Let’s Have a Racist Hallowe’en, Part II

So, Hallowe’en occurred this past weekend. It is my favourite holiday of the year, and 2009 was, without a doubt, the best Hallowe’en of my life. Electroman dressed as the Joker, and I dressed as Harley Quinn. A couple of friends of ours were Joker henchmen, and we staged a robbery of the house party we attended, complete with BB guns, Smile-X gas, and fake money. Later in the evening, we put on several killing scenes for the party-goers — flash mob style — wherein either I or electroman would stab or shoot one of the henchmen, and he would die bleeding out from his chest. The fake blood was so realistic, a couple of horrified partygoers honestly thought I had just lost my little mind, and wanted to call an ambulance. It wasn’t just Hallowe’en, it was Hallowe’en-apalooza.

But, no party goes off completely without a hitch, I suppose. At this house party, we also encountered a live example of a White person in blackface. Another group, whom none of my friends knew (this was a pretty big house party, being thrown by a friend of a friend), came in a group-themed costume — they did the cast of Napoleon Dynamite. Those of you who are Napoleon Dynamite fans might know where this is going.

Apparently, there’s a character in the film called “LaFawndah”, who turns out to be the Internet girlfriend of one of the characters in the movie. There’s supposed to be a “ha ha” moment because some dweeby White guy starts dressing (and behaving) like a gangsta rapper and has a tall, statuesque Black woman as his new significant other. Here’s a picture of this character:

napoleon_dynamite_13-lafawndah

So, at this party, the cast of Napoloen Dynamite included a White girl dressed as this character. I don’t have a good picture of her, but a friend of mine took a picture of the cast standing around, including an image of the girl; while her face isn’t in view, you can see the brown makeup liberally applied to the girl’s arms.

halloween-blackface-cropped

Jesus, people, what is up with the racist Hallowe’en costumes? It is not cool to wear makeup to specficially alter one’s race or ethnicity; it is offensive to people of colour because it specifically mocks and exaggerates race-based physical features in a manner demeaning and derogatory to racial minorities. I mean, consider how this girl also wore a black wig (which hardly resembles the hair of the main character) and a butt prosthetic to mimick the large rear end of Napoleon Dynamite‘s LaFawndah. How is her costume not a stereotyping of Black women? Just don’t do it, people. It’s not cute.

Sadly, I didn’t see this person (or her costume) while I was at the party. I actually didn’t even know anyone had dressed up as the cast of Napoleon Dynamite, although I did see Napoleon himself walking around. I was out on a beer run when the cast won the group costume contest at the party (we were told later that many of the partygoers had voted for us — our group theme was better, anyways). But, had I seen this girl, I definitely would’ve given her a piece of my mind.

Thankfully, electroman did see her. And he did tell her all about herself. In fact, I think he told her that the costume was offensive. I think she apologized. I bumped into him as he was leaving the altercation, and soon after that we left. I wasn’t told about Miss Blackface until we were in the car.

But either, way, people. Intention is irrelevant. Colourface is wrong. Thousands of people manage to come up with creative and awesome Hallowe’en costumes that aren’t racist; so what’s wrong with you that you feel the need to go there? If you feel the need to liberally apply skin darkening makeup in order to achieve your costume, either your costume sucks and/or you should maybe do something else.

Or, don’t start crying with some lame apology when people call you racist.

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