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February 25, 2013

Dov Hikind Wears Blackface As Purim Costume, Prompts Questions Of Racial Insensitivity

Dov Hikind in blackface Purim 2013New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D- Brooklyn) held a huge open Purim party in house yesterday that reportedly continued for 14 hours. And then there were the costumes – or, more accurately, Hikind’s costume.

Dov Hikind in blackface Purim 2013

Dov Hikind, center, his wife, left, and son, right Purim 2013
Dov Hikind, center, his wife, left, and son, right, Purim 2013

Dov Hikind Wears Blackface As Purim Costume
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com

New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D- Brooklyn) held a huge open Purim party in house yesterday that reportedly continued for 14 hours.

And then there were the costumes – or, more accurately, Hikind’s costume.

Purim is, after all, one giant costume party, and Hikind could have nothing but the best. So according to The Politicker he hired a professional makeup artist to come and change the him from a white middle age Brooklyn politician into a black basketball player complete with an afro wig – and blackface.

“I was just, I think, I was trying to emulate, you know, maybe some of these basketball players. Someone gave me a uniform, someone gave me the hair of the actual, you know, sort of a black basketball player. It was just a lot of fun. Everybody just had a very, very good time and every year I do something else. … The fun for me is when people come in and don’t recognize me.…

“I can’t imagine anyone getting offended. You know, anyone who knows anything about Purim knows that if you walk throughout the community, whether it’s Williamsburg, Boro Park, Flatbush, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens Hills, people get dressed up in, you name it, you know, in every kind of dress-up imaginable. Purim, you know, everything goes and it’s all done with respect. No one is laughing, no one is mocking. No one walked in today and said, ‘Oh my God.’ … It’s all just in good fun with respect always, whatever anyone does it’s done with tremendous amounts of respect and with dignity, of course,” ” Hikind told The Politicker.

There was no word last night from Hikind about how he would react if, say, a non-Jewish man dressed kinda like a hasid.

John Galliano 'hasid' 2-2013But thankfully, we do have a pretty good idea of what Hikind would do if a non-Jew dressed in a way that could be understood to be play on hasidic attire, because the issue came up two weeks ago when designer John Galliano (left) did just that, enraging Hikind.

And when Hikind is enraged, he spews.

“Who is he mocking?. The way the socks look, the jacket, the peyos . . . My question is, who’s he laughing at?

“If it was just anyone else, I wouldn’t know what to say. But considering who this guy is, considering his background and what he’s said in the past, let him explain it to all of us: Are you mocking us?,” Hikind blustered to the New York Post.

It turned out that Galliano was wearing other designers' clothing and was not trying to make fun of hasidim. Even Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League came to Galliano's defense.

But Hikind did not apologize for his outburst.

Less than two weeks later, Hikind was so proud of his blackface costume that even though blackface is widely regarded as racist, he posted a picture of himself and his family in their Purim costumes on Facebook yesterday.

Politicker thankfully copied it because Hikind seems to have sanitized his Facebook page this morning.

[Hat Tip: Chazal Qaeda.]

Comments

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Grownup man acting like fools,now thats a big accomplishment.

At Bergdorf Goodman's Mens Store, 3rd floor, you can get a long black suit jacket that looks just like a kappota.

If this man read a single line of Torah he should know that we should not be ashamed of our ways and that HaShem is with us. If we see a goyim dressing like Charedim it shouldn't even cross our mind to think he is trying to make fun of Charedim.

YTHM-vUS REDSTI NARISHKEIT,WHY ARE YOU TALKING NONSENSE, I NEVER EVER SAW A GOY ON A HOLIDAY DRESSED LIKE A CHUSID THATS NONSENSE

I love it. Galliano does it, he's a racist. Hikind does it, it's just all in good fun.

What's Hebrew or Yiddish for "hypocrite"?

Since you Hikind's criticism of in full John Galliano it's strange that you would still use it as way to judge Hikind because he does say: "

“Who is he mocking?. The way the socks look, the jacket, the peyos . . . My question is, who’s he laughing at?

“If it was just anyone else, I wouldn’t know what to say. But considering who this guy is, considering his background and what he’s said in the past, let him explain it to all of us: Are you mocking us?,”

So unless Hikind has a history of making racist anti black statements you can't judge him using his quote regarding Galliano.

Maybe Galliano was dressing up like a Polish nobleman from the 1700's.

I personally believe that Dov Hikind should be forced to resign from office. This is such a disgrace. I'm totally appalled at his behavior as should everyone else

Apologies to: Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones:

I see a frum pol and his face is painted black
No colours in his hat, his rebbe wants them black
I see the churls walk by dressed in their Purim clothes
I have to turn my head until their drunkenness goes

I see a fashion star and he's all dressed in black
With protests from the Hikind, he'll have to watch his back
I see people turn their heads and quickly schrei oy vey
Like a new born baby it's metzitzah every day

I look inside my closet, everything is black
I see my mezuzah and must have it painted black
Maybe then I'll frum away and not have to face the facts
It's not easy facin' up when your whole wardrobe's black

No more will my tzitzit go turn techelet blue
I could not foresee this thing happening to Jews

If I drink hard enough and join the Purim fun
The cops will laugh at me before my lawyer comes

I see a frum pol and his face is painted black
No colours in his hat,his rebbe wants them black
I see the churls go by dressed in their Purim clothes
I have to turn my head until their drunkenness goes

Hmm, hmm, hmm,...

Dov Hikind is painted, painted black
Black as night, a Minstrel Show
I wanna see an apology from this guy
I wanna see him tainted, tainted, tainted, tainted hack
Yeah!

Hmm, hmm, hmm,...

Hey Vicki, you involved in any more satanic rituals lately? Better call Oprah!

ROTFL! Great one, YL.

throw with the dish water. to vickie and scottie boy both grow up ,its PURIM , ok. not a train smash.

Political savvy was never one of Hikind's strengths, but he @#$^%ed up big-time yesterday.

http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2013/02/fellow-lawmakers-slam-dov-hikind-for-purim-costume-featuring-blackface-makeup

Deborah J. Glick @DeborahJGlick

"Assemblymember Dov Hikind in blackface was beyond offensive. A Purim party shouldn't be cover for insensitivity. He is an ass!"

YL is a Gadol in my (chiloni) world.

Is black makeup always taboo? I dressed up as Mr. T for Purim when I was in yeshiva and put on black makeup. Was that a problem? I am not saying anything about Hikind or comparing his costume to mine. I am just wondering. My theory would be that since I dressed up as a specific person it would be different than Hikind dressing up as a random stereotypical black basketball player.

@ca

Is there not white basketball players?

Yes there are white basketball players. I think that is part of what might his costume racist. If he wanted to dress up as a basketball player, he wouldn't need black face. Aside from that "white men can't jump" :).

The NYT even has a report on this jackass...

Assemblyman Defends Wearing Blackface to Party
By THOMAS KAPLAN
Published: February 25, 2013
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A prominent Brooklyn assemblyman defended himself on Monday after attracting attention for wearing blackface to a party he hosted this weekend to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim.
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A picture posted on Facebook shows Assemblyman Dov Hikind wearing blackface as part of a costume for the Jewish holiday of Purim.
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The assemblyman, Dov Hikind, a Democrat who has been a longtime power broker in the Orthodox Jewish community, wore an Afro wig, orange jersey, sunglasses and brown makeup or face paint as part of a costume that Mr. Hikind said represented a “black basketball player.”

“I was just, I think, I was trying to emulate, you know, maybe some of these basketball players,” Mr. Hikind told The New York Observer. “Someone gave me a uniform, someone gave me the hair of the actual, you know, sort of a black basketball player.”

He added, “The fun for me is when people come in and don’t recognize me.”

Mr. Hikind told the newspaper that he enlisted a professional makeup artist to help him with his costume. He said that he later had spent more than half an hour in the shower trying to remove his makeup, and, shortly after midnight on Sunday night, was still not finished.

On Monday morning, after a photograph of Mr. Hikind on Facebook circulated in political circles and on social media, he wrote a brief blog post defending the costume. Mr. Hikind, who has been in the Assembly since 1983, noted that it was common to dress up for Purim.

“I am intrigued that anyone who understands Purim — or, for that matter, understands me — would have a problem with this,” Mr. Hikind wrote. “This is political correctness to the absurd. There is not a prejudiced bone in my body.”

But some of his fellow elected officials expressed disapproval.

“I am deeply shocked and outraged by the insensitive actions of Assemblyman Hikind, to dress as a black basketball player complete with tanned skin and an Afro wig,” said Assemblyman Karim Camara, a Brooklyn Democrat and the chairman of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus.

Mr. Camara said that “the history of the blackface minstrel show is something deeply painful in the African-American community” and that “the stereotypes embodied in blackface minstrels have played a significant role in cementing and proliferating racist images, attitudes and perceptions.”

“We as leaders,” he added, “have to be extremely careful that we foster understanding amongst our different cultural groups and not use the images of one as a tool for humor. In speaking with many African-Americans, both leaders and average citizens, the outrage is widespread.”

Another Assembly Democrat, Deborah J. Glick of Manhattan, took to Twitter to state her concern, writing: “Assembly member Dov Hikind in blackface was beyond offensive. A Purim party shouldn’t be cover for insensitivity.”

And City Councilman Mark Weprin posted on Twitter a simple question: “What was Dov thinking?”

Someone made a mention of Native Americans on another site.

What do Native Americans got to do with this?

Wow, thanks for reprinting that entire article here. You think you could enable the links?

jancsibacsi"" how many times do we have to tell you,this blog is only for grownups,not little hasidic ignorant wannabe atheist's,
please go back to CHEDER, and tell your REBBE or mommy to wipe your snotty nose

Thanks Dapper Danny, Sarek. Good on you for your recent piece, Sarek.

To be fair, Galliano does have a history of anti-Semitic behavior (he got fired from working for Dior for making horribly offensive anti Semitic comments in a bar). I wouldn't put it past him to make fun of Hasidim, and for Shmarya to not remind the readers of his past actions is pure distortion and deceit.

Also, why should Hikind's costume bother anyone? Halloween costumes can be much more offensive/racy

Yochanan Lavie,

I think of you as an edgy Shlock Rock. Have you ever considered putting out an album? What about having a band like the Groggers sing your lyrics?

Is black makeup always taboo? I dressed up as Mr. T for Purim when I was in yeshiva and put on black makeup. Was that a problem?

Yes, it is illegal for a white person to color their face black. Just like it is illegal for a white person to utter the "N" word. Freedom of speech goes just so far in America.

Yochanan @4:14: thanks for your support. I wouldn't mind recording an album. I can't play an instrument but I can sing. More likely would be a book of lyric parodies. One of these days I'll get to that.

Is black makeup always taboo? I dressed up as Mr. T for Purim when I was in yeshiva and put on black makeup. Was that a problem?

Ca, the problem is that in the United States, we have a long, sordid history of white actors using blackface to mock African-Americans and perpetuate stereotypes. While you personally may not have had any racist or negative intent, you can't really separate blackface from its racist origins.

As Jews, we insist on always remembering our history of persecution so that we will not allow it to be repeated. In light of that, I don't think we're exactly in any position to demand any other minority to just "get over it" and not "be so PC" about it.

Yes, it is illegal for a white person to color their face black. Just like it is illegal for a white person to utter the "N" word. Freedom of speech goes just so far in America.

Max, please cite to me where in the Constitution it gives you the right to be free from the consequences of your speech. The First Amendent protects you from being punished by the government for what you say. It does not protect Dov Hilkind from us calling him an asshole ignoramus.

"Prompts Questions Of Racial Insensitivity"

To put it mildly.
Wearing blackface proves insensitivity but Hikind trying to defend it shows arrogant stupidity
(Hint Dov: you should've said "I am horrified anyone saw this as racist and deeply apologize to anyone offended").
So now Hikind is in the same category he put Galliano in - next time you do something with racial overtones we can say: "considering who this guy is, considering his background"...

Of course this won't affect him politically. He's an even bigger hero among his constituency for "putting the 'shvartsers' in their place".

This year, in my Chicago neighborhood, scores of Jewish lasses went into the Indian shops to buy saris to dress as Hindu maidens for Purim. I was just telling my wife last night that the "frum" community seems to be stuck in the 1950's as far as cultural sensitivity goes. Quite provincial, in fact.

I guess Hikind is not counting on the black vote when he is up for re-election.

What's Hebrew or Yiddish for "hypocrite"?

Posted by: Sarek | February 25, 2013 at 01:06 PM

I classic Hebrew it's talmid hacham (תלמיד חכם), in Yiddish it's frum (פרום).

Dov Hikind is a paradigm of blasphemy for the zone of reality and a common good for the zone of his own choosing. I am not a fan but this is the funniest screw up I have seen in a while.

Yes, it is illegal for a white person to color their face black. Just like it is illegal for a white person to utter the "N" word. Freedom of speech goes just so far in America.

Posted by: Max | February 25, 2013 at 04:17 PM

No, those things are not illegal. No one will be arrested and prosecuted for blackface and saying the 'n'-word. People who say and do such things will simply be subjected to public opprobrium. A similar thing happened last night after the Oscars when someone at the Onion tweeted s deeply crude and misogynistic remark about 9-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis. Within minutes public opinion came down on the Onion like a ton of bricks, and the Onion had the grace to remove the offensive remark immediately and to issue an apology. Mr. Hikind did not have such grace. Instead he defended his poor judgment.

The plain fact is that African-Americans as a group have made it abundantly clear that they are very much offended by such blackface, and that should be enough for any decent person to not do it. Just as Prince Harry took flak for his Nazi getup at a costume, after we have made it abundantly clear that we find people parading around in Nazi uniforms for fun to be a heinous act of disrespect.

In New Orleans Zulu, an African-American Mardi Gras krewe, parades in blackface and grass skirts, Zulu does have a few white members who also appear in blackface and jungle attire, but that is deemed acceptable because it id done with the approval of entire, overwhelmingly black, membership. The point of Zulu from its origins until the present is to make fun of/satirize the socially exclusive, self-important elite white Mardi Gras krewes like Momus, Comus, Proteus and Rex.

Can someone please educate this community that it is NOT the costume, it is the "blackface?" Our community PR man (Yossi) is showing pictures of Rabbi costumes on his twitter account in and effort to justify what Dov did. If they had had a modicum of secular education they would know that the 1920's -early 40's had many blackface performers, most who derided the African American population by portraying them as ignorant buffoons. A Rabbi costume is fine but what if you coupled it with a grotesque, fake plastic nose? Get it now Yossi?

This is yet another example of the grossly undereducated and culturally ignorant community members espousing opinions when they themselves are completely clueless. What great spokespeople we have. Illiterate, undereducated, clueless and yet twistedly righteous. Luke

[Yossi, hope I did not use too many "big" words. Then again you can always google them.]

TY, Elisheva. I would think if someone is clearly dressing up as a well known actor and clearly is not mocking blacks it would be ok. Here is some discussion on the issue. http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2008/03/13/the-dark-side-of-corking-up.html I will definitely be sensitive to the issue in the future though.

If non-Jewish people dressed like hasidim for Halloween, what would be the reaction from Hikind?

If non-Jews dressed like nazis for Halloween, what would be Hikind's reaction?

When I saw that, I thought, what a putz! I though Chicago politicians were mostly uneducated louts, but this really takes the cake! I wonder what he says about rape? No doubt he would like to alienate the women in his electorate too.

It is getting to the point that I can't come on this site anymore, I think I would rather not know some things... I am ashamed to be seen with a Yarmulka because of these people.

Ca, I would say it's one of those things where if you have to ask whether something would be considered offensive, you probably already have your answer.

He was cosplaying the famous rapper Tone Def

Have you seen Dov dressed in black,
now he needs a p.r. flack,
gotta a tail just like Vashti
and it's too late for sorry
stop his disassembly

He fights for Jacob Ostreicher, in Bolivia
just like a Mordechai
Jonathon Pollard must go free, so let me be
next caller Charney

Have you seen Dov looking red,
Now the goyim want his head,
Toras Emes teaching social studdies
him and Meir kahane buddies
the 48th street pizza's yummy

Someday we will all be together, not dark like leather
I'm Dr. J.
let's go make a big protest,now our next guest
is Buckwheat
oh Bucky Bucky wheat..........


Brown Jewboy= dead honky

Wasn't blackface used in "The Jazz Singer"?

This is America ( and its Purim), everyone relax and stop making judgements on a silly no story.

It seems as if the author of ths post doesn't know that John Galliano is a Hitler sympathizer.
From Wikipedia:. In the video a drunk Galliano hurls anti-semitic rants at a group of Italian women and declares "I love Hitler... People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers would all be fucking gassed."
You can say that Dov Hikind was being petty for calling out a guy that most people have never heard of, but you can't use it to prove hypocrisy on his part.

Galliano apologized for his antisemitic remarks and has spent much of the past year learning about antisemitism with Abe Foxman of the ADL, and Foxman vouches for him – as I mentioned in my post.

So, yeah, I can point out Hikind's hypocrisy – just as I can point out your foolishness.

To Shmarya:
It doesn't really make a difference whether or not Galliano is attempting to make up for his insensitive remarks.
Bottom line, Galliano explicitly said "I love Hitler" and I think we can agree on the fact that this statement is openly anti-Semitic - something that Dov Hikind's costume is not (in regards to African-Americans).
Now, with all due respect, you most certainly did not say that Galliano is spending time studying anti-semitism with Abe Foxman- you said that Abe Foxman came to his defense(without being specific).
P.S. I hope I didn't offend you because that certainly wasn't my intent.
My intent was to call out what I perceived to be biased journalism(whether intentional or not).
I don't understand why you need to insult me to make your point.
I think we can both agree that my question had merit, so at the very least you can defend your position without resorting to personal attacks.

Posted by: Netanel Lasry | March 01, 2013 at 03:56 AM

Please.

You're being ridiculous.

1. Galliano was NOT dressed as a hasid.

2. He spent about a year studying antisemitism and racism with the ADL, and he has Jewish models and others who worked with him before he made the Hitler remark and during the time he made it who vouch for him.

3. Your ignorance is no defense. Galliano's remarks and his attempts to make up for them are very public, as is Foxman's response to criticism of Galliano's supposed hasid outfit. You were factually wrong, and your attempts now to evade that fact are transparent.

4. If you're too stupid or too ignorant or too uncaring (or, I'd bet, all three) to know what blackface means, to know its history and the racism it stands for, that's your very big problem. It reflects poorly on you and your teachers and on your rabbis – and on your parents.

Now toddle off.

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