Congresswoman Yvette Clarke Responds to Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s Blackface Costume

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dov hikind via gothamist

Brooklyn assemblyman Dov Hikind is facing heavy criticism after wearing blackface to a Purim celebration this weekend. Hikind, who wore an Afro wig, brown makeup, and an orange jersey and sunglasses to resemble “a black basketball player,” has expressed surprise at the angry reactions.

The assemblyman held a press conference outside his home to address the incident, which he insists was “as innocent as something can be.” According to the NY Daily Times:

“I understand people’s sensitivities. Nobody meant anything. It was not meant to offend you or hurt you in any fashion. I’m sorry people were offended. It was not meant that way.”

On the contrary, Hikind said that years ago, he helped bring together a diverse group of pols under the umbrella of The Black And Jewish Alliance to build bridges, not burn them.

“We’ve all stood together when there has been instances of racism. The last thing in my mind or heart is anything that’s racial,” he said, per [NY Daily Times report Reuven] Blau.

Still, the apology has done little to tame the backlash, and politicians and elected officials are condemning Hikind’s actions. According to Gothamist, State Assemble Speaker Sheldon Silver called Hikind’s decision “inappropriate and offensive,” while Assemblyman Karim Camara (also chairman of the state Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus) said he was “deeply shocked and outraged” by Hikind’s actions, noting that “the stereotypes embodied in blackface minstrels have played a significant role in cementing and proliferating racist images.”

Our own congresswoman Yvette Clarke sent out a series of tweets last night about the incident. Though she reiterates similar concerns about racial insensitivity and its fraught implications, she also speaks on the importance of “reconciliation:”

Based on the response on Twitter, it seems at least some of the constituents agree with Congresswoman Clark’s stance of tolerance. How do you feel about it?

Photo credit Facebook/via Gothamist

  • TentSitter

    This is all PC gone amok. Why wasn’t Eddie Murphy offensive and racially insensitive in the Taste the Soup scene at the end of “Coming to America”? (Do a youtube search on “taste the soup” to view it)

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