I am Afro Caribbean and whilst I don’t claim ownership on racism, I think that being of African descent in this particular instance lends me some credibility than I am normally accustomed to. I do not find these pictures offensive in the slightest, in fact I laughed, quite hard. People, we need to put racism into perspective - this is not a lynching in the deep south, this is not a case of being segregated, or of enslavement at the lash of the whip. This is not a case of being persecuted by a mob of Neo-Nazis or an infringement of basic civil liberties as was the case in 50s/60s America. And, more recently, this is not a case of a vigilante neighbour gunning down a hooded, black teenager.
This is a young girl throwing an African themed party and her guests have merely interpreted it in their own, albeit slightly ignorant, manner which is in-keeping with early 20 year olds. If that’s their only motive for dressing up in traditional African dress and applying (I’m guessing) shoe polish, then we should just chalk this up to the fact that they’re simply having fun playing dress up, who doesn’t do that on Halloween?
In fact a very good (white) friend of mine dressed and blacked up as Jules from Reservoir Dogs (played by Samuel Jackson) which wasn’t offensive in the slightest because his motive for doing so was pure.
The reason for the knee jerk reaction that I’m reading in the comments is, I suspect, due to the connotations that blacking yourself up has to the past.
Men dress as women and there’s no backlash to that, why? Because there is little to no negative connotation.
During the 80s in the UK the Union Jack was hijacked by Neo-Nazi movement, the National Front. It took many years for the UK to proudly display it once again.
The best way to beat such diabolical atrocities such as racism and other acts of terrorism is to neuter it with comedy and brevity.
And yes I did see the Klu Klux Klan outfit and that’s what made me laugh the hardest. Come on, imagine it for real: a member of the KKK getting drunk (or maybe even high) in the deepest darkest parts of Africa.
And hey, when Eddie Murphy whited himself in Coming to America, how many people were offended?