Not for a Sammy Davis Jr Impersonation. No one would have bought it.
Sorry, that's actually an absurd statement and as an actor, *I* take that personally.
By that argument, I can say the same about the Marlon Bros in White Girls. Surely those two African-American men dressing up as blue-eyed blonde females and putting on the stereotypical rich "white girl" mannerisms was completely unnecessary then. Surely they could have portrayed those characters as themselves right? If they were good actors, I would have believed the bit without the costume.
That movie was stupid, but you are comparing apples and oranges. There is no historical connotation for African-American people painting themselves white to make fun of white people. None. There is no systematic racism of white people.
Besides that, yes it is quite easy to act as a 'rich white girl' I've seen men do it all the time. It's not hard.
Were you even around when "Blackface" was done? I am genuinely curious because if you were I can understand the extra sensitivity. If not, then I don't understand why an actor is being so harshly criticized for the offenses of the PAST. A PAST that we only know about through books and old videos. Crystal's being lambasted based on an impersonation. An impersonation that the family of the person he was intimidating didn't even have a problem with.
No but based on that I can't get offended over anything if I wasn't around when it originally happened.
His family has the right to not be offended. Others have the right to be offended over it.
What's in the past is in the past. LOTS of offensive and oppressive things happened to LOTS of different cultures and races. We can't keep tip toeing around things because someone somewhere might be feel offended. The best way to avoid offense is to take these things in the spirit that they are done and not by rehashing past offenses of the days of yore. We should remember the past to avoid repeating it, not use it as a tool for a modern day witch hunt.
Plus, what better way to get over the past and take the power back from it then to laugh at it? Laughing at the ignorance of the past is the best way to take the power away from it and move forward IMO.
In the past there was a different way to say the rhyme 'catch a tiger by the toe' Should that be OK? (and as an Australian girl in the 80s I was taught the other version and it wasn't until I was repeating it to a younger family member at 15 that I even realized what I was actually saying)
African-Americans themselves did appear in "blackface" in minstrel shows and in fact, at some points, became more popular than the "white" minstrel "blackface" shows. There was a lot of self-parody and plantation jokes with African-American "Blackface". Some African-American "blackface" performers used thier"Blackface" performance to satirize white behavior just as white "blackface" performers were doing to African-Americans. Some African-American "blackface" performers went on to be quite famous. Bert Williams is an example. It went both ways. It's not offensive that I mention that; it's History folks.
So because black people engaged in their own discrimination that's OK? I can bring up many, many examples of minorities discriminating against each other. People who are systematically discriminated against will do things that aren't right. That doesn't make it OK for their oppressors to keep doing these things.
I only put it out there because it seems that a lot of people are arguing against Billy Crystal based on emotion and some perceived offense and not facts. It's not fair to him and it certainly isn't fair to society. We cannot get past things like this if we aren't willing to use logic and reason, and just take things in the spirit they are done in instead of looking for offense everywhere.
Intent is not magical. Intent can hurt. I don't believe Billy Crystal came out to hurt people by doing that impersonation. I don't think he even thought of the hurt he would cause others. I know he wasn't meaning to be malicious. But he has hurt people. He has brought up bad memories for a lot of people. That's the very definition of white privilege.