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22nd September 2019
Anyone who grew up through the 1980s will recall an Eddie Murphy flick called ‘Coming to America’. In it Murphy principally plays a rich prince from the fictional African kingdom of Zamunda, who decides to visit the USA to pick his own bride. Of the many less important characters Murphy also plays in the movie, one is an elderly white man called ‘Saul’, who bides his time gossiping in the local barber’s shop. Google “Eddie Murphy Saul” and numerous images pop up. In all the times I’ve watched that film,
I’ve marvelled at the make-up they applied to Murphy to literally transform him into an elderly Caucasian. Not once did I ever think such a part was racist or offensive to me as a white male.
So why all the fuss about Canadian PM Justin Trudeau blacking up for an Arabian-themed fancy dress party almost 20 damn years ago?!
Don’t get me wrong, I can no more tolerate Trudeau than I can any other self-styled liberal progressive. But to see woke Lefties condemning him to almost eternal damnation for applying a bit of black face paint at a party is taking political correctness to stratospheric heights.
What next?! Are we going to edit out that scene from ‘Silver Streak’, where Gene Wilder is prompted by Richard Pryor to black up and disguise himself so he can get past the Kansas City cops? Or perhaps Tom Courtenay in ‘Billy Liar’, as he very briefly plays a black character marching with other black characters along Green Lane in Leeds, participating in the liberation of his imaginary land of Ambrosia?! What about the next time Lenny Henry isn’t available for ‘Othello’? For goodness sake, don’t even get me started on Al Jolson.
“Ah, but times were different then, lad”, goes the response. Too right they were! Better and more sensible times, when half the population weren’t frightened to cough lest it offend the sensibilities of some emotionally pathetic soul. Times when you could watch characters like Alf Garnett and Eddie Booth, appreciate the nuance in the comedy, and enjoy a harmless programme which was about as far from the proper definition of racism as you could get. Too right times were different. Oh how I wish we still lived in those times!
If you are a black person who’s offended by a white man putting on some black face paint, get a grip. If you are a white man offended by a black guy putting on some white face paint, get a grip. And if you think the entire reputation of an individual should be traduced just because they did something that – until political correctness got its claws into society – was common practice, get a grip….tightly around your own throats and do the rest of us a favour.