Monday, February 25, 2013

Statement from Assemblyman Camara regarding Assemblyman Hikind's Blackface Costume

Contact: Jervonne Singletary
Office of New York State Assemblyman Karim Camara
1216 Union Street Brooklyn, NY
718-771-3105 (o)
718-344-2023 (c)

Statement from Caucus Chair Regarding Assemblyman Hikind’s ‘Blackface’     Costume
 I am deeply shocked and outraged by the insensitive actions of Assemblyman Hikind, to dress as a black basketball player complete with tanned skin and an afro wig. We, as leaders have to be extremely careful that we foster understanding amongst our different cultural groups and not use the images of one as a tool for humor. In speaking with many African Americans both leaders and average citizens, the outrage is widespread. 

The history of the blackface minstrel show is something deeply painful in the African American community. It brings back the memories of African Americans being reduced to “buffoonery” just to gain access to the entertainment industry. The stereotypes embodied in blackface minstrels have played a significant role in cementing and proliferating racist images, attitudes and perceptions, which are still painful and offensive today.

I find the actions of the Assemblyman to be callous and repugnant. At the very least, an apology should be issued to those who found his portrayal objectionable. 

This response is on Assemblyman Dov Hikind's blog.

It's Purim. People Dress Up.

Yes, I wore a costume on Purim and hosted a party. Most of the people who attended also wore costumes. Everywhere that Purim was being celebrated, people wore costumes. It was Purim. People dress up.

I am intrigued that anyone who understands Purim—or for that matter understands me—would have a problem with this. This is political correctness to the absurd. There is not a prejudiced bone in my body. 

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