George Takei Defends His 'Blackface' Slam on Justice Thomas
It's not racist, he says
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2015 1:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – George Takei is usually the one doling out criticism for those who step out of line on matters of race or equality. This time, he's the one catching flak from critics. It's over an interview the actor gave to Fox 10 Phoenix in which he called Justice Clarence Thomas a "clown in blackface." Takei, a gay-rights advocate, lit into Thomas because of his dissent in the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling. Yesterday, Takei posted a message on Facebook addressing those who think he went too far, thought he didn't actually back down. He explains the theatrical origins of blackface as a white actor portraying a "black buffoon" and adds: "In traditional theater lingo, and in my view and intent, that is not racist. It is instead part of a racist history in this country."

Then he goes after Thomas anew, saying he "has abdicated and abandoned his African American heritage by claiming slavery did not strip dignity from human beings." Thomas "made a similar remark about the Japanese American internment, of which I am a survivor," writes Takei, who thinks that "a sitting Justice of the Supreme Court ought to know better." He's still catching flak, though. "Where in the world does George Freaking Takei get off deciding that he’s the new arbiter of American blackness?" asks Sean Davis at the Federalist. And at Mediaite, Alex Griswold has a scathing critique that, among other things, describes Takei's it's-not-racist explanation as "literally nonsense. I honestly don't even know what he's getting at."