By Social Media Editor Melony Roy
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Social media is still reacting to former “Dancing With the Stars” pro-turned-actress Julianne Hough dressing up as Crazy Eyes from the hit series “Orange is the New Black” in blackface, and the Massachusetts duo dressed up as George Zimmerman and slain teen Trayvon Martin complete with bloody hoodie and blackface.
In spite of the historic outrage over the issue, people are still wearing blackface as part of their Halloween costume. Dr. Andre Carrington, an Assistant Professor of African-American Literature at Drexel University, says, “People think ignorance is still an excuse for doing the wrong thing.”
Although the practice is often defended as one that brings an injustice to light, Carrington believes reducing somebody’s identity to a representation of the color of their skin is not a sign of empathy or compassion.
“If those incidents of racial injustice don’t mean to you what they mean to people who are injured by them, then using social media is another occasion to do the thing that white people — who should know better — have always done to black people,” Carrington says. “The fact that that [it] continues to go on signals a basic error in the mindset that goes on to something like putting on a costume. Putting on someone’s identity, putting the color of skin on your face is in the minds of some people a form of entertainment. And often times, we hear [it’s] somehow a weird sign of respect or it’s ironically making fun of racism.”
Hear the entire interview with Dr. Andre Carrington in this CBS Philly podcast: