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Raffi Torres Dresses as Jay-Z for Halloween, Hears Racism Talk (Picture)

Phoenix Coyotes winger Raffi Torres painted his skin dark to look like rapper Jay-Z for his team’s Halloween party Sunday night. A picture of his costume was tweeted by Coyotes forward Paul Bisonnette, who began hearing calls of racism from offended folks.

Bissonnette, who is extremely popular on Twitter, immediately began defending Raffi’s costume. “As far as everyone trying to call “Racism” because Raffi dressed up like Jay-Z can simmer down. He’s a huge Jay-Z fan,” Bissonnette tweeted.

He even retweeted a question I posed on my Twitter account: How many people accused Dwyane Wade of racism when he painted his face white last Halloween to look like Justin Timberlake?

It’s not a wise idea to change your skin color under any circumstance — even ESPN learned that lesson — and it often is offensive. But before people begin having knee-jerk reactions the way they so frequently do, why not consider one important factor: intent.

Some people can’t see someone paint their face black without thinking racism. It’s the same thing with the name “Hitler.” Say it and prepare to be lambasted because it’s a trigger word. Few people bother to examine the context.

While “blackface” has a negative historical connotation, not everybody who paints their face is intending to mock black people. Those unaware of the historical context should be told why it can be considered offensive so they know better for the future. The point is that putting on black paint to look like your favorite rapper doesn’t make you racist. It may make you uninformed and somewhat inconsiderate, but not necessarily racist.



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  • Anonymous

    Give me a break!!!!!!!!  I’m a black man and have no problem with this.  I understand this country’s history and the history of the “black face”.  But Raffi’s homage, to one of his favorite entertainers, was done harmlessly and tastfully. I can see if he replaced his jewelry around his neck with a noose!  I applaud Raffi for his freedom of expression and for his outward showing of his love for hip-hop.  His wife is beautiful too!  People…this is not Ted Danson and Whoopi!!!  America…please focus on something important and stop being a nation of panzies and red flagging nonsense.  This tweeted  picture definitely beats all the tweets about boring picnics and pictures of boring pets.  Panties out a bunch, please. 

  • Jordan Collins

    I’m sorry, but you don’t have the right to tell other people what they should be offended by and what they shouldn’t be offended by. It’s nice that you’re a black man who doesn’t mind that this white man has dressed in black face. I am a black woman who does mind. And no, I am not a pansy, and yes, I do appreciate freedom of expression. He can dress in black face, and I can be offended. It is in his best interest to NOT dress in black face, however, because a lot of people feel similarly and do not appreciate it. I’m not going to tell you why you should be offended. I’m just explaining my right to be offended.