ONTD Political

NY Assemblyman wears blackface and can't imagine how anyone could be offended

5:42 pm - 02/25/2013
Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind hosted a massive Purim party at his home yesterday that featured over fourteen hours of food and drink and, as is customary on the Jewish holiday, elaborate costumes. Mr. Hikind said a professional makeup artist came to his home to transform him into a “basketball player” with a costume that consisted of an afro wig, sunglasses, an orange jersey and brown face paint.

“I was just, I think, I was trying to emulate, you know, maybe some of these basketball players. Someone gave me a uniform, someone gave me the hair of the actual, you know, sort of a black basketball player,” Mr. Hikind explained. “It was just a lot of fun. Everybody just had a very, very good time and every year I do something else. … The fun for me is when people come in and don’t recognize me.”

The Assemblyman’s wife was dressed as a devil and his son was a trippy, yin-yang-faced “angel.” Mr. Hikind, a Democrat and power broker in the city’s Orthodox Jewish political scene, said he put a sign outside his house in the afternoon letting his neighbors know the door was open and a steady stream of revelers came in to enjoy the festivities throughout the day.

“People just know that we have–we in general have a very open house in terms of the weekend, the Sabbath,” said Mr. Hikind. “Friday night, Saturday, we invite a lot of company, we have a lot of guests.”

Politicker asked Mr. Hikind whether he was worried his “black basketball player” costume could be seen as offensive blackface. He described the outfit as respectful fun in keeping with Purim traditions.

“I can’t imagine anyone getting offended. You know, anyone who knows anything about Purim knows that if you walk throughout the community, whether it’s Williamsburg, Boro Park, Flatbush, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens Hills, people get dressed up in, you name it, you know, in every kind of dress-up imaginable,” Mr. Hikind said. “Purim, you know, everything goes and it’s all done with respect. No one is laughing, no one is mocking. No one walked in today and said, ‘Oh my God.’ … It’s all just in good fun with respect always, whatever anyone does it’s done with tremendous amounts of respect and with dignity, of course.”

Mr. Hikind’s costume was quite labor intensive. When we spoke to him shortly after midnight, Mr. Hikind said he spent over thirty minutes in the shower trying to remove the makeup and still had more work to do.

“I came out and I wiped my face and I still had stuff on my face. It’s going to take me a while,” the assemblyman explained. “But it’s all worth it, I would do it again in a minute.”

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hey_spectrum 26th-Feb-2013 01:59 am (UTC)
Fuck that guy. What basketball player has a fro these days anyway?
waffled_flambe 26th-Feb-2013 02:23 am (UTC)
A couple years ago my friends and I were driving through a Jewish neighborhood (I think it was Midwood) during Purim and saw a kid dressed in blackface, an afro, and some sort of tie-dye 90s clothing, so I'm not surprised by this smh
aviv_b Sarcasm alert26th-Feb-2013 02:33 am (UTC)
I'm sure he'd be just fine if someone dressed up like an Orthodox Jew and imitated davening (praying) in a Jewish manner.

piscesvstaurus Re: Sarcasm alert26th-Feb-2013 03:51 am (UTC)
He did speak out about Galliano's Hasidic outfit a month ago.
angelofdeath275 26th-Feb-2013 02:36 am (UTC)
"I was just, I think, I was trying to emulate, you know, maybe some of these basketball players."

This alone speaks volumes.
kittenmommy 26th-Feb-2013 04:59 am (UTC)

Yeah, I thought the same thing. Wow.
astridmyrna 26th-Feb-2013 02:40 am (UTC)

When we spoke to him shortly after midnight, Mr. Hikind said he spent over thirty minutes in the shower trying to remove the makeup and still had more work to do.

For some reason, Macbeth comes to mind.
thecityofdis 26th-Feb-2013 03:15 am (UTC)
we should only be so lucky
amyura 26th-Feb-2013 02:57 am (UTC)
Well, that's nice and disgusting. How can anyone have any excuse for doing that anymore?
yamamanama 26th-Feb-2013 04:43 am (UTC)
They're completely out of touch with reality, that's their excuse.
thecityofdis 26th-Feb-2013 03:18 am (UTC)
ugh, hikind is a schmuck of literally every kind. racist, sexist, homophobic, islamophobic, etc. etc. he's truly a peach.

i should like to kick him in the huevos, if i ever got the chance.
x_neverenough 26th-Feb-2013 03:52 am (UTC)
" It’s all just in good fun with respect always"


aliice 26th-Feb-2013 03:53 am (UTC)
fuck this guy!!!
piscesvstaurus This bitch26th-Feb-2013 03:57 am (UTC)
“Next year I was thinking I’d be an Indian,” he said. “But you know, I’ve changed my mind about that. I don’t think that’s a good idea. Somebody will be offended.”

What Dov Hikind is quoted as sayin in NYT article.
moonshaz Re: This bitch26th-Feb-2013 04:56 am (UTC)
Wow, an Indian offensive? You REALLY think so?!?!? /sarcasm
apostle_of_eris 26th-Feb-2013 03:59 am (UTC)
It looks like none of the commenters so far actually know Purim. It is a holiday of reversals and disrespect, even drunkenness.
(One custom is to put on a topical play based on the Book of Esther. A couple of years ago, a couple of my friends told me about the play they'd seen at their synagogue. The text was way cutting, and there were buzzings in the audience. Then Queen Esther made her entrance – played by the rabbi.)
On Purim, cross-dressing is perfectly acceptable. So is getting falling down drunk, and the servants ordering their masters, and students mocking their professors.
So a rude crude caricature is appropriate for Purim. I'd need to know more about the Purim shpeil to have an opinion about the silly blackface.
aviv_b 26th-Feb-2013 04:24 am (UTC)
Its one thing to mock one of your own, or one of the characters from the story. But mocking someone who isn't part of the celebration isn't really cool. And even a non-mocking reversal to another's culture/religion/race is tricky.

Example. One year our Rabbi came as a priest. Ok, that's a straight reversal. The assistant Rabbi came as a nun...eh, not really to my taste but probably still OK within the reversal concept.

Then I realized he was a pregnant nun. And that's where I draw the line - because now you are mocking someone else's sincerely held beliefs.

So while I can see your point about reversals - black-face has very negative connotations in our culture. I don't think Mr. Hikind grew up isolated from the mainstream culture so he really should have known better.
underlankers 26th-Feb-2013 04:17 am (UTC)
This is 2013, not 1913, right?
kittenmommy 26th-Feb-2013 04:58 am (UTC)

Hey, Assembly Hikind: NO.
zinnia_rose 26th-Feb-2013 05:59 am (UTC)
For fuck's sake, white people. STOP WEARING BLACKFACE.
otana 26th-Feb-2013 07:03 am (UTC)
How is this a difficult fucking thing to remember?

quizzicalsphinx 26th-Feb-2013 06:26 am (UTC)
Sure, blackface was offensive the first four hundred times someone got called out for it--but I bet you'll be the one pull it off with dignity and sensitivity. Because you're just that special.
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