The sport I participate in is having an Olympic Opening Ceremonies party on Friday with a retro Olympics theme. People are encouraged to dress up as their favourite Olympians. Should be fun, right? But, as we know, fancy dress in the UK can very well wind up delving into the deeply offensive (see, for example, Prince Harry
So, one of the (white) women attending has announced in an email that she plans on "blacking [herself] up as Tommie Smith" in an email. I was shocked and horrified - as far as I'm concerned this is unacceptable in the first instance but even more unacceptable given Tommie Smith's role in the civil rights movement. I tried to deal with this gracefully, emailing back indicating that "you're kidding, right??". Sadly, she's not.
"Nope not at all!! It's meant to be our favourite Olympian right, and tommie smith is mine - not my fault I'm a white female an he's a black male - he's a courageous believer in human rights and is the reason I began my journey in sociology of sport. Besides I've met the guy and he'd be cool with it im sure!"
So, Metafilter, where do I even begin? I don't have a good relationship with this woman and it wouldn't surprise me if she wound up 'blacking up' just to spite me. That being said, I do want to do something about it. This whole situation is offensive, clearly unacceptable, and I can't imagine Tommie Smith would ever be cool with it.