After reading in a New York Times op-ed that naturally curly hair was making a comeback, Joy Behar, co-host of ABC’s “The View,” brought in a photo of herself to show colleagues and viewers her own former curls. Behar was 29-years-old when the photo was taken and had dressed up as a “beautiful African woman” for Halloween.
The Wrap’s media editor, Jon Levine, includes both the photo and the women’s conversation about it in the tweet below.
As the group discusses the photo, then co-host Raven-Symone asks, “Joy, are you black? Joy… are you my auntie, Joy?…Did you have tanning lotion on, Joy?”
Behar explained that she wore makeup “that was a little darker than my skin.”
Story was reported in Jezebel at the timehttps://t.co/CWp6Ds9i7o
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) February 6, 2019
This exchange took place in 2016. Fast forward to 2019.
An old yearbook photograph surfaces of two medical students dressed up for Halloween, one in blackface, the other wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe. One of the students happens to be the current Democratic governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam.
To make matters worse, Democratic Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring yesterday confessed that he had worn blackface in his college days.
I condemn Northam for his appalling support of late term abortions and the casual disregard for the sanctity of life his comments revealed. In addition, his dishonesty about the photo is disturbing.
But there is a larger issue here. Is this where we’ve come as Americans? Have these new standards of expected behavior become unreasonable? Has America’s recent embrace of political correctness made us become intolerant?
Last fall, we saw journalist Megyn Kelly fired from NBC for defending blackface Halloween costumes. Kelly said, ”But what is racist? Because you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid that was OK, as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character.” She apologized profusely for her remarks, but the damage was done.
The current political climate feels like the beginning of the #MeToo movement.
The #MeToo movement began as a worthy campaign whose time had come. It was good to see the Harvey Weinsteins of the world being held accountable for their actions. But, as it progressed, it became unreasonable. All women were to be believed. Men who may or may not have been guilty saw their lives destroyed overnight by a word from any woman.
Finally, it culminated in the most despicable chapter in Supreme Court nomination history when Christine Ford came forward with her accusation of sexual assault against now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The world was an entirely different place in the 1970s and 80s and that needs to be taken into account.
A while back, RedState’s Alex Parker posted a hilarious Saturday Night Live sketch from 1984 when the show was truly funny. In the skit, entitled “White Like Me,” Eddie Murphy, a black man, wants to find out what life would be like if he were white. He enters the “makeup” room and emerges as a white man.
NBC’s Lester Holt wore whiteface when he dressed up as British singer Susan Boyle for Halloween. “Ironically, Holt did so for an appearance on the Today Show — the very same show from which Kelly was fired.” But, he’s still there.
I have two questions.
Ralph Northam wore blackface in the 80s to a college Halloween party to get some laughs. Mark Herring wore blackface in the 80s to get some laughs. Eddie Murphy wore whiteface in the 80s to get some laughs. Lester Holt wore whiteface recently to get some laughs. Should Eddie Murphy and Lester Holt be discredited?
Second, is it okay for a black man to put on whiteface, but wrong for a white man to put on blackface? Does this standard only apply if you’re white?
As I mentioned above, I understand that Northam is under fire for more than simply wearing blackface.
But do we really want to live in such an intolerant society, knowing that something as trivial as a Halloween costume we may have worn 40 years ago might destroy us?
The recent surfacing of old Halloween photos of Northam, Herring and now Behar in blackface feels like the start of something that might easily escalate, as if it could rapidly gain the momentum of its predecessor, #MeToo. And I don’t think that’s a road we really want to travel.