This is in response to YouTube’s Melshary (Black Face for Halloween Video).
I originally posted this on Instagram but I felt it was too long for that social media outlet. I am in agreement with a lot of her sentiments she mentioned in her video. I do not feel anyone should perpetuate the atrocities of our history’s past or make light of it by deeming it funny or a joke. A “black face” is one that cannot be changed or wiped away after a night of revelry. This is my skin and I am proud of who I am! At one time society tried to make someone like myself feel contrary to this, and for that reason alone I share this story;
I’m reminded of being in middle school during Black History Month. I used to have horrible nightmares as a kid after watching movies like “Roots”, and “The Colour Purple”. I asked my teacher to sit out of the class while she was showing a slavery movie because I couldn’t handle it. Anyways later, we had to do projects on the the Canadian railway to freedom .. A white girl in my classroom blew up a black balloon and put red lips and eyes on it with paint. She turned to me and laughing said “This looks like you!”. Some kids laughed loudly along with her. I was the only black student in the class. I was beyond enraged and shrieked, “Excuse me! That looks nothing like me” (insert angry face here) … She quickly recoiled and apologized to me even popping the balloon at once. My friends in the class spent the remainder of the period giving her evil looks and trying to comfort me. Paralyzed by these events, I sat in silence for the rest of the day. I don’t think I will ever forget how that experience made me feel. I was young but not young enough that I didn’t understand the bigger picture of what this silly girl’s antics meant. I felt alone in my experience since there was no one else who truly could understand my feelings beyond impoliteness and shock. I did forgive her as I was raised not to keep malice. However, I will NEVER forget it.
If we allow people to think it’s ok to coin derogatory words or create Halloween costumes out of the wrongs done to groups of people in the past,we are saying that those who fought for change, for what was right, and lost their lives, died in vain. I will not be one of them. I will not keep silent, and I do not wish any child to experience the inner sullenness that I did. We may not need to fight the way the pioneers of history did before us but we can use our voices and social media to take a stand and spread a positive message to those who are ignorant of the truth. Side Note: To the girl who dressed up as a Boston Marathon Runner after the bombing … I pray you realize how disrespectful and hurtful to the family of those victims that choice was. I have never felt so sick in my life. It’s not funny, it’s senseless! … As senseless as the bombing itself. Educate yourself and find compassion. These are human lives you are casting a shadow on who deserve reverence and respect not to be the butt of your jokes for an evening. I do not celebrate Halloween and I am definitely NOT convinced that I should begin to do so when I see stuff like this.