Here’s the thing: For generations, Black kids have been able to dress as Superman, Batman and various other traditionally white comic book characters for Halloween without feeling the need to whiten their skin. Likewise, Black adults have donned the same costumes and cosplayed various non-Black anime characters while leaving their natural skin color as-is. We’ve also done this with white movie characters, white WWE wrestlers and, I’m sure, white pop stars and other well-known musicians.
So, why the hell is it that so many white people can’t figure out a way to dress as a Black figure without wearing blackface?
Meet Michael C. Carreiro.
Carriero is the president of the Warwick firefighters union in Rhode Island. He’s also a Democratic candidate for a state Senate seat in Warwick’s District 29. He’s also yet another white person who thought it was a good idea to smear his face with artificial melanin just so he could portray a famous Black person.
It might be assumed that some of these white people wearing blackface with their costumes do so because they don’t think anyone will know who they’re supposed to be otherwise. But, looking at this photo, I wouldn’t have known who Carriero was portraying even with the racist makeup. Well, it turns out he was supposed to be the Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown. (The disrespect alone has me wanting to Get on Up and hit him with The Big Pay Back—Try Me.)
“The photos you are referring to were taken at a 2009 themed event I attended dressed as the singer James Brown,” Carreiro told the Globe in a written statement. “I want to be clear that this was wrong. It was offensive and unacceptable — and I’m sorry.”
He went on to note that politicians often make excuses “in an effort to avoid blame and deflect criticism.”
“That’s not me,” Carreiro continued. “I made a mistake 13 years ago, and I’m owning it. Events of recent years have exposed how much harm can be caused by these types of actions, and I very much understand that and I’ve learned from it.”
Yeeeah, nah—he’s still making excuses.
First of all, I love how people who are busted for having worn blackface always emphasize how long ago their “mistake” was made. In Carriero’s case, “13 years ago” was 2009. This was not a year when blackface was deemed acceptable. This happened in the 21st century. If what he’s trying to say is that white people didn’t learn until well into the 2000s that blackface is racist regardless of context, I gotta say that’s one hell of a white supremacy learning curve.
It’s worth mentioning that Carreiro’s opponent in the Democratic primary is Jennifer T. Rourke, a Black woman who was repeatedly punched by Providence police officer Jeann Lugo last month at an abortion rally. Lugo was also a GOP candidate in the same senate race until he dropped out after video footage of the attack went viral.
Roark revealed on Friday in a Twitter thread that Carreiro “likes a Facebook page called ‘support officer Darren Wilson’, the police officer who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.” She also tweeted a photo of Carreiro happily posing alongside controversial Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Carreiro also “appears to be a pretty big fan of Tucker Carlson. (yes, this guy calls himself a Democrat),” Roark tweeted.
So, basically, we need to keep an eye on Rourke because these white men she’s running against are apparently doing the absolute most.