Toggle landed in familiar territory again recently as the target of public rage — and this time there wasn’t any excuse for them to be ignorant of the consequences.
Blackface — makeup used to impersonate as a black person — is incredibly offensive and never at all funny due to its historical usage as a caricature of black people and reinforcement of racist perceptions. Minstrel shows of the ’20s had white folks smearing themselves with shoe polish and acting out racist stereotypes, perpetuating perceptions that black people are an inferior race.
And yet in 2016, blackface was used as a way to elicit laughs in Toggle’s original series, I Want To Be A Star. Nobody found it funny.
sg: “regardless of race”
also sg: pic.twitter.com/5nKuPbIK2X
— mr frowny (@seitanclaws) October 25, 2016
They’ve since taken down the offending episode (that culminated in actor Shane Pow dressing up as a black man) yesterday, and they eventually issued an apology. Sort of.
The line about how the “scene has been perceived as being racially insensitive by some viewers” displays a serious lack of understanding of just how incredibly offensive it was. It’s not a matter of perception and the audience being overly-sensitive — blackface IS derogatory, hurtful, vulgar and should not have crossed the show producers’ minds in the first place.
Realising that their statement was pretty half-baked, the head of Toggle came out to make an apology for that bungled apology.
What is it with the lack of sensitivity towards black people? Many Asians just can’t find anything wrong with blackface, as we’ve seen from numerous incidents over the past couple of years. Here are some stories across the Coconuts Media network that shows the lack of awareness in perpetuating the awful practice:
- Ad for skin-whitening drink accused of racism in Thailand
- Malaysian TV show apologises over controversial Yuna-Usher parody featuring a comedian in blackface
- Thai production house in trouble for introducing “White is winning” slogan for whitening supplementary brand
- Thai comedian in blackface wins ‘Best Dressed’ award at elite party
- Dunkin’ Donuts apologize for advertising campaign featuring lady in blackface to promote chocolate flavoured doughnut
- Cadbury HK releases tone deaf, racist clip advertising new flavours of Dairy Milk
- Carlsberg Hong Kong FINALLY removes racist ad it thought had already been pulled
EDIT: Article updated to reflect Toggle’s apology for their initial (and shitty) apology.