Mandela Sanctions 'Blacking Up'

By Londonist_ben Last edited 142 months ago
Mandela Sanctions 'Blacking Up'

The phrase "it's PC gone mad!" usually comes from the mouths of those such as Bernard Manning, taxi drivers and the hairdresser who just cut this Londonista's hair who used the phrase with regard to immigrant children being allowed to go to 'our' schools. Yikes.

However, perhaps it applies with regard to an incident last week which left a Barnet councillor facing calls to resign after he 'blacked up' as part of his Nelson Mandela fancy dress attire.

The resourceful people at The Hendon Times got in contact with Nelson himself to see what he made of it all. His official spokeswoman Zelda la Grange told them,

We read the article with interest and I also discussed it with Mr Mandela who happened to be in the office this morning. We don't see any harm in this whatsoever. If it was a fancy dress party and people were expected to arrive as a character or famous person, we are convinced there was no ill intent behind this. Mr Mandela commented, however, about the choice of the shirt and said - tongue-in-cheek - that it was a rather awkward choice of shirt to resemble his usual shirts.

We're waiting for the headline in the Hendon Times,

Calls for councillor to be sacked after he takes the piss with an awkward choice of shirt

The thing is, Mandela knows his racism. Crudely 'blacking up', presenting a derogitory stereotype and taking the piss out of black people 'Black and White Minstrels' stylee is racist, but darkening your skin in order to dress up as Nelson at a party... it may be in poor taste but surely we've come far enough to get over ourselves a little bit. La Grange continued,

We are not oversensitive about matters like these ... we should try not to read racism into actions which may be completely innocent.

So next time you go to a fancy dress party, black up, go as Mandela and when someone looks up from their Guardian to tell you that you are a racist, proudly tell them that Nelson himself sanctioned your outfit and that they don't look at all like Sylvester Stallone.

Last Updated 02 April 2007