The use of blackface – non-black people covering their faces with something to make them appear to have darker skin – is pretty much viewed as offensive across the board. Well, this is at least in the United States, where every Halloween someone gets the not-so-bright idea to cover their face in brown makeup as they dress up like Kanye West.
But an amateur soccer team in Germany took the practice and attempted to use it to fight racism.
Deinster SV, a soccer club in northern Germany, posted a digitally altered photo that gives all of its players dark skin to support two of its Sudanese refugee players that were victims of a race-based attack on Easter, according to the Huffington Post.
The coach, Sönke Kreibich, said that Emad Babiker was physically assaulted and Amar Alnoor, was verbally assaulted.
“Emad was thrown to the ground. They struck and kicked him. When I saw him on Sunday, he had a big swelling under his eye,” coach Sönke Kreibich told Jezt.de. “Violence against refugees is pathetic,” the Facebook post reads. “Emad and Amar, you are one of us.”
Despite the negative history of blackface being used to make a mockery of people of African descent for centuries, the team’s actions are being well-received across the globe. This has to do with both the positive intentions behind the decision and the differing history of blackface in other parts of the world.
“This has nothing to do with racism. We just wanted to show solidarity,” team spokesman Frank Sandmann told NBC News.
Personally, I’m not completely comfortable with the image. There are plenty of other ways to show solidarity instead of giving the entire team gaudy black faces in a photo. Do I commend the intentions? Absolutely. The methods? Not so much. I’d be very curious to know how the players feel about the move. They may honestly not care. Or they may feel a little uncomfortable about it, just as many are sure to.
Photo Courtesy: Twitter