There's a pretty solid consensus on the topic of black-face. At the very least, its insensitive. A relic of an outdated period in entertainment history that's no longer necessary. It definitely qualifies as the big "R." The word that's casually thrown around these days on Tumblr. But I'm not saying anything here that's new. That's pretty well accepted in the world today.
Eighty years ago, Shirley Temple starred in a movie called The Littlest Rebel. She was seven years old at the time. A seven year old actress in 1930s Hollywood. I can only imagine, given the stories I've heard from modern-day child stars, just how little control Temple had over her own life at the time. She appeared in black-face in a scene in this movie. Shocking as that is nowadays, that was, if not normal, at least *not* shocking for the time.
Three days ago, Shirley Temple passed away. The majority of the world, I'm happy to say, remembered her as that cute little pixie from the 1930s. Some people remembered her for the good she did outside of her acting career. Some people are utter bastards. If anyone's still entertaining the thought that the modern 'social justice' movement is filled with well-meaning people who are upset about actual injustices in the world, put aside that notion. I'm not linking to anyone's specific statements, but feel free to Google the words if you really want to.
"How freaking sad it is that this precious gem won’t live another day to denigrate my people with racist, minstrel bullshit"
These were actual words that were written about somebody who was the US Ambassador to Ghana. About someone who was one of the first celebrities to go public about breast cancer. About a woman that ran for Congress in the 60s. The first white girl to dance with a black man on film. I take heart in the fact that there are far more voices decrying this disrespect than there are voicing it.
But the thing that bothers me the most is that the people who wrote these things likely didn't give a second thought to Shirley temple in the days, weeks, even decades leading up to her death. They saw it posted on Yahoo! News and got a instant rage-boner when they saw a new excuse to be edgy and offended. Because being offended like this gives them yet another excuse to be.. I'd say "Holier than thou" but then I'd be insulting the moderately religious. If you're going to be this shitty of a human being, you should go picket funerals like your ideological colleagues on the other side of the socio-political horse-shoe like that cult in Topeka. You'd be in good company. And if I may be allowed to predict their response to this: I'm not apologizing for racism. I'm apologizing for your behaviour, to the memory of someone who worked for a lot of good in this world.
Next week, you'll see what I had, ironically, to say about how great humans are!
The Fine Print
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