Australian Fox Sports Host Briony Ingerson Posted A Blackface Selfie To Instagram, Because I Guess This Is Still Something People Don't Understand — PHOTOS
I feel like in 2015, I shouldn’t have to say this, but I’m going to say it anyway: The proper response to the question “Should I wear blackface?” is NO. It’s always no. Every. Single. Time. It’s so simple. Two letters: N. O. It's so consistent—NO. Always NO.—that it seems insane to me that anyone could still mess this up, but here we go, YET AGAIN: Australian Fox Sports presenter Briony Ingerson posted a photo of herself in blackface to her Instagram account. Ingerson included a caption to the photo (which also shows another friend in blackface), claiming that the costume was meant to honor her friend Belinda Morters, a contestant in the jungle-themed reality show I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!
The photo sat on Instagram for weeks without much attention, until Fairfax picked up a complaint by Ahmed Yussuf, a journalism student who had previously worked with Ingerson as an intern. Yussuf tweeted the offensive image and wrote, “V hurt to see Briony Ingerson do #blackface. Feel disgusted and disappointed, especially having worked with her. #Racism is not okay.” According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Ingerson responded via Twitter, writing, “sorry if you're upset by this. No harm intended, it was an African costume party. #notracistatall.” She later offered to remove the image.
Of course, declaring “#notracistatall” doesn’t actually remove the racism that’s deeply embedded in the act of a white person dressing in blackface. Blackface is offensive in itself, regardless of intention, context, or ignorance, and any thinking adult should know that it’s inappropriate. Ingerson has since released a statement, saying,
I'm deeply upset that my Instagram post offended people in the community. That was not my intent; it was a very poor error in judgement and I now understand how inappropriate it was.
The post has been removed and I offer my sincere apologies to those that were hurt by it.
Yussuf told the Sydney Morning Herald that he has been in contact with Ingerson, saying,
I explained to her why blackface is so bad and why it is so offensive and hurtful and she seemed receptive to what I said and she asked to meet up to have a chat.
While it’s good that, by Yussuf’s account, Ingerson was willing to learn, there’s something fundamentally disappointing about the fact that she (and many others) still need teaching. Yussuf remarks,
We live in a world that preferences whiteness and white features. She's not the problem, she's the symptom of something much bigger.
The thing you have to ask is why I as a person of colour have to talk to someone else and teach them about humanity?
Image: Ahmed Yussuf/Twitter