Reggie Jackson: Why the bully in Blackface never really has to apologize


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By Reggie Jackson, The Milwaukee Independent

Making a conscious decision to sit down and put shoe polish on your face is a form of bullying. To appear in public or in a picture in blackface and pretending you did not know it is offensive is a form of bullying. Acting as if the 1980s was a time where people did not understand that appearing in blackface was offensive to black people is a form of bullying.

I am tired of these bullies never having to really apologize.

It seems we cannot escape being exposed to the enduring usage of blackface by white people across the country. The issue has been discussed and debated in recent weeks because the current governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, allegedly appeared in an image from his medical school yearbook – in either blackface or a Ku Klux Klan outfit. Also on the same page in his yearbook were pictures of Northam and other information about him.

Journalists from around the country have written articles explaining why blackface is offensive. Stop it. Let’s be honest for a change. Anyone who intentionally blackens their face is doing it to offend black people. They are mocking the skin that blacks are born with. They are saying it is ugly and disgusting and appears “funny” in their view.

As people of color, we cannot wipe off our pigmentation and go about our lives like these bullies in blackface. When they wear it, they do not risk being seen as dangerous. They are not in fear of their lives because of the blackface. The police will not be called on them because of the blackface they smear over their alabaster skin. The police will not shoot them because they fear for their lives over the blackface those people wear.

To you bullies, blackface is an escape into a world you claim to despise but secretly admire…

You bullies mock us and then dance to the music that we make…

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