About That Blackface Purim Costume…

Ahh Purim. A time for celebration, partying, and, in the case of New York City assemblyman Dov Hikind: Staggeringly stupid racial insensitivity.

You see, while most Purim partiers keep their costumes within the realm of “silly revelry”, Assemblyman Hikind went another route. As host of a purim party in his Brooklyn home, Hikind spent the holiday dressed as a Basketball player. Sounds innocuous enough, until you realize that for Hikind, “a Basketball player” mean a jersey, an afro wig, and a layer of blackface makeup. As reported by Politicker, a professional makeup artist was used to transform the 62 year old Brooklyn assemblyman into this morning’s “Are you fucking kidding me?” headline.


Hikind, a longtime powerhouse in local New York politics – particularly within Brooklyn’s orthodox Jewish communities – is no stranger to being on the wrong side of controversy. The conservative Democrat lobbied the NYPD to begin a policy of racial profiling, and recently came out against same-sex marriage, for fear that it would lead to incest. And then there’s Hikind’s involvement in Meir Kahane’s Jewish Defense League, an FBI-listed terrorist organization which, while famous for its anti-Arab incitement, spent its early days agitating Black Panther groups in New York city. How charming.

So, given Hikind’s past associations, and Brooklyn’s… er…less than stellar history of Black/Jewish relations you might think an elected official in the area would have a modicum of political acumen (to say nothing of regular human decency) and realize that dressing in blackface might not go over so well. Think again. When asked by Politicker whether he was worried his costume might offend, Hikind replied:

“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…. 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.

Of course.

[via Politicker]

What do you think?

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8 Responses

  1. Mike Shapiro

    Normally, I try and not be concerned with political correctness, unless it is extreme, but, to the assemblyman, I must say:

    Dolph Shayes
    Red Auerbach
    Danny Shayes
    so many others I can’t remember
    Oh, and the SPHAS

  2. Purim Gone Wrong - Hipster Jew

    […] New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind thought it was a good idea to bring up old racist stereotypes and bust out the black face. I originally thought he was an umpa loompa, but apparently he dressed up as a basketball player which doesn’t help the racist costume at all. SMH… //Heeb Magazine […]

  3. plotztastic

    Fneh. Who cares? It’s more racist to overreact to the stupid being stupid.

    Showed it to my black relations. They thought it was meshuggah komische.

    Purim, people. It’s karnaval.

    And what about that guy desecrating Buddhism by painting his face yin-yang? Also–he’s half blackface!

    And is that girl making fun of Satanism?

  4. Cindala

    Oh come on!!! Regardless of what you think of him or his politics there’s nothing wrong with his costume. I’m reminded of a Halloween party I went to a number of years back dressed as a belly dancer, but with dark makeup on my face and a corn rowed wig. People thought it was great because they didn’t recognize me at first even though I didn’t have a mask on. At the same party was a couple, a white man and a black woman, who came dressed as each other: He as a black woman and she as a white man. I’ve been to Purim parties with Jews dressed as Arabs, men dressed as Queen Esther, women dressed as Chasidic men. And what about that crazy movie a few years back with the Wayan Bros dressed as white women. Lighten up…it’s Purim!

  5. Yiddishe Maydel

    How are you? The problem is with an agitator and a “hater” like Hikind, it’s not in good taste–he’s mean and likes to stir up trouble, looks like. I read an article on 9 year old boys, who never quite grow up in the “social correctness way.” Well, he may be one, and all under the guise of, “I’m a Politician, so it has to be a joke, if I say so!!” Wow.. Good luck lol Peace

  6. Rob

    So just remember. You can now dress up as a Nazi or Hitler on Halloween. Just say it’s done “with respect” and “for fun”, and that you can’t imagine how anyone could possibly be offended. Oh, and remember to remind people it’s part of your culture, which you have a right to without being criticized. If someone criticizes you, they are just a bunch of anti-gentiles.

  7. Plotztastic

    Speaking of which, Rob, Mel Brooks will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by AFI this year.

    Puh leeze. PC is as dead as McCarthyism.

    From which it is indistinguishable to anyone outside its orthodoxy. And last I checked NYC politicians were not required to have “good taste,” whatever the flock that means in the capital city of the Hipster Empire.


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