Okay, so when is it acceptable to dress up like someone from a different race or nationality? The lines of political correctness are getting so blurred now it’s hard to tell.
Last weekend, Ben Haggerty, better known by his stage-name, Macklemore, performed a surprise concert in Seattle, donning a costume that consisted of a large prosthetic nose and a dark-haired beard and wig.
If you look at the pictures, there is no way that you would not assume he was aiming for the look of a stereotypical Jewish man. In fact, I remember seeing a similar picture used in Nazi propaganda to dehumanize Jews hanging in Yad Vashem, Jerusalem’s Holocaust Museum.
Macklemore, right, during his concert.
But no harm, no foul, because Macklemore claims he didn’t mean to offend anyone with the costume pieces. Right?
In a tweet early Monday morning, Macklemore said, “A fake witches nose, wig, and beard = random costume. Not my idea of a stereotype of anybody.”
The pictures, however, tell a completely different story. The concert photos even caught the eye of Seth Rogen, a Jewish Hollywood comedian and actor.
Rogen shot back on Twitter, saying, “Really?? Because if I told someone to put together an anti-Semitic Jew costume, they’d have that exact shopping list.” There is really little doubt.
Nick Cannon in white face. Credit: Fox News.
Maybe you remember when Nick Cannon, the host of "America’s Got Talent," sported “whiteface,” red hair, and typical “hipster” attire. He said that he was “doing a character impression.” He believed donning whiteface and the rest of the costume was okay because it was out of humor.
Why is it seemingly acceptable to dress up as certain ethnicities or races but not others?
[sharequote align="center"]Why is it seemingly acceptable to dress up as certain ethnicities or races but not others?[/sharequote]
The daughter of Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin once took a promotional picture for her band, wearing a traditional Native American headdress. The band received so much backlash from the photo that they had to release an official apology. In the letter, the band said that they felt a deep connection to Native American culture growing up in Oklahoma and intended to show reverence through the photo. She wasn’t dressed or posed in a demeaning way; she was simply wearing the headdress.
So, who’s right and who’s wrong? Is it okay to dress up in a way that others might deem discriminatory if you believe you’re showing respect, it’s all in good fun, or you didn’t mean to offend anyone?
I won’t be the judge of that, but out of all the similar stories that have come across my news feed lately, there seems to be a correlation between what (and whom) it is okay to mimic and what isn’t.
You’ll recall the very controversial “Black Mass” that was set to occur at Harvard recently. The “educational reenactment” was going to mock a traditional Catholic mass. Luckily, the wide spread publicity shut that down, but I can’t help but think if a group had tried to mock a sacred ceremony from any religion other than Christianity, the left’s arbiters of political correctness would have flipped out.
Katy Perry performs "Dark Horse" at the 56th annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
When all is said and done, what Macklemore did was, at the very least, rude. He dressed up in a negative depiction of an entire ethnicity, and whether he intentionally did it or not, he needed to apologize.
Macklemore is known for standing up for those he feels are discriminated against, which to him is the “gay” and lesbian community. In his song, “Same Love,” he preaches about how “the right wing conservatives” and Christians are so culturally insensitive towards homosexuals.
If Macklemore wants to patrol what constitutes discrimination and bigotry, he had better take a good, long look in the mirror first.
We all need to remember the brutal lessons of Jewish history which include similarly “funny” pictures that ended in mass genocide — more than once. Macklemore and all his cool friends will have to forgive us if we don’t laugh. We aren’t amused.
Penny Young Nance is the CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization. Find out more at cwfa.org.
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