'Racist' train passenger wore 'blackface' Halloween costume and seems not to realize the problem
When a 'racist' train passenger in London was confronted for wearing 'blackface' at the weekend, he is said to have shrugged and asked: "Why not?"
A video uploaded to social media shows the unidentified male, who appears to be dressed as Samuel L Jackson’s character, Jules Winnfield, in Pulp Fiction, sitting on the underground with his face painted black.
When a woman confronts him about his Halloween costume, and tries to explain the problems with it, he denies there is a problem.
"It’s a bit racist that you put black make-up on," she tells him. "Why would you try and be a black person?"
Sitting next to a female companion on the Central line, he tells her "why not?"
Footage of the incident was posted to Twitter, with the 24-year-old makeup artist who filmed it writing "It’s 2018? How is this still happening?" in a now-deleted tweet.
Thousands of people shared her outrage and the video was retweeted over 5,000 times.
Another woman going by the username of @SaraLoush shared her anger, commenting: "His shrug of the shoulders and utter nonchalance with the woman next to him looking bemused is probably the most scary thing about this video".
"When a white couple decide to dress up as 2 Pulp Fiction characters, but instead of the obvious choice of character the dickhead guy dresses up with blackface as Samuel L Jackson's character instead of John Travolta's," a Twitter user called @HentaiVegan added.
Nonetheless, some people attempted to defend the tube passenger, with one person tweeting: "Not sure why dressing up as a black celebrity is classed as racist, id (sic) not be offended if someone black whited up as a white celebrity, I think the problem is people being over sensitive, people tend to cry over everything and anything they can."
Another questioned the 'racism' behind the incident, asking: "People dress in green on st Patrick’s day and act like leprechauns and you don’t get up in arms. If I want to be Jules Winnfield from pulp fiction why not. He’s badass, not cause I’m racist? [sic]"
However, one person pointed out the flaw in this argument replying: "Leprechauns do face systemic prejudice and inequality simply because they’re green, you’re absolutely right."
A woman calling herself Black Avalanche also tried to explain the meaning behind blackface to those who were ignorant. "It’s not the fact that he is dressed up as someone black, it’s the fact he painted his face black," she wrote. "Blackface was always used (by white people) as something negative. They would exaggerate our features and make fun of us. Dressing up, fine. Blackface, never acceptable."
Blackface has a long history of perpetuating offensive and racist stereotypes of African Americans and dates back more than 200 years.
It gained popularity in the 19th century when white actors would use black grease paint on their faces to depict plantation slaves and other black people on stage, but has since been accepted as grossly offensive and racist.