Author Topic: Billy Crystal and blackface  (Read 23287 times)

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Surianne

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Re: Billy Crystal and blackface
« Reply #45 on: March 02, 2012, 02:18:44 PM »
I'm not seeing any blackface here, just an impression that uses makeup.  Since Sammy's daughter is fine with it, and Sammy himself was back in the day, I can't see anything rude or wrong about it.  Personally I'm just glad to see a little bit of Sammy again, love that man, and Crystal really does him justice in my opinion  :)

blahblahblah

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Re: Billy Crystal and blackface
« Reply #46 on: March 02, 2012, 02:22:56 PM »
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Since Sammy's daughter is fine with it, and Sammy himself was back in the day, I can't see anything rude or wrong about it. 
Sammy's daughter and Sammy's opinions are IMO largely irrelevant, because blackface is not just about them. It hurts POC as a whole. I mean, I guess it'd have been one thing if Crystal had just done it privately for SDJ's daughter, but he didn't. He did it on an incredibly public platform, so other people's opinions matter. So the fact that his daughter gave Crystal her blessing doesn't really change anything.

(And with that, I'm out of this thread.)

Surianne

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Re: Billy Crystal and blackface
« Reply #47 on: March 02, 2012, 02:37:53 PM »
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Since Sammy's daughter is fine with it, and Sammy himself was back in the day, I can't see anything rude or wrong about it. 
Sammy's daughter and Sammy's opinions are IMO largely irrelevant, because blackface is not just about them. It hurts POC as a whole. I mean, I guess it'd have been one thing if Crystal had just done it privately for SDJ's daughter, but he didn't. He did it on an incredibly public platform, so other people's opinions matter. So the fact that his daughter gave Crystal her blessing doesn't really change anything.

(And with that, I'm out of this thread.)

You'll note that I said (in the same post you quoted) that I don't consider it blackface at all, so I'm afraid we're discussing different things here. 

I'm sorry my post offended you to the point you have to leave the thread, but I certainly phrased it politely and I've done nothing wrong here.  I've just stated my opinion on the matter, which is what a discussion thread is for.

Sabbyfrog2

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Re: Billy Crystal and blackface
« Reply #48 on: March 02, 2012, 03:47:53 PM »
I would also like to point out something that I was just reminded of about "Blackface" that I had forgotten myself...

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.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 03:53:56 PM by Sabbyfrog2 »

Surianne

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Re: Billy Crystal and blackface
« Reply #49 on: March 02, 2012, 03:53:47 PM »
I would also like to point out something that I was just reminded of about "Blackface" that I had forgotten myself...

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  involving 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.

I'd heard about that but didn't know the full extent -- very interesting! 

Sabbyfrog2

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Re: Billy Crystal and blackface
« Reply #50 on: March 02, 2012, 03:57:58 PM »
I would also like to point out something that I was just reminded of about "Blackface" that I had forgotten myself...

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  involving 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.

I'd heard about that but didn't know the full extent -- very interesting!

I did a quick google search and found a LOT of info. I was inspired by another ehellion.  :D
Granted, I don't deny the fact that the whole thing in and of itself is filled with racial connotations on both sides but it's quite a fascinating history.

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.

afbluebelle

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Re: Billy Crystal and blackface
« Reply #51 on: March 02, 2012, 04:20:33 PM »
For the record, I just thought White Chicks was a bad movie. Just wanted to go on record to say that  :P
My inner (r-word) is having a field day with this one.
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violinp

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Re: Billy Crystal and blackface
« Reply #52 on: March 02, 2012, 05:08:50 PM »
For the record, I just thought White Chicks was a bad movie. Just wanted to go on record to say that  :P

There are people who think it's good?
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jaxsue

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Re: Billy Crystal and blackface
« Reply #53 on: March 03, 2012, 08:47:42 AM »
Sabby, love your posts. They make the most sense to me. And I learned something as well (minstrel show facts).

General comment: I have a CD of very early recordings of comedians. It is all what passed for stereotypical humor. Jarring, compared to today's standards, but as Sabby said, part of our history. And yes, my "people" (the Irish) are portrayed as loud, drunken fools on it. This was the era when you'd probably see "Irish keep out" signs in shop windows.


Roe

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Re: Billy Crystal and blackface
« Reply #54 on: March 03, 2012, 11:23:18 AM »
I have read through the whole thread and am still in the mindset that Crystal, and the Oscars, have nothing to apologize for.

The term "Blackface" is being thrown around incorrectly and frankly, I myself am finding it offensive as an actor. What Crystal did was not "Blackface". He donned a costume to impersonate a once living, breathing, person. (A person who never claimed offense at the gag himself.) Dark makeup was a part of that costume. To call it "blackface" is offensive to me personally as an actor. My friend had to don dark makeup for a role when no dark skinned woman was available for a role. I resent the implication that she is "racist" and did "Blackface" because she did so.  I am begging people to please stop using that term to describe the bit; It's not even close.

I understand that some people are bothered by the "black makeup", those people are entitled to their feelings, but you know, EVERY culture has something in their history that is painful. 
When did it become acceptable to go around demanding apologies from people for every. little. thing. that might POSSIBLY remind SOMEONE of some painful time in the PAST? A past that most of the folks who claim offense can't even claim to remember personally because they were not around when it happened! By most of the arguments here, I could claim offense at every implication, ad, or sketch that portrays the Irish as drunken, tempermental, idiots who only eat potatoes, Lucky Charms and carry around 4 leaf clovers. Or I could demand an apology for my Irish ancestors who died while building the railroads and demand they pay me restitution because "it's too painful to look at a railroad".
Please.

How else are we to get past these things anyway if we just ignore them and pretend they didn't happen? I am not trying to dismiss anyones feelings but this really is much ado about nothing.

People are cherry picking what's offensive. Why if it's not okay for Crystal to don the dark makeup for a bit is it okay for an African-American comedian to don white makeup for a role or make jokes about white people? The double standard and hypocrisy is ridiculous and I cannot believe we are perpetuating it on this board by lambasting one and not the other.  Either it's okay, or it's not.

Thank you.  Oh, and a HUGE POD! 


Lauren

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Re: Billy Crystal and blackface
« Reply #55 on: March 03, 2012, 11:37:51 AM »
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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.

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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.

Quote
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)

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Roe

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Re: Billy Crystal and blackface
« Reply #56 on: March 03, 2012, 12:03:36 PM »
FTR, I agree with Sabby and I am not white.  Just for the record. 

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Re: Billy Crystal and blackface
« Reply #57 on: March 03, 2012, 10:43:35 PM »
Lauren, that was really well put. I agree with your post entirely.

Scuba_Dog

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Re: Billy Crystal and blackface
« Reply #58 on: March 03, 2012, 11:23:14 PM »
I have read through the whole thread and am still in the mindset that Crystal, and the Oscars, have nothing to apologize for.

The term "Blackface" is being thrown around incorrectly and frankly, I myself am finding it offensive as an actor. What Crystal did was not "Blackface". He donned a costume to impersonate a once living, breathing, person. (A person who never claimed offense at the gag himself.) Dark makeup was a part of that costume. To call it "blackface" is offensive to me personally as an actor. My friend had to don dark makeup for a role when no dark skinned woman was available for a role. I resent the implication that she is "racist" and did "Blackface" because she did so.  I am begging people to please stop using that term to describe the bit; It's not even close.

I understand that some people are bothered by the "black makeup", those people are entitled to their feelings, but you know, EVERY culture has something in their history that is painful. 
When did it become acceptable to go around demanding apologies from people for every. little. thing. that might POSSIBLY remind SOMEONE of some painful time in the PAST? A past that most of the folks who claim offense can't even claim to remember personally because they were not around when it happened! By most of the arguments here, I could claim offense at every implication, ad, or sketch that portrays the Irish as drunken, tempermental, idiots who only eat potatoes, Lucky Charms and carry around 4 leaf clovers. Or I could demand an apology for my Irish ancestors who died while building the railroads and demand they pay me restitution because "it's too painful to look at a railroad".
Please.

How else are we to get past these things anyway if we just ignore them and pretend they didn't happen? I am not trying to dismiss anyones feelings but this really is much ado about nothing.

People are cherry picking what's offensive. Why if it's not okay for Crystal to don the dark makeup for a bit is it okay for an African-American comedian to don white makeup for a role or make jokes about white people? The double standard and hypocrisy is ridiculous and I cannot believe we are perpetuating it on this board by lambasting one and not the other.  Either it's okay, or it's not.

You are 110% on point right! 

This is a brilliant post!
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hyzenthlay

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Re: Billy Crystal and blackface
« Reply #59 on: March 04, 2012, 12:26:17 AM »
But he has hurt people. He has brought up bad memories for a lot of people. 

But it seems to me that most of the people that claim to be 'hurt' are not hurt due to memories of 'blackface' routines. They are hurt to be reminded in any way shape or form of the dreadful history of race relations.

But banning anything that anyone ever finds offensive ever won't solve the crimes of the past, and won't help us as a people continue to move forward either.  If Sammy Davis Jr's family finds the act fitting and a tribute rather then painful then I think it's to anyone who is 'hurt' to look past their initial reaction and accept that in some cases donning another skin color is not tied up in racism and privilege, but is simply meant as humor.