in recent years with african americans.

I don't think most republicans and conservatives are racist. But I do recognize that there is an undercurrent of sentiment against blacks within these groups. Sometimes, as in the Trent Lott flap, these views surface.

So, here we have a party where outspoken conservative and republican student leaders dress up in blackface and in klan paraphanelia. I don't think everyone who attended this party is a racist, btw. However, if not for the photos, this behavior would have been swept under the rug. And these party goers would have participated in a wall of silence regarding this attrocious behavior.

To me, not only is the klan outfit and blackface offensive and reprehensible; so is the acceptance of this behavior by the people who attended this party. I'm hoping some people were sickened by these turkeys and left in disgust. But according to the pictures of the party, many students stayed and partied with these clowns. (there are many more pictures of this party to be found on the net, btw; most were harmless)

The pics:

This blackface is supposed to depict a black student leader who was involved in bike theivery. OK, so why paint your face black? The chain, hoodie, and bag suffice to get the point across. He could have worn these only, and had a nice laugh at that student's expense, "Hey I'm so-and-so, the bike thief. HAHAHA." Why make it racial by adding the blackface?


I hope this one speaks for itself.....and I love Yeungling!! Damn!


Here's a picture of Blackface Boy Jason Covener:

An early account of outrage on campus:

Blackface photo on Web riles Black Caucus at Penn State

Friday, December 05, 2003

By Dan Lewerenz, The Associated Press

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State Black Caucus demanded that the chairman of the university's College Republicans resign after finding on his personal Web site a photo of a white man in blackface and another with a Ku Klux Klan reference.

Black Caucus President Tiffanie Lewis yesterday said the pictures were inappropriate for the leader of a student organization and urged the resignation of Brian Battaglia, chair of the College Republicans, and anyone else involved in posting the pictures.

"It's not an isolated incident. We believe that it's part of the contentious racial climate at Penn State," Lewis said.

The pictures on Battaglia's Web site were among dozens of pictures from a Halloween party Battaglia hosted at his off-campus home.

One shows a white man in blackface, with the caption: "Apparently Takkeem was released long enough to come to our party. We thank the local police department."

The caption was a reference to Undergraduate Student Government vice president Takkeem Morgan, who paid a fine last month after pleading guilty to a summary charge of criminal mischief regarding a stolen bicycle.

A second photo shows a white man wearing a pillow case as a hood with the caption: "He took a break from cross burning to drink a cold one."

Battaglia, of Brockton, Mass., said he was familiar with the pictures on his Web site, but would not say whether he posted them, nor identify the man in blackface.

He removed the Halloween photos from his Web site yesterday afternoon, shortly after speaking with The Associated Press. But he said last night that he did not remove them because of the Black Caucus' request and that he might post them again.

"The bedrock principals [sic] of the conservative movement generally and the College Republicans in particular, are personal liberty and freedom of expression," Battaglia said in a written statement. "The College Republicans stands ... staunchly opposed to the mindset held by the radical left on college campuses across the country. Their viewpoints, which posit that any action or speech that gives discomfort to a vocal minority should be cause for censorship, persecution, or demands for public apologies, are the greatest threat to liberty in our time."

In an e-mail to Battaglia, Penn State spokesman Bill Mahon called the photos "an embarrassment to the entire university" and said Battaglia and other College Republicans should apologize.

Morgan, a former Black Caucus officer, said he first saw the photos Wednesday night after being told about them by a Black Caucus member.

"My initial reaction was that it was very, very disrespectful," Morgan said. "They were playing with a history that was a very, very tragic one, and it's something that people every day try to get past."

During the spring of 2001, several Black Caucus members were arrested for disrupting Penn State's spring football scrimmage to protest what they felt was a lack of attention paid to death threats mailed and e-mailed to Black Caucus leaders. When university officials scheduled a march to show racial unity, the Black Caucus stole the show, stopping the march and starting a 10-day protest in the student union.

Since then, black students have said the racial climate has improved, but that there still are racial problems at Penn State.

"I think that anybody that's been at Penn State for the last three years knows what the racial situation is here, and they know that it's tense and that every now and then it gets out of hand," Morgan said.

Not only is Battaglia not ashamed of this behavior, which he knows is highly insulting to blacks, he posts this crap proudly on his webpage.

Another account:

PSU student: No need to apologize for wearing blackface at party
The Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - A Penn State University student who wore blackface to impersonate the student body vice president says he has nothing to apologize for.

Jason Covener told Penn State's student newspaper, The Daily Collegian, Thursday that he was the person in blackface in photographs that had been posted on the personal Web site of Brian Battaglia, the chairman of the Penn State College Republicans.

"I dressed up as Takkeem Morgan. I don't really feel compelled, though, to defend or explain how I dress at a private Halloween party," said Covener, a member of the College Republicans.

In a written statement released Thursday night, Battaglia also defended the pictures - although he had removed them from his Web site - saying his organization stands for freedom of speech.

Friday night, Battaglia said he and other members of the College Republicans had received death threats since the controversy over the pictures arose. The police were notified, he said.

But Cathy Carre, treasurer of the College Republicans, told the Collegian that she had resigned her position because she objected to the photos and to a recent Conservative Coming Out Day in which conservative students were urged to reveal their political leanings.

The picture showed Covener in blackface, and the caption identified him as Morgan, vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government, who pleaded guilty last month to a summary charge of criminal mischief relating to a stolen bicycle.

A second photo showed a man wearing a pillow case as a Ku Klux Klan hood with a reference to cross-burning in the caption.

December 5, 2003 11:16 PM

A letter from another conservative student activist regarding the incident:

Letter: Disgrace to conservative movement exists at Penn State 01/03/2004 To the Times: I recently became aware of the current controversy at Penn State regarding College Republicans chairman Brian Battaglia’s Halloween party. Mr. Battaglia rightly asserts that he has the right to post pictures of blackface, KKK costumes, "oversodomized frat pledges," etc., on his personal Web site. No one should take away his right to free speech.

But I would like to use my free speech to say this: Mr. Battaglia is an absolute disgrace to the conservative movement. I am a campus conservative activist just down the road from PSU, and his moronic actions in no way reflect my principles or those of my compatriots.

The Conservatives Club here at Bucknell has fought long and hard for the ideas we believe in, including free speech. I personally resent the fact that someone like Brian Battaglia can be associated with the cause we hold so dear.

It is unfortunate that the Penn State College Republicans could not have found someone better than him to be their leader, and if he refuses to do the right thing and resign, they should remove him.

The mere fact that Mr. Battaglia has a right to do something doesn’t make it any less reprehensible.

And if saying that makes me part of the "leftist plot" he claims exists, then sign me up. There is not room in our movement for people like him, and it’s my free speech to say so.



Bucknell University Conservatives Club

So, not all republicans or conservatives support this loser.

Robbery in Blackface

Can you believe this?


This is what is called a racial hoax. Whites committing crimes and shifting the blame to blacks (or at least attempting to). The most infamous example of this is the woman who drowned her own children and put the blame on a black man a few years ago.

Was this some kind of initiation stunt? Some sick dare? Did this guy really believe people wouldn't see past this low-quality disguise?

Why did this guy feel so confident that people would be so quick to blame a black man and accept that flimsy disquise?

An account:

Thursday, November 29, 2001 A 19-year-old robbery suspect tried to fool police Wednesday with an elaborate disguise at the Mellon Bank in the New Kensington Giant Eagle in Westmoreland County.
When confronted by authorities outside the store, Daniel C. Mazziotti of Philadelphia Street in Natrona dropped a store bag full of money and did not attempt to flee, New Kensington police said.

Police said Mazziotti, who is white, dressed up as a black man and used a pillow to make himself appear obese before walking into the Mellon Bank branch inside the store, located on Craigdell Road.

"This is absolutely regrettable that someone would make themselves appear to be African American," said John Lovelace, president of the Alle-Kiski chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Does this mean blacks are seen as thieves and obese?