34% of Americans OK With Blackface in One Situation

When it comes to Halloween costumes, about a third say it can be acceptable: survey
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2019 4:32 PM CST
34% of Americans OK With Blackface in One Situation
In this Feb. 21, 2018, file photo, a model wears a creation as part of the Gucci women's Fall/Winter 2018-2019 collection, presented during the Milan Fashion Week, in Milan, Italy.   (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni, File)

As Virginia finds itself embroiled in not one but two blackface scandals regarding its politicians, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that more than a third of Americans have little or no problem with blackface when it comes to costumes. Pew notes that the survey was completed "almost entirely" before Virginia's scandal made headlines; the survey ended Feb. 5. Participants were asked specifically about Halloween, and whether it's acceptable for a white person to darken their skin as part of a costume. While 37% said it was "never" acceptable and 16% said it was only "rarely" acceptable, 34% said it was either "sometimes" (19%) or "always" (15%) acceptable.

Just 5% of black respondents said it was "always" acceptable, compared to 11% of Hispanic respondents and 18% of white respondents. Those ages 18 to 29 were much less accepting of blackface for costumes, with 26% saying it was "sometimes" or "always" acceptable and 64% saying it was "rarely" or "never" acceptable. Of those 30 or older, about 40% said it was "sometimes" or "always" acceptable and about half, or fewer than half in one age group, said it was "rarely" or "never" acceptable. The same survey asked whether it's acceptable for a person to wear another culture's traditional dress as part of a Halloween costume; 27% said this was "rarely" or "never" acceptable while 58% said it was "always" or "sometimes" acceptable. (The latest on Virginia's blackface scandal here.)

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