Blackface image stirs up debate

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LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - Concerns have come up regarding a person's use of blackface in a costume during Halloween festivities.

And although Halloween is over, the painful history and racism behind the costume continues to be a topic of discussion.

It's been nearly 200 years since white performers first started painting their faces black to mock black slaves across the United States.

In 2019, across the nation elected officials, candidates and school teachers have been rocked by the scandal and reprimanded for wearing blackface.

However, in Laredo, concerns of elected officials posing with a person in blackface have been met with mixed reactions as those who defend the costume say they don't understand the history and pain the costume presents.

We took to our social media page to ask whether or not it's appropriate to dress up in a costume using blackface and after 704 comments and 45 shares, a majority claim they did not understand why blackface and the character are an issue.

Emma Olvera says commented, "That is so stupid, it's just a costume, I don't see anything wrong to dress up as Aunt Jemima."

Laura says, “Stop being so sensitive, it’s just a costume! Props to them for being original."

Despite her fame from pancakes, Aunt Jemima's character was prominent in minstrel shows in the late 19th century to which she portrays the common stereotype of the mammy archetype.

A mammy represents a black woman who worked in a white family while nursing the family's children and minstrel shows were entertainment used by white actors in blackface to mock black people.

Seneca Ramirez says, "Whether the intention was innocent or not there needs to be repercussions taken over this because it's not just a costume."

County officials such as Sheriff Martin Cuellar have defended the action by releasing a statement that says in part, “The woman had no ill-intentions and that they took pride in putting together their own costumes.”

Gamali says, “It's disrespectful on all levels there is no valid excuse as to why it should be ok.”

According to the NAACP's website, President and CEO Derrick Johnson says quote the most powerful and dangerous of these words and images were born in times of intense oppression and hatred.

KGNS reached out to Sheriff Cuellar for an on camera interview regarding the post however in a statement he says he stands by the woman and her costume.

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