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The Dov Hikind Purim Backlash Grows

The Brooklyn assemblyman kind of apologizes for wearing blackface

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Dov Hikind (Center)(Facebook)

As we noted earlier, Dov Hikind is fighting an uphill battle against his own poor taste and his own big mouth a day after dressing up a basketball player in blackface for Purim.

The Brooklyn assemblyman responded to the controversy earlier this morning on his blog thusly:

Yes, I wore a costume on Purim and hosted a party. Most of the people who attended also wore costumes. Everywhere that Purim was being celebrated, people wore costumes. It was Purim. People dress up.

I am intrigued that anyone who understands Purim—or for that matter understands me—would have a problem with this. This is political correctness to the absurd. There is not a prejudiced bone in my body.

It was this last sentence that caught the attention of Eli Valley, himself no stranger to provocation, who posted a story about Hikind on Facebook:

“There is not a prejudiced bone in my body.” – Minstrel Performer

Throughout the day, the acrimony swirled with some of his colleagues and fellow Democrats taking him to task. State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver called the actions “inappropriate and offensive.” Assemblyman Karim Camara, who chairs the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Caucus also chimed in:

“I find the actions of the Assemblyman to be callous and repugnant. At the very least, an apology should be issued to those who found his portrayal objectionable.”

The timing happens to be extra embarrassing for Hikind, who just last week pilloried John Galliano for dressing up as an ultra-Orthodox Jew at New York’s Fashion Week. To staunch the growing anger, Hikind called a press conference to (kind of) apologize this afternoon.

“In hindsight, I should have picked something else. It never crossed my mind for a split second that I was doing something wrong. It was as innocent as something can be,” later adding, “I understand people’s sensitivities. Nobody meant anything. It was not meant to offend you or hurt you in any fashion. I’m sorry people were offended. It was not meant that way.”

We’ll see how this apology goes down.

It’s Purim. People Dress Up. [Blogspot]
John Galliano Dresses Up as Ultra-Orthodox Jew in New York Fashion Week
[JTA]
Dov Hikind Is “Sorry People Were Offended” By His Blackface Purim Costume [NYDN]

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Good lord, look at that grinning jackass. Anthony Weiner looks dignified by comparison.

And to have Sheldon Silver, who is nothing but an ineradicable wall fungus in the Albany Statehouse weighing in on the matter just compounds the mortification factor.

Dov’s sole function is to shuttle as many tax dollars as possible to the ultra-Orthodox in Brooklyn, while helping said community evade as many zoning, tax, and other laws as possible. He’s just a wart on an already hulking embarrassment.

Doremus says:

“I’m sorry if people were offended” is not an apology. This isn’t surprising given his anti-Arab racism and his devotion to the late Meir Kahane

    Elliot T. says:

    Ummmmm…..the vast majority of Arabs would like nothing better than to slaughter every Jew in the most painful fashion. Look at the Arab on Arab violence in Syria, for example, and then imagine what would happen to every Jewish man, woman and child if an Arab army made it into Tel Aviv. Advocating protecting oneself from Arabs, who wholeheartedly proclaim their serious intention to murder all Jews, is not racism. It is rational, as Meir Kahane correctly pointed out.

      In 1988, the Israeli government banned Meir Kahane and his Kach party as “racist,” preventing him and them from taking part in the Knesset election that year.

      Wow, that’s an anti-semitic statement, Elliot (Arabs are semitic). To paint all Arabs as murderous is as bad as making statements against all Jews. In fact, many jews ARE Arabs and vice versa. This is why people are tiring of hearing about the Holocaust. When Jewish people spread hatred for, and call for the killing of, all Arabs and Muslims, people realize how violent and hateful they are, and lose sympathy for Judaism.

        Elliot T. says:

        OK, I’ll clarify it. Most Muslim Arabs would like to murder Jews. If you don’t think this is true you are sadly delusional.

        The Palestinians are always going to be a day late and a dollar short.
        They failed to do the one thing that would have gained them statehood, raising their own army to seize the West Bank back in 1947.

        Disparishun says:

        That’s right (except for the silly “anti-semitic = being against semites” canard — there is no such thing as a “Semitic Race”). And it’s too bad — when Jewish people spread hatred, one would think that non-racist people’s reaction would be to realize how hateful those people are, not to “lose sympathy for Judaism” by stereotyping or extrapolating from those people to an entire group.

        No point engaging people like this. The interesting question is, why does the NYC Democratic Party get a pass for making a place for Hikind? Hikind’s behavior surprised no one who knows his history.

        Look, I’m a Democrat… But when Republicans Trent Lott and George Allen get (deservedly) punished for racism while a Democrat gets his apologies accepted and people try to move on… Well, that’s hypocrisy, and it’s interesting. Hikind is a schmoe. That’s a non-story. The story here is about the Democratic party.

        stannadel says:

        David, it is an obnoxious and racist comment, but it isn’t Antisemitic. The fact that Arabs are Semitic is irrelevant because the term was invented in the mid 19th century to modernize (i.e. racialize) the ostensible rationale for hatring Jews and had nothing to do with Semitic peoples in general.

          Natan79 says:

          Can’t tech that to david. The man is an illiterate with an attitude, the worst kind.

        Natan79 says:

        Arabs are Jew-haters who say very openly they want to eliminate physically the Jewish people. Stop playing language games. And learn a bit of history. You would find that anti-Semitism is hatred agains Jews. You really are stupid, david. There is no excuse for an ignorance as deep as yours.

“I;m sorry you were offended” is not the same as “I was wrong and I’m sorry.”

Does the RSS feed link?

Elliot T. says:

Al Jolson based much of his career on performing in blackface, yet he was a voracious champion of the rights of black performers.

This Dov Hikind is an abject idiot for numerous reasons, but crucifying him on the altar of political correctness is also idiotic.

Tempest in a teapot over nothing.

    So was John Galliano dressed up the way he was also “a tempest in a teapot over nothing”? Were his critics, including Dov Hikind, “crucifying him on the altar of political correctness”? What’s the difference between wearing blackface and wearing Hasidic garb at a costume party?

      Disparishun says:

      Who is John Galliano?

        Hikind’s costume had a stereotypical, caricatured nature – ugly, nappy afro wig and of course, all a black person can be is a basketball player, right? When Walmart’s costume comes with a hooked nose and a sign that says “banker”, let us know.

          Disparishun says:

          Oh, I see — I thought the problem was the blackface, but you think it is something else. I guess the “afro wig” equivalent is the wig and curly sidelocks that come with Walmart’s costume. I guess the “all a black person can be is a basketball player” equivalent is “all Jews look like Hasids”. Now you know!

          Natan79 says:

          No shit, david, so dressing like a basketball player is offensive, but aas a hassid no? Go fuck yourself, and your heart that bleeds for anyone but Jews too!

      Natan79 says:

      John Galliano said he hated Jews. Did Hikind say he hated blacks, or are you just talking to hear yourself? If he did, show us how.

    Good. .Then when you see people starting to dress up as caricatures of Jews on Halloween, do not be offended. Remember it’s all in fun and political correctness is idiotic. The first costume up will be a Dov Hikind mask, complete with hooked nose and bag of money.

      Natan79 says:

      No, the first costume will be that of david, with a T-shirt having Che Guevara on one side and Patrick Buchanan praising Hitler on the other side. Or, for conciseness, a picture of Noam Chomsky, that one-man-synthesis of murderous hatred for Jews (since you, fuck-yourself-david, haven’t learnt what anti-Semitism is) and of Communism.

    Actually, it isn’t. It exposes the reality of political relationships. Hikind is a Democrat who endorses Democrats in local elections who have views and policy positions antithetical to Hikind’s.

    Just last night, Hikind suggested he may dress up as a gay person next year. Would, say, Brad Lander seek Hikind’s endorsement now like he did in 2009?

    http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2013/02/and-a-few-more-words-from-dov-hikind-on-that-whole-purim-blackface-costume-thi

    Hikind’s reaction is more telling than the costume.

    The Democratic party in NYC has a long history of trying to keep the political representatives of ultra-Orthodox Jews, who are clearly out of step with most NYC Democrats, within the fold. This incident exposes the dissonance. That’s the significance.

    Disparishun says:

    I think the cultural context around Al Jolson was different. The problem is that everyone jumps to condemn blackface, without first having the patience to explain to those who don’t know, why blackface is so wrong.

This is disgraceful. Hikind is a racist and homophobic but is quick to find anti-Semitism everywhere. As a Jewish person who learned about Purim as a kid and has celebrated it most recently as a teacher at a Jewish high school in Phoenix, I can tell you that I’ve never heard of anyone wearing blackface (at our school, some of the Jewish students were African-American) to celebrate the holiday. I would like to see people in the Orthodox Jewish community of Brooklyn say that this kind of action doesn’t represent them.

For the simple-minded, allow me to repeat this very basic dictum to consult when confused: It is ALWAYS–did you get that, ALWAYS–offensive for white-skinned people to wear blackface. Period. This is not “political correctness”, it is rather just CORRECT.

As for his “apology”, it was not one.

As a Jew, I embarrassed for him and for myself.

    Disparishun says:

    Understanding why blackface is incorrect is a degree of American cultural literacy that Dov Hikind lacks, and I’m afraid, so do many other Jews. What would be better would be for “as a Jews” to better explain why it is not correct, so that others will not do things that only embarrass them.

    Were you also offended by the Wayans brothers and their movie “A Couple of White Chicks?” If not, I ask you why not?

    Natan79 says:

    Whenever someone writes”. Period.” it is sure the person is a dogmatic nincompoop. No exception here.

Thank you for your comments and article, this explains a lot to me ,You know it is kind of funny when people don’t want to be called to task for something they have done, they always say ,it’s in the pass,leave it in the pass,or we don’t do that anymore it’s so old fashion.But people still worship a man that was killed years ago every Sunday and we have to protect ourselves from what happen years ago between 2 woman that father children by the same man.for some unknown reason to the general Jewish population in our valley . probable due to some one stupid comment or action.The once Great Temple Isaiah in Palm Springs Calif.Is due to become A Black Baptist or Pentecostal Church very very soon ,So Thank You Hollywood and Thank you New York. It took 40 year of sweat,prayers from a a lot of hard working Jews to build and only 13 years for their we want to be modern decedents to undo so much for walls of remembrance,I am crying mad What is wrong with people, How can our elders be so uninteligent,What goes around come around.. There was no save our Temple benefit no rally Nothing, just a slow cancer,Oh we are leasing a little space to them ,ya right Don’t know what they have on the Temple ,but it must be good to get a house of worship worth million for pennies on the dollar,I hear the tree branches braking and so do my grandchildren and they will remember the ones that took the Ax to the tree Temple Isaiah of Palm Springs once a place of Worship to some of the gratis legions of Hollywood and the world.So Thank you all for your kindness,G-D will hear the voices of the past may he Bless The ones that made this possible and may He Bless the one that are taking advantage of the decedent of Jew that wished they had not been born Jewish How els can this be explained?

sidney51 says:

This guy was, is and always will be a repugnant, contemptible shanda- a walking Hillul Hashem.

Does anyone remember the Wayans Brothers movie, “A Couple of White Chicks” in which they wore white make-up? My question is whether this is illegal or not? A teacher told me years ago that it was.

Assemblyman Hikind made two accurate comments. “I am intrigued that anyone who understands Purim—or for that matter understands me—would have a problem with this.” and “It never crossed my mind for a split second that I was doing something wrong.” This is Dov Hikind in a nutshell (emphasis on the nut). If you understand Hikind and know him, then you know he is a racist. It would never cross a mind like Hikind’s that dressing up as a stereotyped black person might be offensive. Hikind has played to his ultraorthodox constituancy in Boro Park Brooklyn for decades. That is all he cares about. He gets tax dollars for religious institutions. Democrats in the City have been embarrassed by him for years. But he keeps getting elected. Most of the people in his neighborhood do not read the mainstream press and will not even know this happened.

    Larry Linn says:

    Dov Hikind is obviously out of touch with many of his constituents.

sidney51 says:

He is a hillul Hashem.

disqus_kKlH5I6gDR says:

Ignorance, stupidity or arrogance? I like arrogance. It is difficult to believe that a 21st century politician would not be aware of how disturbing this conduct is. He claims he doesn’t have a prejudiced bone in his body. My guess is that he will next claim that some of his best friends are Black.

bo james says:

He should have known better. He wants sensitivity and understanding of Jewish culture and sensibilities. He needs to understand the sensibilities of African Americans. This was just plain DUMB.

Nice written up. Interesting episode to know about

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The Dov Hikind Purim Backlash Grows

The Brooklyn assemblyman kind of apologizes for wearing blackface

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