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Episode 12 — Blackface in Japan


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#1 Earwolf Admin

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 11:00 PM

Yo, welcome back race cars! This week the Sklar Bros are here in studio to discuss the use of blackface in Japan. Call us with your own question about whether or not something is racist at 323-389 RACE.

#2 Kevin Irmiter

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 12:45 AM

I remember seeing this and being honestly conflicted:



OK, so on the one hand, it absolutely blew my mind. And I totally have to admit, without the blackface it would never have had the same impact. But at the same time, I can't deny how similar it is to the kind of blackface I know is racist. I find myself wondering, is it different?

Anyway, after watching this I kind of felt like there was a grey area where, if you were doing an impression of someone specific (rather than generic caricature), and you did it well enough, maybe blackface could possibly not be racist. But I really don't know, and am hoping some of you could develop this further.

BTW, I am posting this before listening to the podcast.

EDIT: OK, I'm coming back now that I have listened to the podcast. Swear to God, I had NOT listened to the podcast beforehand, it's just coincidence that I mentioned the video. Or maybe not--it's probably one of those things that had a big impact on everyone who saw it.

One thing the Sklars say that I take issue with is, they said the Japanese can find out that blackface is racist just by doing a google search... Which is of course true, in English. You do a search in their language, you're not going to find as much information. Actually, there is no real equivalent to "blackface" in the Japanese language. Hell, English only has the term in relation to black people--there is no commonly used word referring to make yourself up to look like another race except specifically for black people. So you might think "look it up" but you couldn't even look it up unless you had the cultural knowledge to know that such a concept exists in the first place.

But yeah, I do think there is a difference between "blackface" and using makeup to make yourself look like a black person. When you do the stereotypical blackface, with exaggerated features like you would see in cartoons from the 30s and 40s, that falls under the umbrella of "definitely racist." When you use makeup to make yourself look like a black person, but taking care to make yourself look like a REAL black person, that falls under the umbrella of "maybe racist, so you'd better be extra careful to do it in a way that's NOT racist."

#3 Luke HENDERSON!

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 05:27 AM

I love the Sklars on this show. They offer a great balance to the madness that was Jon Daley last week. They seem to be taking the topics very seriously and treating them with the proper respect.

#4 Jeff MacDonald

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 05:41 AM

View PostKevin Irmiter, on 16 October 2012 - 12:45 AM, said:

I remember seeing this and being honestly conflicted:



OK, so on the one hand, it absolutely blew my mind. And I totally have to admit, without the blackface it would never have had the same impact. But at the same time, I can't deny how similar it is to the kind of blackface I know is racist. I find myself wondering, is it different?

Anyway, after watching this I kind of felt like there was a grey area where, if you were doing an impression of someone specific (rather than generic caricature), and you did it well enough, maybe blackface could possibly not be racist. But I really don't know, and am hoping some of you could develop this further.

BTW, I am posting this before listening to the podcast.


That is the first time i've seen this video and I have to say, yo, that is very racist.

#5 Codyfancypants

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 08:19 PM

http://youtu.be/GpNSip5gyKo

I'm a code noob, so no embed, but here's the Japanese Obama thing.


I think this sketch is hilarious and not in bad taste. Obama turns a lemon into an orange and makes CHANGE. Funny stuff mang...
"Excuse me, where's the restroom?" - Mark Twain

http://www.youtube.c.../CodyFancyPants