Sometimes we miss the mark. Sometimes we miss a chance for greatness or at least to do a good thing. We choose to take the easy road, or worse yet, we choose to do something we know shows our lowest self. We miss the mark.
Earlier I posted about the use of blackface over history in the USA, and noted how it is being used by a Danish company to advertise a new drink. Some were upset that I called it racist and said Denmark should be ashamed and should not allow such advertising in Denmark.
Now it maybe quite understandable as to why the racist behavior of using blackface to depict human being with black skin and African heritage is acceptable in Denmark. The state appears to wholeheartedly support it, revel in it, and look upon it as a form of free speech. What has been acknowledged in the USA (and UK and other places) as totally unacceptable racist, inhumane behavior appears to be a financially state supported activity and belief.
This new DR TV documentary series “Sort Arbejde” (meaning, literally “black work” or illegal untaxed work) is supposed to be humorous. As the screenshot above shows, to advertise it, it depicts the Nigerian entrepreneurs as large hairy monkeys with big lips and wide open white eyes and big white teeth, their mouths fixed in the typical happy blackface minstrel grin.
It could have been a great documentary about entrepreneurship in Denmark, something it has been trying to take a lesson room American on and is slowly starting to do quite well with in the last few years. Entrepreneurship is a universally awesome topic! But, alas, the blackface and Black people as hairy monkeys situation in a DR documentary is sitting in the middle of the room and we must deal with that issue.
I have a thought: Perhaps the executive producers and executives in general in DR are ignorant of the programming it produces and do not know that this kind of program is being produced by its staff. Perhaps they are ignorant of the racist message being sent out.
Maybe in these challenging economic times it was thought to be more beneficial for Denmark, national and community values within Denmark, and the financial education of residents of Denmark to produce a documentary series depicting one ethnic group as dancing animals with big lips and “hysterical” eyes and grins rather than focus on dry and boring entrepreneurship that could make Danes and other residents in Denmark financially self-sufficient.
Surely it cannot be that DR thinks the blackface and monkey depictions is actually funny and simply is so because Danes think it is funny.
Denmark has missed the mark.
And how many Danes think calling this Nigerian couple (and symbolically all Black people) monkeys and depicting them in blackface, is funny?
HOw many danes don’t care that DR produces racist documentaries about Black people because “it isn’t my problem”?
What does it say about Danes that they think it is acceptable and funny to depict Black people as hairy primates with blackface — something done away with in the USA; the UK and other places because of its unequivocally recognized racist nature?
The “sort arbejde” title: Since is has nothing to do here with illegal work, is cleaning supposed to be a Black person’s job? Is this an implication that White people are too “something” to do the profession of cleaning?
(One wonders where anyone would get the idea that Black people do not work and I mean work HARD, considering the history of how Black people have had to take care of not only themselves, but also White people who used them (and people of color in general) as slaves – formal and informal – to raise their children as wet nrse/nanny/au pair, clean up after them, harvest their fields and cook their food….and today still do it)
The Prime Minister of Denmark. Helle Thorning-Schmidt, is touring the continent of Africa this week and is currently in Tanzania.
I hope she is not showing DR TV to the folks there. It could be quite an embarrassing , uncomfortable and ugly moment.
In the end it winds down to one ugly fact: the country of Denmark, inproducing this documentary “Sort Arbejde” (also with government funds) is , is stating that it believes Black people are not human beings (homo sapiens sapiens) like Danes and White people in general. Rather, Denmark through DR in showing this documentary, its show opening and advertisement, exihibits a belief that the state of Denmark believes Black people are really non-human primates (hairy monkeys/apes) dressed in human clothing. Denmark through this DR documentary is exhibiting a belief that Black people ministrel dance around with “hysterically” happy big-lipped, huge white-teethed grins.
We cannot build bridges of commonality between people when one group is being demeaning and derogatory towards the other in the form of racism. I am so deeply disturbed at this small-minded, peasant behavior – this blatant racism.
Denmark has missed the mark.
This documentary is hate speech, not free speech. It promotes the degradation, mocking and dehumanization of Black people.
So, what are YOUR thoughts on blackface in Denmark? On DR’s editorial sense? On use of taxpayer funds to create and produce such a program?