Blackface For Good: Only With the Right Foundation?

Is there ever a “right way” for someone to make themselves up in Blackface? Nope.


But is there a difference between (a) the inherently exploitative act of Blackfacing and (b) experimenting with cultural and cosmetic aspects of identity in an equitable, inclusive, constructive, and respectful way? I think the answer to that one is “Maybe“, but I’m a European/American White guy. Continue reading “Blackface For Good: Only With the Right Foundation?”

Privilege of Pain v.s. Privilege of Power

An Idea that keeps bouncing around my head these days: there is a collision between the Privilege of Power (the “Haves”) and the Privilege of Pain (the “Have Nots”). Different ways of protesting, speaking, behaving, etc.

Both sides use their privilege to gain advantage, protect their interests, the right the wrongs carried out against them, and maybe even to get revenge. Both sides have “justification” for their privilege — it is something they inherited, something they won, something they earned. Both privileges dictate their own language and story. And I put “justification” in quotes because these privileges seem to follow a law that goes beyond an official legal code, something closer to the Code of Hammurabi (eye for an eye) or the Code of Victor Hugo (ok to steal bread when you’re poor).

Borrowed from

It’s one thing when these Privileges stay in their box, when they have their own jurisdictions that don’t overlap, or when they overlap but they compromise. Isn’t that the “contract” between government and the governed? Isn’t that the bargain we strike with the Leviathan? Isn’t that what Law and Order is about?

The boxes rarely stay closed these days and the balance is more uneasy. Asymmetric warfare, civil movements, the rainbow revolutions (Green, Orange, etc.).

Maybe there is an awareness that these privileges have more cost than benefit, awareness that too much power or pain can take us over. I would like to think we are learning.