Often I wonder if people just enjoy stirring up trouble. I have known several of this personality type over the years and quite frankly, I wish those people would exert their energies more usefully.
Last nights Oscar telecast included a short bit of host Billy Crystal in black make-up (actually brown if you want to get technical) impersonating Sammy Davis Jr. This is not a new bit for him as he did it numerous times on Saturday Night Live. To much praise I might add; never controversy. So, why is it that last nights bit was ablaze on twitter for being offensive?
Lest we all forget that Billy Crystal is Jewish. The Jewish people have much of the same share of persecution, humiliation, segregation and yes, genocide. We have spent centuries experiencing many of the same racist actions that African Americans have. But this is not a competition to see who has had it worse. Racism is cruel no matter who it is against.
So, when Billy Crystal appears on stage we could say he is appearing in "Jewface". Right? Why not? In 2010 Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, who co hosted the telecast made comments that could have set the Jewish community on fire:
But I laughed. Actually I remember I was hysterical. I did not take offense, I took it for the innocent humor that was intended. No host is going to intentionally offend a group of people in front of billions of viewers.
Perhaps that is why Billy did not see any problem with doing an impersonation of Sammy Davis Jr. as he had done so many times in the past. It was a beloved character who before his death had enjoyed the impersonation himself.
Last night Hollywood honored Octavia Spencer for her role in "The Help". As well they should have. Yet, there are people who say that the role she played was still degrading to the African American race. Everyone, think back to Adrien Brody's win for "The Pianist". He is Jewish and played a Jew, persecuted in the second world war for being just that, a Jew. No one complained that he was playing a role that was still degrading to the Jewish community.
In Hollywood, people, not races are honored for their work. Denzel and Halle have been honored for roles that had nothing to do with being black. Natalie Portman and even last night's winning director Michel Hazanavicius (director of "The Artist") won Oscars for things that had nothing to do with being Jewish.
So, for the people that complained about Billy doing "blackface", think beyond your thoughts that everything people do is racist. It's not always about that. Blondes don't have themselves in a tizzy all the time for the infinite amount of "dumb blonde" jokes. We as a human race all have things about us that can be laughed at.
With a little more laughter and smiling, the world may be a happier place.