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Daniel - Poker Journal

Blackface

14 Feb 2007

***** THE DEFINITION OF RACISM

1.THE BELIEF THAT A PARTICULAR RACE IS SUPERIOR TO OTHERS
2.DISCRIMINATION OR PREJUDICE BASED ON RACE

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So if you haven't seen the latest video blog, I do a little skit where I impersonate a Jamaican character named Dexter. I threw on a dread lock hair wig, wore my best Bob Marley outfit, and had my wife do my makeup so that I'd look Jamaican.

She mixed brown face paint with black face paint. Jamaicans often have much darker complexions and she was trying to be authentic. She was doing it in the light and it looked good, but when finished, it was darker than I expected. I wanted it to look more like the pictures from Halloween when I did the same thing in 2003.

So anyway, I've been reading on the forums that some people were offended, claming that it looked too much like blackface. Now, I saw the movie Bamboozled and I'm aware of the historical significance of it.

When I put this blog together, not for a second did I have any intention whatsoever of having it come off as a racist skit. I'm a little surprised that some people made the connection to blackface. Aside from actually using makeup, there was nothing blackface about the skit.

In fact, before releasing the blog to the public, it was screened by a black audience. I knew only one of the people who screened it. No one had a problem with it.

What I find slightly strange is that it seems as though the people who had the biggest problem with it... are white.

Now, I watch Saturday Night Live, MadTV, and similar skit shows from time to time, and have seen skits where white people play blacks, whites play Asians, blacks play whites, etc. The skit that I did, was no different than those type of skits in my opinion. I don't see them as racist skits, I just see them as an attempt at humor.

In high school, two of my best friends, Tony and Mikey, were Jamaican. We used to hang out at their place all the time. In fact, most of my friends in grade school were black. From grade one up until grade six I had a total of two white friends. Vaughan, Ron, Mark, Junior, Apache, Carl, and Willie all had either Jamaican or Antiguan backgrounds. My brothers best friends were also of Jamaican decent.

Not that any of the matters, but I wanted to paint a picture for anyone who felt like my intentions where malicious. I come from the most multi-cultural city in the entire world. Race was hardly an issue growing up in Toronto, it's a total melting pot. I can understand that it's not the same everywhere and that race is a much more sensitive issue here in the U.S.

I've always been able to laugh at myself, my friends laughed at me, and everything was always very light hearted growing up. Race was never an issue at all. Two of my other best friends, Regev and Oren, are Israeli's. We used to crack on each other hard, me being a Romanian "thief" and all. We all made fun of each other, but more importantly, we made fun of ourselves.

I've always believed that humor is the best way to lighten things up, especially with potentially sensitive issues. I thought the skit was funny and non-offensive. It was all just a joke, much like what we see in society all the time, whether it's Dan Akroyd playing a black dude, the Wayans brothers playing White Chicks, Eddie Murphy imitating white people with face paint, or Jamie Kennedy dressing up as a black woman.

Ok, clearly it's a little more sensitive when a white guy imitates a black dude, but if the intentions are pure, I can't imagine why anyone would be offended by it. If you know that their was no malicious intent, why would it bother you? There wasn't an ounce of hate that went into that skit.

I've had Jamaican people e-mail me telling me that they aren't offended in the least and that they sent it to their friends. The e-mail said that there are jokes in there that non-Jamaicans just wont get.

I dunno, I just think sometimes we take ourselves way too seriously. If we were all able to laugh at ourselves and our differences, I think the world would be a better place.

At the very least, I hope that this brings up healthy discussion about race relations. I believe that it's healthy to talk about this sort of thing rather than ignore it completely.


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Random Canadian Jokes:

One day an Englishman, an American, and a Canadian walked into a pub
together. The proceeded to each buy a pint of Molson Canadian. Just as they
were about to enjoy their beverage three flies landed in each of their
pints. The Englishman pushed his beer away from him in disgust. The
American fished the offending fly out of his beer and continued drinking it
as if nothing had happened.

The Canadian picked the fly out of his drink and started shaking it over the
pint, yelling, "SPIT IT OUT, SPIT IT OUT YOU!!!"

****

A Canadian is walking down the street with a case of beer under his arm.
His friend Doug stops him and asks, "Hey Bob! Whatcha get the case of beer
for?" "I got it for my wife, eh." answers Bob. "Oh!" exclaims Doug,
"Good trade."

****

On the first day of Grade Three, Johnnie's teacher asked the students to
count to 50. Many of them did very well, some getting as high as 37. But
Johnnie did extremely well; he made it to 100 with only 3 mistakes. At home
he told his Dad how well he had done. Dad told him, "That's because you are
from Newfoundland, son." The next day, in language class, the teacher asked
students to recite the alphabet. Some made it to the letter "k" with only
one mistake, but Johnnie outdid them again. He made it all the way through,
missing only the letter "m". That evening he once again brought his Dad up
to date and Dad explained to him, "That's because you are from Newfoundland,
son". The next day, after Physical Education, the boys were taking
showers.Johnnie noted that, compared to the other boys in his grade, he
seemed overly "well-endowed". This confused him. That night, he asked his
Dad, "Dad, they all have little tiny ones, but mine is ten times bigger than
theirs. Is that because I'm from Newfoundland?" "No, son, "explained Dad,
"That's because you're 18!"

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