Baron Samedi and Maman Brigitte. Yea or Nay?
October 29, 2012 8:49 AM Subscribe
My friend says my Halloween idea might be racist. This took me completely by surprise. I was skeptical, but after stewing over it I'm now looking for a second opinion.
posted by Urban Winter to human relations (70 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have much money to spend on a costume this year, and when that happens I go for a character dressed in formal wear (because I don't get to wear my formal-best often enough). This year, I am in possession of a walking stick with three stacked skulls on top, and have a black tailcoat. My plan is to do Baron Samedi, and ask the woman I've been seeing (who is black) if she wants to do Maman Brigitte.
However, one of my friends suggested that this (me playing the Baron) might be racist/possibly blackface/otherwise offensive (though the Maman costume was fine). It had never occurred to me that that might be the case; I'm not trying to hide my (super-white, Scandinavian ancestry) skin color. I'd be applying some black and white paint exclusively to the front "plane" of my face to achieve the skull look. Black hair dye might be included (mostly to match the rest of the stark black/white costume; my hair is light brown, some have said blonde) - or I might do white hair if I can pull it off.
So, is this potentially offensive? Like I said, I never thought of it before, but now that it's been mentioned I'm slightly concerned. My intent certainly isn't to attempt blackface or anything like that. I think the Baron/Maman concept would be a very cool set of costumes, not like the usual cutesy "couples" costumes.
Putting this into human relations since it's not a search for advice on how to do a costume/what to do, but rather whether it would be questionable or acceptable.