Blackface, though, isn’t just an embarrassing episode of the past. It continues to appear in popular culture, media and advertising around the world. Blackface characters in Europe, including “Black Pete” in the Netherlands and Belgium’s “Le Sauvage” , have sparked protest from anti-racism activists and raised questions over how these traditions impact their respective communities of colour.
Blackface started in the United States in 19th-century minstrel shows where white actors donned black makeup to demean African Americans. The practice was accepted as mainstream American entertainment and became a cultural export.
We’ll discuss the legacy of blackface and learn more about its roots in racism.
On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Professor of art history, McGill University