Marshal Ausberry: Blackface Is an Image That Mars the Soul & the Mind

It has been said that a picture paints a thousand words. Pictures impact the soul and the mind. Logos, icons and insignias all communicate messages.

For example, most good and decent people are repulsed when they see the Nazi Swastika because it immediately reminds them of the horrible treatment and persecution of Jews; it reminds them of the attempted annihilation of a people; it reminds them of the raw brutality of evil.

Similarly, blackface is a picture that paints a thousand words. The message communicated by the donning of blackface ranges from cultural ignorance to overt racism.

Blackface appeared in America in minstrel shows during the mid to late 19th century. Black grease paint was used by white actors to portray black enslaved characters. These portrayals showed some of the worst stereotypes of African Americans, presenting them as subservient, dim-witted, ignorant and inferior. Blackface reinforced the view of white superiority. It belittles and dehumanizes African Americans and make whites comfortable with the mistreatment of blacks socially, economically and politically. This attitude infiltrates the human psyche and reinforces racist attitudes prevalent in discrimination, unfair housing, prison sentencing, voting rights and segregation to name a few.

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Source: Baptist Press