No Jolson, This is Serious

The sordid history of whites performing in blackface is long and storied, reaching back nearly 200 years, a practice that was involved in some of the first internal touring entertainment acts from this country. However the most famous image we have in memory would be that of Al Jolson who achieved his apex of fame while adorned in blackface. Unfortunately his modernly insensitive portrayal will forever be prominent because of the fact that he appeared as such in the first ever film with a full audio-track.

The offense of the blackface performer to African Americans is not only still palpable today but maybe even more offensive, to the extent that some shepherds my soon be tempted to adjust the nomenclature of their industry. Even one college student recently understood the gravity of this practice. When reports of someone in blackface were called in to police upon being apprehended he stated he was not in blackface but camouflage, because he was about to rob a house. Wisely he copped to being a felon instead of being charged with a hate-crime. If only some of our entertainers could wield such wisdom.

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