Sometimes I can’t tell if I’m on the internet too much or if some people aren’t on the internet enough. I’m simply at a loss for how, in 2021, some whites are still posting blackface pictures on the internet and not expecting there to be consequences. A police officer in Tennessee has been reprimanded after posting a picture online of his daughter in blackface as part of a halloween costume.
According to NBC News, the Knoxville Police Department launched an internal affairs investigation after Officer Todd MacFaun posted a picture on social media of his two daughters in costume as Forrest Gump and Bubba from Forrest Gump, the 1994 film that received three MTV Movie Awards nominations (Managing Editor Genetta Adams: Oh, it also was nominated for 13 Oscars, winning six. *smh* Young people). The problem is MacFaun believed Bubba’s defining trait was not his love of shrimp, but that he was Black, and painted his daughters skin to reflect that. The picture was also posted to the account of Officer Leah Miller, MacFaun’s fiancée.
The investigation concluded that both MacFaun and Miller violated the department’s social media policy. “Though it was apparent that Officers MacFaun and Miller did not have malicious intentions, the costume reflected poor judgment, was entirely inappropriate given the long history of the use of blackface to oppress and stereotype the black community, and has no place in society,” the department said in a statement, NBC notes.
MacFaun and Miller reportedly told investigators that they weren’t aware of the racial connotations of blackface and expressed “sincere regret” over their actions. I just don’t get how white people are still unaware at the fact that blackface is just patently fucked up.
How many notable white people need to get yelled at by the internet for wearing blackface for folks to finally get it? Do we have to see if Tom Hanks himself had a blackface photo in the past so that hopefully all factions of whites can learn from the outrage?
Knoxville Police Chief Eve Thomas issued a statement saying she felt MacFaun demonstrated “an understanding of the painful history evoked by the depiction of blackface.”
“Though their actions were done only in the spirit of Halloween, those actions were hurtful and insensitive. I will not tolerate, accept or condone offensive or racially-insensitive behavior of any kind,” Thomas said in her statement.
Thomas issued MacFaun a written reprimand and the officer has assigned “additional cultural bias training.” As for Miller, she resigned in December before the investigation was completed. It’s unclear if her resignation was related to the investigation.
So white folks, heed this lesson: if you’re in the costume store and see black or brown body paint, just don’t.