Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Red-Faced By Blackface?

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Posted November 3, 2009 by Jeff Prince in Blotch

An African-American man wore a generic white-person mask at a costume party I attended two Saturdays ago.

The costume was kind of amusing. It certainly didn’t appear to offend anybody at the party, which consisted of about 25 whites, 25 Hispanics, and 2 African-Americans.

“I guess it’s okay for a black person to wear a white face in public,” I said to a friend of mine at the party. “But if a white person wore a black face there’d be hell to pay.”

Sure enough, the Dallas Morning News is reporting that Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Whitney Isleib is getting slammed after Facebook photos allegedly show her at a Halloween costume party dressed as Lil Wayne, including dreads, gold teeth, and black makeup.

Isleib, a white woman, is “getting attacked on blogs nationwide,” according to the Morning News.

Deadspin has the pictures here, with a caption that says, “When are people going to learn that you cannot upload photos to your Facebook page if you don’t want them to get out? What we have here (allegedly) is a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader dressed as Lil’ Wayne. In blackface.”

That’s a crock.

Blackface refers to the tradition of white entertainers like Al Jolsen donning makeup that makes them look black, and talking in exaggerated black idiom and singing “Mammy” and stuff. While an accepted form of comedy at one time, blackface was considered highly racist by the mid-20th Century.

Isleib, however, dressed as a specific black entertainer. She went as Lil’ Wayne. What’s the big deal? It’s a costume party after all.

Even more interesting is that other Facebook photos on the same site show white women dressed in traditional Mexican garb and wearing brown makeup and fake facial hair. Where’s the outrage there? And in between those two women is a black woman who also appears to be dressed as a Latino.

So what’s racially insulting and what isn’t?

Tyra Banks, a black talk show host and former supermodel, recently put white models in dark makeup for a photo shoot on America’s Next Top Model.

Last month, a white model appeared in dark makeup in French Vogue.

The phenomenon prompted Vibe to ask, “Is blackface the new black?

The black dude wearing a white mask at the party I attended recently was young, about 20. Isleib is 21. Partygoers in the Facebook photos all appear to be in their 20s.

Maybe young folks today think about race differently. Maybe the races have evolved to the point where they can dress as each other at costume parties without anybody being offended except for Facebook busybodies and media muckrackers.


8 Comments


  1.  
    Jimmy F.

    You beat me to the “Blotch” punch, Jeff. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you wrote. People who say she went to the party in “blackface” clearly have no clue that, historically, “blackface” constitutes a very specific character in itself., with a particular look and style of speech. She didn’t go as Al Jolson, she went as Li’l Wayne. Fake “controversy” like this just fatigues people and inures them to genuine episodes of racism.




  2.  
    Fried

    The PC dawgs are barking up the wrong tree again.




  3.  
    Jeff Prince

    After writing this blog post I started reading Deadspin, which is an edgy online site for commentators who are about as non-politically correct as they come. Tons of people on countless web sites are talking today about how racist and horrible the Cowboys cheerleader was for wearing black makeup on her skin. But it surprised me that Deadspin would join in the fray.

    Check out this Q&A column from a Deadspin columnist asked about whether it’s okay to keep smoking pot after becoming a parent. It’s funny as hell, politically incorrect, and, well, pretty much true.

    QUESTION:

    I earn a good living working in Manhattan and support my wife (a stay at home mom) and kid with a nice home on Long Island. After a long day of work I usually come home, cook a nice dinner, enjoy some sports and throw back a beer or two. I also like to smoke pot. I started smoking regularly in college and I guess the habit/hobby just never went away. Does this make me a bad Dad?
    My wife smokes too (she doesn’t really drink). We usually wait until my daughter is asleep but sometimes we’ll take turns sneaking downstairs in the basement for a couple hits. I’m struggling with weather or not this is a juvenile transgression that I should have given up long ago or a relatively harmless vice that allows me to relax after work. Am I a victim of an unfair social taboo or are you dialing CPS as you read this?

    ANSWER:

    Before my first kid was born, I kept a small cigar box in our apartment with all my weed supplies: a dimebag, a pipe, and a lighter. When the kid arrived, I took the box and threw it out. I figured that was the responsible thing to do.

    Here’s why that was a stupid idea. First of all, it’s a little kid. It’s too stupid to know that you’re a pothead, and it’s too young to give a shit. That’s the nice thing about little kids. Most of the parenting you do is physical: feeding, nursing, playing, etc. There’s no real emotional parenting to do, and that’s why everyone I know that has kids over 13 or older says taking care of a some asshole teenager is 17 times worse than taking care of a toddler. So I say you keep on smokin’. It’s not like you have to confront the problem any time soon. I say you quit when the kid turns 10, for reasons that are arbitrary and pointless.

    Also, you were able to produce a child, which is proof alone you don’t smoke too much pot. If anything, I say you need to buy BETTER weed, because the shit you got now is clearly putting you on edge.

    I smoke weed any time it’s presented to me these days. Clearly, I’m not THAT interested in being a good role model. Plus, I never tossed out the liquor, which is arguably much worse to have around. I’ll lose the kid before I throw out my precious booze.




  4.  
    luvbug

    TV news is reporting it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaX3PoOfCjw
    Some people interviewed are saying it would be okay to wear the costume but that the girl is a role model and shouldn’t have dressed like Lil’ Wayne. WTF? Since when is a 21 yr old bubblehead cheerleader a role model for anybody?




  5.  
    Marc

    Just another unjust racial attack on a white person by the real racial side who gives into pressure because they are persuaded by groups/corperations or scumbags like al sharpton. When is this country going to learn that the real problems arent these petty racial problems that people drum up after one person thinks its wrong….grow up, and grow a set! This cheerleeder should not apoligize to anyone!!!




  6.  
    sean

    It does not surprise me that many who have responded to this article just don’t get it. Of course you wouldn’t… you have never had to deal with oppression and racism the same as a person of color has ever had to. Historically people of color have been murdered, tortured, oppressed and humiliated by whites for hundreds of years. do i need to remind anyone about slavery? i agree this story is definitely not really news worthy, but when will non people of color recognize that their actions, HISTORICALLY have a lot of bruises and scars that are not taken well by people of color? It was not long ago that MLK was murdered for his stance on equality and civil rights. It was not like he was murdered in the 1800′s or anything! Take a moment and get off your “why are they targeting us innocent whites” type attitude and just look at the situation for what it is worth! Rude and uncalled for. It clearly would not be acceptable if someone said we ‘ we just like the way the Nazi clothing looked’ for Halloween? I don’t believe the woman is a racist or prejudice, but i do believe she is a knuckle head for thinking it was cool to go out like that. To respond to the movie “White Chicks,” first of all it was garbage! Second does the joke of dressing up in white face have any detrimental or degrading history, like slavery or racism in America? I dare anyone to have any proof on that? When you can look back at pictures of white men standing around lynched black slaves hanging from trees with joy and pride on their faces, or watch old Warner Bros. cartoons of blacks being portrayed negatively in front of all white audiences during the 50′s, 60′s, 70′s and even 80′s and not feel a since of responsibility as a person to comprehend and recognize what is sensitive and damaging to another ethnic group as opposed to saying “just get over it” then i can say we are making progress. I know i will definitely get negative feedback to what i have posted, but to me that points out the lack of understanding people have to historic racially charged issues that have plagued this country. A history that has built itself on oppressing people of color, indigenous people (Native Americans), immigrants and women and NEVER apologized or made ANY actions to undue these wrongful acts?




  7.  
    luvbug

    Sean: I for one welcome any viewpoint such as yours that is delivered rationally and thoughtfully even though I disagree with your point.

    I’ve gone as Adolph Hitler to a costume party before. I don’t like Hitler or his politics. I’m no Nazi and I think it’s terrible what he did to the world and to the Jews in the 1930s abd 1940s but it was a costume party so chill out people. I went as Frankenstein one year too. That doesn’t mean I’m a reanimated cadaver that monstrously murders people. It’s just a freaking costume.




  8.  
    sean

    watch the movie “Night and Fog” (dir. Alain Resnais, 1955). Please!!!! i challenge you to just sit through it. If you feel the same afterward, i really have nothing to say to you. Frankenstein was a fictional character. Hitler was quite real and led a group in murdering, torturing and almost exterminating a country and more worth of Jews. Fictional Frankenstein just does not weigh the same as a maniacal racist tyrant. i thinkyou can find scenes from night and fog n youtube.





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