A Perth woman has been blasted for sending her child to his school’s Book Week as Nic Naitanui — complete with a blackened face.
The post, made on commentator Constance Hall’s public Facebook page, shows the mother’s son dressed as West Coast Eagles player, Naitanui, the boy’s idol.
In the post, the woman described it as her “QUEENING moment”, and noted that while was worried about “politically correct extremists”, she said: “I grew a set of balls and painted my boy brown and he looked fanf***ingtastic”.
Naitaanui responded on Twitter on Friday, saying it “hurts my heart”.
“It’s a shame racism coexists in an environment where our children should be nurtured not tortured because they are unaware of the painful historical significance ‘blackface’ has had previously on the oppressed,” he wrote.
— Nic Naitanui (@RealNaitanui) August 25, 2016
The mother claimed that despite her Facebook friends telling her the costume was a “horrible idea”, her son won the parade.
“Parenting win,” she posted.
But the move exploded on social media, with many calling the woman racist, and at best, showing terrible judgement.
Blackface is wrong, is racist and should never ever ever even be contemplated. A bit difficult it seems to… https://t.co/UPvysjJ64I
— Iwona Siniarska (@lilmissplanet) August 25, 2016
Adam Briggs, an Indigenous rapper, comedian and actor, slammed the woman in a Facebook post about blackface, describing it as an “obviously reckless, racist thing to do”.
Again and again. This is the attitude we face every moment. This was such an obviously reckless, racist thing to do – I…
Blackface has played a significant role in disseminating racist images, attitudes and perceptions worldwide, with history of prejudice, hostility, and ignorance towards black people insuring its longevity.
A notable incident in Australia saw Hey Hey It’s Saturday air a skit with four black-faced performers playing the Jackson Five, with the Michael character appearing in whiteface in 2009.
Blackface was originally a form of theatrical makeup used by non-Black performers to represent a black person.
It was a popularly practiced tradition in American theatre, beginning around 1830 before being abolished during the African-American civil rights movement.
Actors such as Lew Dockstader, Bert Williams and Al Jolson in the first-ever all-talking film, The Jazz Singer (1927), performed in blackface.
It is perceived as racist because of the oppression, appropriation and dispossession Aboriginal people have felt throughout history.
Briggs said it dehumanises and makes a mockery of a person’s culture.
In an earlier blackface episode from February this year, the hip hop artist deemed the attitude unacceptable, after two men dressed up as Indigenous Australians for an “Aussie Icon” party.
“It’s 2016 and in Australia you still have to explain to people why blackface is racist,” he told Triple J.
“[Blackface] dehumanises, and it creates a mockery of someone’s culture…To them it’s a laugh.”
The mother told Seven News she had been vilified for her move, but had also received hundreds of messages of support give her “a little hope for humanity”.
“The fact your son wanted to dress up as his idol is proof enough there is no racism in your home,” one fan posted.