American cultural imperialism strikes again. While making a guest appearance on an Australian show, Harry Connick jr has seen fit to criticize some local white folks for donning blackface in a deliberately retro send up of the Jackson Five!
While I agree that this skit is a bit tacky, it is not as offensive as Connick seems to think as we are not the US , we do not have the cultural context that they do – no step n fetchits, no Ku Klux Klan, no burning crosses- but in typical American tradition, Connick seems to think he has the right to ignore the local situation and tell us all how to live.
Such arrogance and ignorance alone are bad enough, but now it has emerged that Harry is not only a fool who can’t tell the Australian South-East from the American South, he is also a hypocrite who has himself donned blackface! Back in the Nineties, Connick put on a wig and makeup to play a black preacher on Mad TV, but hey, he’s a big star, whereas the blokes playing the Jackson Five are just normal Joes, so of course the standards are different.
There are those who claim that he isn’t wearing black face, but if this Connick character isn’t black neither is Halle Berry – we must remember that in the US mixed race is seen as black (eg Obama.) Connick is undoubtedly made up to look mixed race – the hair is clearly a mini afro which is bigger than Orlando Jones’, and the skin, though not as dark as Jones’ is clearly darker than his real skin. Throw in the way he’s dressed, which is typically seen as the way black preachers in the South dress, and his body language, and it seems pretty evident that he is indeed “in blackface”.
Here are two screen grabs from the same show – in one we see Harry being unusually swarthy, in the other we see him being himself….
So let’s get this right. We Australians have never lynched Negros, never set up a Klan, never assassinated great men like King, never spat on little black children trying to get into school, never written songs like Nigger Hatin’ Me, yet it is offensive when we don black face but it’s okay when a white Southerner like Connick does it? What hypocrisy. The fact is that it is far more offensive when Connick does it, precisely because he’s a Good Ol’ Boy from Louisiana. It’s no hanging offense, but in his case it is racist, whereas in the case of the guys on Hey Hey, it’s just a tacky, tasteless, and yes, slightly offensive bit of nonsense.
Now if these had been Aborigines, or even Southern Europeans or Asians, that would be different as there is a history in Australia of racism against those groups, but to Negroes we’ve done bugger all!
The other aspect of this, is that in typical American liberal fashion, a slight offense against blacks merits comment from Harry’s ilk, but when it’s a Latina headed for the Supreme Court crowing about her superiority over white men, Harry did what all the pussy- whipped men on the American left do – he hid under a table and kept his mouth shut.
If Connnick doesn’t have the brains to realize he’s not in the US, then he is yet another famous person who takes the conclusions of what is at best an average intellect and shoves them down everyone else’s throat, and he should refrain from speaking out on matters requiring an IQ higher than Jessica Simpson’s.
In brief, get stuffed Harry, and don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out of our country.
Here’s Harry showing his ignorance of geography on Hey Hey…
and here he is playing a suspiciously Negro-ish white preacher…