I’ll Keep it Brief Mia – Australian Blackface
1. As most of us know Delta Goodrem retweeted the other night a chap in blackface and thought it “Hilarious”
2. Mia Freedman uses her popular website Mamamia to defend Delta and suggesting “there is a huge difference between painting your face black to mock an entire race and painting yourself black to respectfully dress up as someone who has black skin.”
Well that is where you are dead wrong Mia, your whole article is wrong, but this is particularly offensive. There is a misconception in your article and in most of what is written about Blackface that it began as a way of white actors painting on the black and playing buffoonish characters. This is flatly incorrect! Although this is what would become of Blackface it actually started much earlier in serious theatre were the complete lack of black actors meant the roles were filled by white folk with their faces and arms painted black.
Now why couldn’t black people simply play those roles like we would expect now. Geez we got a whole season of Redfern Now with an Indigenous cast playing their own black roles. What on earth was going on back in the halcyon days of blackface that required white folk to black up.
This is what was happening Mia, this is where the black men were in this country! I know you probably think slavery was confined to the United States and ended with the Civil War and stamped out with the Civil Rights movement. But how about looking back at the history of your own country, the massacres, the forced labour, the removal of children, the brutality. This is why these men were not available down at the local theatre to play a black role, in Australia they were in chains!
So when blackface is used in Australia, when a famous person thinks it is “Hilarious” and when you believe in can be used “Respectfully” look back at this photo and have a think. This is the real past of where Blackface in this country comes. And now fast forward to today, a life expectancy for Aboriginal people at third world levels.
Look above at the photo again, they are black faces, they are slave chains around their necks and the use of Blackface is the re-attachment of those handcuffs and padlocks!