Ellison wrote: “America is a land of masking jokers. We wear the mask for purposes of aggression as well as for defense when we are projecting the future, and are preserving the past … the joke is at the center of the American identity”.
Blackface in America is the masked jokester. African Americans are targets of the jokesters seeking temporary identities at the expense of Black folks, some of whom get angry and are embarrassed by the showboating.
|Depiction of a pickaninny|
|Ted Danson in blackface|
|John Howard Griffin as a Black man|
|John Howard Griffin, himself|
|Griffin makes friend with shoes shine man in New Orleans|
|White actor in blackface captured by the KKK|
|Ralph Northam's yearbook page in med school|
|Michael Ertel, hurricane victim|
Elvis Presley stole and copied Black folks music and rhythmical styles of singing. That is cultural appropriation. Pat Boone never had a hit song until he stole Little Richard's music and claimed it as his own, making it "acceptable" to White folks. That is cultural appropriation. In the day of tap dancing, Hollywood's Gene Kelly, Fred Astire and Ginger Rogers stole steps from Black tappers like The Nickholas Brothers and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, who did not get credit for the stolen choreography. That is cultural appropriation, not the popularity of blackface so acceptable to White folks.