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November 09, 2007

DHS employee wore blackface prison costume all day

Not only did a DHS employee win a prize for a prison/blackface Halloween costume from Assistant Secretary Julie Myers, he also wore the costume to work all that day.

On Tuesday, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), a member of the Homeland Security Committee, sent Myers a letter expressing her "dismay" over the incident at an ICE Halloween party and posing questions about it. Yesterday evening, McCaskill received Myers's three-page reply.

Myers wrote that the costume was "inappropriate" and "could leave a negative impression as to the respect that ICE has for those in our custody."

She noted that the man had not originally been a winner but was added so that "management" party-goers would not be the only employees recognized. [WaPo]

Sen. McCaskill was horrified to learn that the employee had worn the costume to work:

"He was dressed in this costume during his entire shift at work all day, which means that in the workplace there wasn't a manager that said, 'You need to change, you need to leave." [WaPo]

HT: Think Progress


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The outrage over this is so laughable. There much more serious issues occurring at the moment and you are focusing on a halloween costume. It was in bad taste, ok, we can see that. Let it go. So a white dressed as a black guy, added some dreds and a prison outfit. Boo-hoo. Is it really that shocking and disturbing? Will black people be better off because you feel bad and outraged? Maybe focus on a way to stop blacks from shooting each other. Where is the outrage in that? Here is Chicago a woman was killed in gang crossfire on Halloween while walking with her kids on trick-or-treat. That is a real story that should gain our outrage. Not this crap.

Big deal, get over it. Man I'm tired of over-the-top politically correct BS. I dislike Myers as much as the next person, but this is a non-issue. Grow up and move on to real issues.

As I say, if it was a real non-issue, people would shrug and not bother to post about it. The more folks holler about "over-the-top politically correct BS," the less it seems like that's what it is.

Hey B-Money, tell us all about your experiences with INS/ICE that lead you to the conclusion that this is not worth commenting on, a proposition you seem committed to disproving by continuing to engage in the discussion.

This is that one unusual situation in which being black, a member of the group specifically racially stereotyped by the costume, is not the relevant minority status from which to make the call, This is no big deal.

It's a big deal, and anyone who has ever dealt with the idiotic arrogance at this agency, which irrationally and carelessly destroys the lives of the people it is mandated to serve, could tell you more about that.

And why do you assume everyone who is furious about it is white?

Trust me, if the Post Office's inefficiency and malice had the power to break apart your family, not just lose your phone bill, you would understand.

Oh, and no he didn't really wear this outfit to work all day. That is just not the excuse I wanted to hear.

Then again, if you spend the day out of the public eye handling paper, or shredding it....

Some of that stuff was really really expensive to replace. And some of it was not replicable.

Well Phoenix, I am hispanic, Mexican if you must know, an attorney as well, and have helped several friends and family members while various immigration matters, ranging from applying for citizenship to renewing a work or student visa. I have deal with INS/ICE in the past and have never had a problem. Maybe I just really good at all of their bullshit paperwork, who knows. And yes, there is idiocy at INS/ICE, as there is at most government agencies, during a Republican presidency AND Democratic presidencies.

The fact the a goof wore a black face costume to a party doesn't affect me or the people that I have assisted. If it causes someone to have a more negative opinion of Myers and this idiot who wore the costume, and the Bush administration as a whole, I can see that. But how does this affect service? How does it make things worse from a bureaucratic nightmare standpoint?

On a side note, INS/ICE is no longer here to HELP people stay in this country or come to this country. Since 9/11 and the creation of DHS, ICE's function is to protect our borders and keep the bad out. I guess they feel that if a few innocents get caught in the crossfire, oh well, collateral damage. I disgaree with that but I also like that their is more scrutiny placed on who comes and goes from this country.

"And why do you assume everyone who is furious about it is white?"

Because experience shows this to be the case. I reference the Florida State mascot situation again. White people NOT FROM Florida decided that the Seminole tribe should be offended by FSU's use ot the Seminole indian. The Seminole actually have always applauded FSU's recognition of their culture and were often consulted so that the depiction was accurate. But because some white guy got his panties in a bunch in Indiana, ALL Native American symbols had to be removed from NCAA mascots. Even respectful one's like Chief Illiniwek at Illinois and the Seminole at FSU.

Sorry for all the typos, using a laptop and the dogs are jumping on my lap! My apologies...

>ALL Native American symbols had to be removed from NCAA mascots. Even respectful one's like Chief Illiniwek at Illinois and the Seminole at FSU.

Uh, you sure about that?

The history is mixed, but the Tribal Council of the Seminole Tribe of Floridasupports the use of the Seminole name and associated images by Florida State. The resolution reads in part: "The Tribal Council of the Seminole Tribe of Florida wishes to go on record that it has not opposed and, in fact, supports the continued use of the name 'Seminole' and any associated head logo as currently endorsed by Florida State University. In addition, it states that the "Tribal Council further extends an invitation to Florida State University and its officials to continue their relationship and collaborate on the development of logos and nicknames that all members of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and officials and students of Florida State University can be proud."

So yes, a lot of high schools and colleges have stopped using Indian images, but FSU hasn't, and it's OK.

The Tribal Council of the Seminole Tribe of Florida does not speak for the entire Seminole Tribe.

Well, do they speak for most of them?

Looks like the Seminole groups in both Florida and in Oklahoma are fine with FSU's use of Seminole images.

" In response to the NCAA's proclamation that Native American names and logos will not be permitted by its member institutions unless the namesake tribe concurs, both the 3,100-member Seminole Tribe of Florida and the 6,000-member Seminole Nation of Oklahoma have officially approved the relationship and the details of the images used." (wiki)

>Well Phoenix, I am hispanic, Mexican if you must know, an attorney as well

Hmmmm. As an attorney, you make demonstrably false statements in public, clearly without doing even elementary research. I would be concerned if I was you. Not a good advertisement.

Hey Dick, do you think I care what you think? I try to engage you in reasonable conversation, even going so far as to agree with you, admit you make good points, yet you still act like an ass to me. So I say Fuck you. I have tried with you. Yet you make no effort to meet me half way. You just like to flame.

Off topic, but can we get an acknowledgement of Hilary Clinton putting plant questioners in her press conference, like FEMA did? Or is it OK because she in not in the Bush administration and is a Democrat?

If she did, that's despicable. I hadn't heard about that incident. Send me a link.

Re: Myers, it is possible, and indeed likely, for the situation to have been neither acceptable nor apocalyptically awful. It is crappy management and unprofessional, but probably does not rise to a civil right priority either. The purpose of Halloween is arguably to be offensive and to let off steam. On the other hand, that agency of all should be above reproach and without the appearance of bias.

the purpose of halloween is to be offensive?

If you are referring to the carnival tradition, historically it was the the poor and powerless who got to offend the rich and powerful, and the offenses were REVERSALs of familiar power dynamics.

The powerful offending the powerless is not letting off steam (unless you mean the stress of repressing all that racism), it's an illustration of business as usual.

When people at agencies that have the power to imprison and deport people (powers that are often deployed against of people of color) publicly demonstrate their enjoyment of racist stereotypes, it is a problem. this is a no-brainer. It's not the only problem in the world sure. But it is meaningful.

do people seriously think that someone who not only 'lets slide' a blackface costume, but goes out of their way to praise it (as original?!), goes home and has a non-prejudiced view of black people? This is not an unconscious or accidental slip-up. And it was not a simple representation of a black person as a symbol of something positive or neutral (maybe this Seminoles example falls into this category, I don't know) - it was someone in blackface in prison clothes. how more obviously racist does it need to be?

Here ya go. Sorry it's FoxNews but I am in a hurry and this will have to do.,2933,310316,00.html

Oh, its true "a href="">all right

But there is a lot less of a frenzy than there was about the FEMA nonsense. Wonder why that is? And don't say its due to press bias, because we all know that that's just a Faux News candard.

ripley you forget that in the recent shocking reversal of racial hatred and bigotry, white folks are now shackled and oppressed by reverse discrimination from intolerant minorities, aided and abetted by naive, sycophantic, PC hippie scum, unfortunately still alive even after the leftist swamps were drained in during the Reagan (God bless his sacred immortal soul.) era.

Re Hillary. Good. Hopefully her campaign will come unraveled and someone who is not a Republican in Democrat's clothing will take her place. Not that that's likely, or that it will even do any good. We're almost certainly doomed to live out the "conservative" wet dream until the shit finally, and terminally, hits the fan.

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