Brooklyn Assemblyman dons blackface in ill-fated attempt to resemble “black basketball star”

UPDATE: Jewish comedian Jon Stewart led his satire news show “The Daily Show” with a bit on Don Hikind’s blackface during Purim, then followed it with a segment with Jessica Williams about “The War on Purim.” Watch:

 

Brooklyn Assemblyman Don Hikind (middle). Image via the New York Daily News

A report from the New York Daily News surfaced ugly pictures of Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind at a party celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim in blackface, additionally donning an oversized wig, dark sunglasses, and orange shirt, in an attempt to look like (in his words) a “black basketball star.”

Hikind later apologized for the costume, but called the criticism “political correctness to the absurd” and later intimated that he might “be a gay person next year” at the next costume party.

Blackface has a deep-seated, intertwined history with racism in the United States. Hikind’s decision to physically imitate a “black basketball star” becomes even more puzzling when you consider that this is the first year his borough welcomes a professional basketball team, the Brooklyn Nets, with a roster filled with young black men (one of whom who just won the Black Youth Empowerment Special Leadership Award in his hometown), a black general manager who was once named one of the 101 most Influential Minorities in Sports by Sports Illustrated, and a commitment to honoring black history in the borough.

Hikind contends that he was just trying to look like a “black basketball star,” but, what star, exactly? The oversized wig, sunglasses, and orange shirt don’t conjure images of any specific player or team. No, Hikind’s costume was a lazy generalization of black stereotypes all mish-mashed into one awful mask, that served to dehumanize, rather than respect. It’s similarly disheartening to see Hikind’s brushing, excusatory comments, making it seem as if it were a prank that merely just went wrong or was misinterpreted, rather than acknowledging the social history that makes blackface — particularly by a publicly elected official — inappropriate.

“It is racist,” said firebrand Councilman Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn). Assemblyman Karim Camara (D-Brooklyn), chairman of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, said, “The history of the blackface minstrel show is something deeply painful in the African-American community.”

Read More: New York Daily News — ‘Maybe I would be a gay person': Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind makes odd remark after apologizing for dressing in blackface for Purim

Comments

    1. how is a politician doing a very racist thing not a story. not this first time this asshole has made questionable decisions when it comes to race

        1. The comment section of blogs always remind me how racist this country still is. 1. That’s a guy in blackface wearing a prison jump suit trying to fool us into thinking its a BASKETBALL PLAYER! 2. He is a politician who should know better. 3. Anyone who can’t see this is racist is probably equally racist.

      1. It looks like the guy rubbed some brown make-up on his face and threw on a jersey.
        I think its a shitty excuse for a costume and that’s about it.

        VERY RACIST?!
        Why is it so wrong to dress as another race? Are you saying my kid can’t dress up as the president on Halloween because he is the wrong race?

        If this Don guy was to PAINT his face black with huge red lips, by all means he should be destroyed. I just think its reaching quite a bit to say this is very racist.

        1. black face is wrong. period. yeah it is fucked up if you dress your kid as obama, using shoe polish. and fuck this guy. such a hypocrite. see’s no issue with this, or jewish teens beating up a pakistani, but If anyone dares to criticize Israel, your an anti-semite

          1. I see a clear difference between painting your face black and wearing blackface.
            Anyone who doesn’t is just looking for something to be offended by. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

  1. This guy thought he was going to win a spot in Congress too. Wow. Just…wow. He’s a hardcore neocon…and not even a rational one. Yes, that’s saying a lot.

  2. I would love for this to have been inspired by the Nets– it couldn’t have happened to a bigger schmuck.

  3. No one who has followed Hikind’s public career, or who has met him, would believe that he meant to offend anyone.

    Often, people dress up on Purim as someone or something they sometimes wish they were. He could very well have been paying homage.

    But it seems many, including the author of the post, don’t bother to even try to make an honest assessment of what the intent was. And that’s pretty sad.