Blackface on Kuwait TV

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It’s sad to see that the racist tradition of Blackface is still alive and well on Kuwait TV. The technique of white actors portraying Africans by painting their faces black dates to the 1840s in the US and was widely practiced for decades. It’s hard to believe we are still seeing this in 2015 on Kuwait’s state-run Channel 1.

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100 years ago, this form of entertainment helped spread racist stereotypes in Europe as well. The “black” characters are typically portrayed as wild “funny” buffoon-like caricatures of an entire race.

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The ‘tradition’ continued on prime time British TV into the late 1970s. I’ve also seen it on Lebanese TV in the 1990s–though I can’t remember the programs and I’m not sure if it continues. And of course blackface is still a shameful tradition to this very day in Holland during Christmas.

Channel 1 viewers deserve better than this and they should let the broadcaster know. Here are some phone numbers for the station. You can also reach them on Facebook or like the post I have just posted to their page. They are on Twitter as well.

 

Maybe someone who knows more about the show can tell us who the producer is. From the actor’s accents, it seems to be an Egyptian production.

 

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Thanks to Mehr for pointing this out.

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2 comments
  1. Thank you for speaking up. We don’t see enough awareness raised against this kind of stereotyping, especially in the arab world, so it’s great to call it out when we see it.

    FWIW, Zwarte Piet is often believed to be black due to soot because of his travels through chimney. This notion is sometimes contested by activists.

    Whether this is actual racism apology or a “relic of colonial times” should be up to the Dutch (and the Flemish) to decide. I find it a bit unfair (and uncalled for), to call it “shameful”. I know people from the area who openly speak up against racism but are still attached to their tradition of Zwarte Piet. Who are we to make this decision for them?

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