REPORT: Blackface popular at same time culture made racial imagery comical
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At the time Virginia’s future political leaders put on blackface in college for fun, Dan Aykroyd wore it too — in the hit 1983 comedy “Trading Places.”
Sports announcers of that time often described Boston Celtics player Larry Bird, who is white, as “smart” while describing his black NBA opponents as athletically gifted.
The article goes on to state the following:
Such racial insensitivities ran rampant in popular culture during the 1980s, the era in which Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and the state’s attorney general, Mark Herring, have admitted to wearing blackface as they mimicked pop singer Michael Jackson and rapper Kurtis Blow, respectively.
It would be another 10 years before the rise of multiculturalism began to change America’s racial sensibilities, in part because intellectuals and journalists of color were better positioned to successfully challenge racist images, and Hollywood began to listen.
“We are in a stronger position to educate the American public about symbols and cultural practices that are harmful today than we were in the 1980s,” said Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University.
How once-rampant blackface in pop culture became history https://t.co/z2qwChrGdJ
— NOLA.com (@NOLAnews) February 10, 2019
At the time some future Virginia political leaders were putting on blackface, Hollywood and popular culture still sent messages that racial stereotypes and racist imagery were comical and harmless. https://t.co/MqAC4UjgwG
— AP South U.S. Region (@APSouthRegion) February 10, 2019
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