Friday, April 23, 2010

Just Gotta Shake My Head

I seem to be following The Field Negro lately, but I swear I had this story before I saw it on his site.

I'm talking about the story about this white dude who dressed up like a black guy in order to avoid police detection while robbing banks.

It's another example of white folks understanding the power of the black bogeyman myth and thus realizing it makes sense to pretend to be black to commit crimes. That way you can avoid suspicion when you switch back to being white.

Honestly, I wasn't even mad at dude because his costume was so realistic. I had to nod my head in respect at his creativity.

That said, while researching this guy's costume, ('Cause face it, I need to know just how easy it is for white folks to walk among black folks undetected) I found the website of the company that makes it. Here's the site if you're interested.

If you check out that link you'll see, it's a gallery of costumes, mostly horror and freak show stuff. And then there's the black dude costume, or "The Player."

I'm going ignore the suspect name for the costume which brings to mind stereotypes about sports and women.

Instead, I'm wondwering, does anybody else find that gallery strange?

Anybody else wonder why "The Player" was a natural off-shoot for a company that had previously focused on zombies, ghouls and aliens? Am I the only one that wonders how this fits in with the long-held notions of black men as "monsters"?

I'm not alone, right?

Everybody understands that there is something a bit off with this company's decision to make its first "human" costume a mask of a bald black man, right? Y'all don't just see this as a random and reasonable occurence, do you? I sincerly hope not because that would mean I'm going crazy and my blog audience isn't as sophisticated as I thought. (Yeah, I'm kissing up.)

When I saw that gallery I just had to shake my head. You know, that "Ain't this about a B" head shake. It's like every time I turn around, I get another reminder, another tap on the shoulder.

Some folks might argue that's only because I'm looking for it, you know searching for racism like it was gold. But, I contend that I would rather have my head on a swivel then be the victim of a crackback block. Even paranoid folks have enemies, right?

So, tell me, do y'all think I'm being paranoid?



unknown said...

Look, I find it just as questionable that this company would have such a costume in its inventory. What are they trying to say? Because I remember the lame "Chinaman" costume I saw years ago was deemed "not politically correct" and "racist" and I think the costume was pulled. (I don't remember the store or what year this was.) But it's OK to don a "scary black man" getup because that's somehow the norm?

And by the way, Big: did you hear about the woman in TX very recently who is accused of burying her infant alive? Well, apparently she claimed a black man was responsible for snatching the infant before she finally confessed. Whatchu think about that?

LisaMJ said...

No you aren't paranoid. And even if you are (and I am too) what is that old saying "just b/c you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you).

Stuff like this is so disgusting and irritating. I swear that they are trying to engage in an even more extensive psychological warfare against us so we don't let Obama go to our heads.

CNu said...

Tim Wise is still truth.

Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypically American engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic. Which is why Rush Limbaugh could say, this past week, that the Tea Parties are the first time since the Civil War that ordinary, common Americans stood up for their rights: a statement that erases the normalcy and “American-ness” of blacks in the civil rights struggle, not to mention women in the fight for suffrage and equality, working people in the fight for better working conditions, and LGBT folks as they struggle to be treated as full and equal human beings.

And this, my friends, is what white privilege is all about. The ability to threaten others, to engage in violent and incendiary rhetoric without consequence, to be viewed as patriotic and normal no matter what you do, and never to be feared and despised as people of color would be, if they tried to get away with half the shit we do, on a daily basis.

Game Over.

Accept no substitutes....,

Brenda said...

Big Man,

No, you are not paranoid, and to be perfectly honest with you, I'm surprised that we haven't seen MORE incidents like this one.

I'm just grateful that an innocent young Black man vaguely fitting the description of this robber {Conrad Zdaierak}, did not become another "accidental" statistic of mistaken identity by some trigger happy cop.

I'm also curious to know if Zdzierak who is from Poland, was in the US legally? I guess he wouldn't have had to worry about showing his papers in Arizona...

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

I actually visited the site as your suggested. Those are amazing masks made of silicon, and their videos under the Multimedia tab were interesting.

Their stuff ain't cheap either. The Player and The Sarge cost $689. The Old Lady is $1200.

I guess you can tell I'm not bent out of shape about the Halloween shop. It's just fantasy and their videos were neat.

It's a very separate issue from the rare and random white criminal who impersonates a black person, and damned if we should allow the crooks to rob us of Halloween fun.

LisaMJ said...

@ KIT, what does that mask, which in my opinion is racist have to do with "Halloween fun?" So dressing up as a black person is supposed to be appropriate for Halloween? Somehow I doubt that white folks or even a lot of minorities would think it was so funny if black people ran around in white people's masks. What if they had a white man's mask and called it "serial killer" or "cocaine user" or "meth head" would that be so funny? And also, even though black men's sexuality gets played up and is used as a stigma and another way to make black men the "boogey man" there are PLENTY of white men who are players and in a country where they are 70 to 80% of the population, they are OF COURSE the majority of the players. Yeah, on Halloween you dress up as other people but not to put them down and perpetuate negative sterotypes and you certainly don't or shouldn't say I'm gonna be this racial group or that racial group. If you are white and want to be a player dress up like Eminem or something but don't put on a black person mask. I swear just to be evil I might dress up like a blonde bimbo this year for Halloween with some pasty white make-up on and DARE someone to say something to me. I know two wrongs don't make a right but this ish is really working my nerves especially after the Compton party and all those "ghetto" cook-outs and parties ignorant people keep having.

Big Man said...

Unknown, I hadn't heard about that.

Susan Smith all over again and Charles Stuart redux.

Big Man said...


Tim Wise might be the baddest white man in the world.

I'm just saying.

Redbonegirl97 said...

They had an "illegal alien" costume at this one place. I figured it would be an alien, but instead it was suppose to look like a Mexican. There was an outpour of rage and the costume disappeared. I doubt that this will disappear as quickly. How ignorant for someone to actually design and profit from something like this.

Peace, Love and Chocolate

Big Man said...


The costume was like an alien wearing a sombrero and poncho.

illegal alien.

Yeah, it was racist, and it was carried by target, if i'm not mistaken.

MODI said...

rightfully paranoid BM. that mask is BS.

And if it weren't for that red dye, he'd still be robbing banks, and some black guy would get locked up...

MODI said...

side note - that mask cost $700!

Raving Black Lunatic