Thursday 03 January 2013

I’ve had my run ins with Jason Manford in the past.

Just thought I’d get that out in the open before talking about the response to something he put on his Facebook¹.

Manford was defending the picture of a young Leeds United fan that has been doing the rounds on the internet. He is posing with the Leeds United footballer El Hadji Diouf. He, the young fan, is wearing make-up to emulate the appearance of the Senegalese footballer; the make-up is the type referred to as ‘blackface’ in the process of ‘blacking up’.

Manford was defending the lad, saying, “Poor lad. As if that’s racist. He is dressed up as his favourite player who happens to be black, it would be racist if he was dressed up as just a ‘black man’. What do you guys think?”

Well maybe there is a childish innocence to the lad wanting to dress like his hero. And I certainly don’t think this is evidence he is the new Nick Griffin. (I am refraining from using any stereotype about the fine people of Yorkshire here.) But I don’t think people should be blacking up. Or allowing their children to black up. Whilst the motives of the child may be completely innocent there is something inherently wrong with something like this.

There is a  historical context of white people applying make-up to portray black people that is just…well it was fucking wrong. Manford seems to think it would be racist if it was just a ‘black man’ the child was dressing as. I’m not quite so sure that this makes it OK.

Clearly a lot of people agree with Manford. I am not going to put anyone’s name here but here are some of the quotes:

My nephew asked a few years back for an Afro,and brown face paint…and he spent all Christmas Day as a black man!! Funny as!! And far from racist. Why was it funny? If someone can’t see that there is something inherently wrong about a thing that they think is funny because it is so odd. Really not that far from racist.

Ah, my favourite argument “racism”. It’s nonsense and people need to get a grip. It’s the state we are in today. Sadly some people are ignorant about other people’s race, colour, culture. Obviously not a wee lad dressing up as his football idol. Get a grip people! Great use of quotation marks: racism, the myth. I really don’t know where to begin with this one.

It’s not racist. If it is, is it racist for someone to dress up as b.a baracus at Halloween. Yes, that is racist as well.

lol if i dont like the 100m hurdles .. does that make me raceist Spelling and lack of question mark are not my doing. I am not sure what the joke is here…I think the joke is that he doesn’t like a race. The cunt.

Children are not racist!!!! They don’t see any difference . Get a grip people. Worlds gone mad!!!! If he doesn’t see the difference why the make-up? And children fucking are racist. I’ve heard them, they can be fucking horrible.

also i havent heard one black person complain about this Definite proof that something is fine.

Ironically, the people making a big deal about this boy colouring his skin are giving the message that it’s not ok to want to be black…if we’re going to start bandying the term “racism” about, who are the real racists here? Yeah that’s not irony. No-one is saying it is not OK to be black, or to want to be. The real racists are people who are racists (you).

If the little lad was just home from a holiday and had a really good tan, would that still be classed as racist? To many people too easily offended these days xx No that would be someone having a sun tan – not rubbing make-up/shoe polish on themselves to look like someone of a different race. xx

That’s pathetic, everything is bloody racist these days, people need to chill out !!! Mainly about racist things, though.

If that’s racist, micheal Jackson was racist too. No, paedophile.

Why is it racist to dress up like a black person anyway???? If you dress up as a sterotype or dress like a black person the act a certain way as if to say black people are like that then fair enough that is racist. OH YEAH??? Make a rational point would you? What…

I hate political correctness! It causes more harm than good. Quite.

The main points raised by people responding were:

  • Diouf wasnt bothered (he is smiling in a picture with a small child; I doubt he did run away and cry, but someone smiling in a picture is not 100% conclusive)
  • Is dressing as Shrek/smurfs racist? No, but it really isn’t the same thing and comparing a race to a cartoon character is not helping me be convinced that there is something inherently wrong about the whole thing.
  • I am not offended and I am a black person (i.e. someone commenting on the picture was black). Inconclusive. Just because someone is black/white/whatever doesn’t mean they are immune from accepting passive racism.
  • He’s just trying to look like his hero. Clearly. There is some value to this and the innocence of a child – again my beef isn’t with the child or that BNP style proactive racism is intended.
  • I blacked up it was hilarious. Dressing as Mr T/The Jackson 5 and people finding it brilliant kind of proves that the whole thing is wrong. And not vice-versa.

It’s important to note that I am more likely to think all these people are wrong because of the kind of thing exemplified above. The general tone is that it is political correctness gone mad. Or that people objecting are ‘do-gooders’ (the notion of someone doing good as a bad thing is a common theme when people are complaining about some supposed injustice or other).

Can I let their idiocy make me think the opposite of whatever they say? Do I think it is racist. Some people were quoting the definition of racism as a very clever way of proving that it wasn’t racist. Yes, because everything it 100% racist (that is racist) and HAS to be something that portrays a race in a negative way. Well the world is not as cut and dried as this is it?

White people blacking-up has a very sordid history. And it is not a history that ended a a few hundred years ago. The Black and White Minstrel Show ended in 1978, though it wasn’t featuring ‘blackfaces’ at the end. I am not saying that this little lad was portraying black people in the same way TBaWMS did. I just think it is really misguided of a parent to let a child do this; I also think it is reflective of a society that excuses some elements of racism – or indeed condones it.

I don’t know. I am not questioning the child’s innocence. Though I would say that something done in childish innocence does not mean it is OK/shouldn’t be discouraged. I would also suggest it is a bad habit to let youngsters start, thinking that this is OK. It really isn’t.

¹I don’t follow/like Jason Manford. He’s not my cup of tea. Don’t hate him. Don’t like him. This is definitely stored rage from the time he didn’t like me not liking him.

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2 Responses to Thursday 03 January 2013

  1. steven gill says:

    Fucking good article that. And remarkably coherent given we’re only just stumbling, blinking into the New Year…

  2. house78 says:

    *doffs cap*

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