Aboriginal mother shares 'whiteface' Facebook picture of daughter amid Australia 'blackface' row

New picture comes amid fury over image of boy dressed as 'hero' Nic Naitanui using black paint

Tom Embury-Dennis
Tuesday 30 August 2016 12:08
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A mother dresses her daughter up as a Dr Seuss character
A mother dresses her daughter up as a Dr Seuss character

An aboriginal mother in Australia has shared photos of her daughter in ‘whiteface’ to show support for a woman who sparked a row over ‘blackface’.

A social media debate erupted after an image was posted to Facebook showing a white boy from Perth with his skin painted black.

The picture was posted with a caption from his mother saying the boy wanted to look like his “idol”, Australian Football League Player Nic Naitanui.

The mother, who described the moment as a “parenting win”, has since removed the image amid mounting outrage.

(Twitter

But Bec Bee, from Far North Queensland and of aboriginal descent, claimed there were double standards over race in Australia, and said she had posted a photograph of her daughter in ‘whiteface’ to demonstrate this.

The image shared on Facebook showed her daughter as a Dr Seuss character with a red wig and white skin.

"I didn't see blackface," she told the BBC. "I saw a young fella who was proud to emulate his idol. There was no intent of racism.

"Not once did anyone say anything when I painted my black daughter white three years ago. We need to stop the double standards, a hero is a hero!

“I showed my daughter the article about the young boy… She said 'I'm proud that he wants to be the same colour as me.’"

Ms Bee’s Facebook post has now been shared by more than 11,000 people.

The mother’s original 'blackface' post that sparked the furore was shared on Australian blogger Constance Hall’s Facebook page. In it, she wrote:

"I was a little worried about painting him. (So many politically correct extremists these days) he is pastey White (sic) and if I just sent him in a wig and footy gear, no one would tell who he was.

"So I ... painted my boy brown and he looked fanf******tastic.”

The outfit was, she claimed, was for an annual Book Week parade where pupils are encouraged to dress up as their favourite characters.

The initial post provoked widespread outrage in Australia.

Naitanui, who the boy was dressing up as, has since responded to the furore, saying: “The young blood’s innocence merely attempting to emulate his hero hurts my heart. Especially when that hero is me!

“It’s a shame that racism co-exists in an environment where our children should be nurtured, not tortured because they are unaware of the painful historical significance of ‘blackface.’

“I don’t believe the mother had any intention to cause harm, just wanted her kid to simply be ‘Nic Nat’ however may she reflect on this and choose an alternate method next time.”

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