ASU Professor Examines History, Impact Of Blackface In New Book

By Katherine Davis-Young
Published: Friday, March 26, 2021 - 1:24pm

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Ayanna Thompson Blackface book
ASU, Bloomsbury
Ayanna Thompson, author of "Blackface."

The history of blackface, the behavior by which white people paint their faces and sometimes their bodies to imitate people of color, has a long and persistent history. Most recently, Sacha Baron Cohen used blackface to mock the history of it in his Oscar-nominated film “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.”

But employing blackface, even to criticize its use as in the Borat film, can open wounds in communities who are disproportionately affected by racism.

In a new book, Ayanna Thompson, regents professor of English at Arizona State University, explores the painful history of blackface.

The Show spoke with Thompson for more about the practice's history.

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