In a word, no: Website offers terse advice on blackface

In a word, no: Website offers terse advice on blackface

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When it comes to wearing blackface for Halloween, the website's message is clear. (Source: website screenshot) When it comes to wearing blackface for Halloween, the website's message is clear. (Source: website screenshot)
Julianne Hough is the latest celebrity to regret putting on blackface as part of a Halloween costume. (Source: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services) Julianne Hough is the latest celebrity to regret putting on blackface as part of a Halloween costume. (Source: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services)

(RNN) - For those wondering if putting on blackface for Halloween is appropriate, one website's answer consists of a simple, two-letter word.

Shouldidressinblackfacethishalloween.com keeps it simple: no.

The site was created after a request via Twitter on Monday by MNBC host Christopher Hayes.

Despite the offensiveness of wearing blackface in the modern era, people still ensnare themselves in controversies with it from time to time.

Actress Julianne Hough was the latest to cause a stir with her Halloween getup. Hough donned blackface while dressing as Crazy Eyes from the TV show Orange is the New Black, only to later post an apology.

She said she dressed that way because she's a huge fan of the show.

Blackface was used in American popular entertainment for roughly a century, starting in the mid-1850s. Both white and black performers put it on and acted in accordance with established caricatures of blacks for laughs.

Its legacy can creates a quandary for both races. Manthia Diawara, chair of the Africana Studies Department at New York University, studied the complex issue in her 1998 report, The Blackface Stereotype.

"In the blackface myth, there is a white fantasy which posits whiteness as the norm," Diawara wrote. "What is absent in the blackface stereotype is as important as what is present: every black face is a statement of social imperfection, inferiority and mimicry that is placed in isolation with an absent whiteness as its ideal opposite."

An Ohio University group, Students Teaching about Racism in Society, has worked to raise national awareness to combat offensive costumes via its We're a Culture, Not a Costume poster campaign since 2011.

Some other costumes the group pointed out as offensive included a geisha, a Mexican sombrero-wearer and a hillbilly.

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