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Poll: Only 58 percent of Americans oppose blackface. Do YOU think whites in blackface is acceptable?


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The roiling blackface scandal in Virginia continues. It not only includes Gov. Ralph Northam (D) but now also Attorney General Mark Herring (D), who says he dressed in blackface at a college party. The scandal has put renewed focus on how this racist depiction of African Americans has endured well past the heyday of minstrelsy.

Now, a new poll shows why blackface endures: Only a slim majority of Americans condemn it. And there is a vast gulf between Democrats and Republicans.

The poll, conducted Saturday through Tuesday by the firm YouGov, asked respondents: “Is it acceptable or unacceptable for a White person to wear blackface make up?” Although 58 percent said “unacceptable,” 16 percent said “acceptable” and 26 percent said that they were not sure. In other words, 42 percent of Americans either endorse blackface or do not have a clear opinion on it.

Perhaps, though, this finding isn’t that surprising. Earlier YouGov polls also revealed tolerance for blackface. A 2013 poll found 43 percent said it was acceptable for white people to wear blackface to dress up as a black person for Halloween. Only 37 percent opposed this. A 2015 poll found slightly more support for blackface costumes: 47 percent said it was acceptable.

There is a predictable racial division in opinion. In this 2019 poll, 73 percent of blacks said blackface was unacceptable, compared to 57 percent of whites.

But the partisan divide is even bigger:


The vast majority of Democrats (81 percent) say blackface is unacceptable. But only 50 percent of independents and 44 percent of Republicans said this. The remaining Republican respondents were evenly divided between accepting blackface (29 percent) and uncertainty (27 percent).

These results show why Democrats’ condemnation of Northam has been so prevalent — and arguably quicker and more unified than Republican condemnation of the racial provocations of Republican leaders such as Rep. Steve King (Iowa). The Democratic base is just less tolerant of acts of racism.

In fact, in this poll, it is Democrats who were more likely to say Northam should resign, even though Northam is a Democrat. The poll asked: “Do you think Virginia Governor Ralph Northam should or should not resign over allegedly appearing in a racist yearbook photo showing one person dressed in blackface and another in a KKK white hood and robes?” In response, 55 percent of Democrats said he should resign, while 22 percent said he should not and 23 percent were not sure. By contrast, 35 percent of Republicans said he should resign and 41 percent said he should not.

It remains unclear what Northam will do. But the poll is clear: Even plainly racist depictions of blacks — much like plainly racist epithets — are far from universally condemned. Whether Americans do condemn racism depends not only on their own race, but also on their party affiliation.

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Are Kimmel and Fallon Ignoring the Virginia Blackface Scandal Because They've Done It, Too?


HIGHLIGHTS:  The "Washington Times" thinks JIMMY KIMMEL and JIMMY FALLON haven't been mentioning the Virginia governor's blackface scandal because they've both worn blackface in TV skits in the past.



FULL STORY:  In case you haven't heard, blackface is all the rage in Virginia.  At least among two of the state's most prominent Democratic politicians.



Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring have both recently admitted to wearing blackface years ago.  And you'd think all the late-night hosts would be jumping on that.  But apparently, two of them aren't.



According to the "Washington Times", JIMMY KIMMEL and JIMMY FALLON have "largely avoided" the subject . . . and it might be because they've worn blackface, too.



To be fair, they did it right out in the open, on TV, in comedy skits.  But it's still not a good look these days.



Kimmel did it twice on "The Man Show" back in the day . . . dressing as OPRAH and basketball star KARL MALONE.






And Fallon did it on "Saturday Night Live", when he was impersonating CHRIS ROCK.





People are also bringing up what happened on "The View" a few years ago, when JOY BEHAR showed a picture of herself at a Halloween party in the early '70s.



She had dressed as a "beautiful African woman" in her words, and she admitted that she used makeup that was, quote, "a little bit darker than my skin." 



(Here's video.  And here's a list of other celebs and politicians who've gotten in trouble for wearing blackface.)

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