Racism redeemed

A few of my posts dotted about celebrate events like what seemed to be the truly contrite reaction of Allan McAlister on discovering how badly he’d handled the Nicky Winmar incident at Victoria Park all those years ago. This video is about a now famous event in which a truly execrable blackface routine was exposed for its inappropriateness by Harry Connick Jnr. I think the upshot was very well handled, by Connick, Summers and the audience. Cringe and the beginning and be proud at the end (if you are like me anyway).

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12 years ago

this is a tiresome subject worn to the nub by the MSM. One trusts you meant cringe at the END, with the obsequiousness of Somers to an American who ought to know better than to impose his beliefs upon a culture he is a guest of. I thought the entire episode funny, from the Red Faces act, to Connick’s disdain, right through to Somer’s bowing and scraping. It’s as well Hey Hey isn’t staying around. It’s not a patch on what it was. The Connick episode displays that graphically.

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd(@chris-lloyd)
12 years ago

Having been overseas for three weeks, I have just encountered this episode. Harry didnt impose his beliefs on anyone and was pretty gracious. Daryl gave him the chance to say a few words because he saw, during the break, that he was uncomfortable. Indeed, had Harry not said anything he might have found himself a target when he got home.

I find it very strange that impersonating a black person is considered offensive. The best know performer of “blackface was of course Al Jolson. According to Wiki:

He enjoyed performing in blackface makeup a theatrical convention in the early 20th century. With his unique and dynamic style of singing black music, like jazz and blues, he was later credited with single-handedly introducing African-American music to white audiences. As early as 1911 he became known for fighting against anti-black discrimination on Broadway.

Indeed, blackface probably began the dissemination of African-American culture. It seems that the injunction against this type of (admittedly pretty dated) entertainment is a recent invention of the professionally outraged.

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd(@chris-lloyd)
12 years ago

I would be more worried about the fact the MJ is recently deceased and a pretty troubled individual. They did represent him with a white face which very directly references MJs self mutilation and serious mental health problems. Not funny like a Chaser sketch about the dead a few years back. MJs family would be justifiably upset not that they would ever see an Aussie variety show.

I suspect you are in the minority with strongly reacting to the blackface aspect. Perhaps you are better versed in the history of the issue than me. But they were simply dancing badly not ridiculing black people in general. I guess the whole blackface issue is just not part of my history like, say, the stolen generation is. Anyway, the audience seemed fine with it, and subsequent polls suggest that 80% of Australians are fine with it. Many more might worry that others would be offended by it, but that is a different matter.

I only hope that the US press doesnt get a copy of the second last footy show where Sam was calling a Malaysian bloke a monkey. Much worse and much more relevant to the present and to this region.