Every year, the San Diego State baseball team plays a game decked out in Halloween finery. This year's contest featured a homer-hitting Charger Girl, Facebook at shortstop, and King Kong as third base coach. But in an eerie echo of the recent Serra High debacle which saw two (white) football coaches dress as the (black) Jamaican bobsled team, four members of the squad donned Spandex and dredlocks and appeared as…the Jamaican bobsled team.
"It's true that the San Diego State athletes did not wear blackface in the manner of the Serra High coaches," said San Diego NAACP spokesperson Ezekiel Blackpower. "But people need to think about why blackface is offensive in the first place. It's not because [blackface pioneer and singer] Al Jolson wanted to make fun of black people. It's because Al Jolson was appropriating the genius of black musicians and using it for his own enrichment. Jolson may have worn blackface in an attempt to honor the source, but the move only highlighted the injustice. So now blackface is a symbol of cultural oppression and even theft, and therefore offensive. Wearing dredlocks as a nod to Jamaican culture as embodied by reggae legend Bob Marley? It's the exact same thing: the oppressors appropriating from the oppressed. Or perhaps those boys don't know much about The Christmas Rebellion?"