New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Brooklyn Democrat, has apologized after donning blackface as part of a Purim party over the weekend — and receiving some harsh criticism for the choice.
Dov Hikind’s blackface costume was part of the Purim tradition of costuming, but the actual outfit he wore wound up causing some offense due to the generally shunned once-common practice of blackface on white people.
As we reported earlier, Hikind’s blackface Purim gag was one that sparked some controversy — and the politician has addressed the issue today as images of the costume circulated the web.
In that post, The Inquisitr quoted Dov Hikind as explaining the Purim blackface thusly:
“It never crossed my mind for a second that the costume could be interpreted as offensive. If I was black, on Purim I would have made my face look like I was white.”
Via Gawker, a New York Daily News post quotes Hikind as he elaborates on the blackface brouhaha, and the lawmaker explains that his intentions were innocent:
“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 … People in the community were dressed up as Arabs. What was that about?”
“My wife was dressed as the devil. And she’s not a devil. It was to look different on Purim without deep intentions. I just wanted to look different and unrecognizable … 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.”
After Dov Hikind’s blackface garb ruffled feathers, Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, addressed the issue in a statement. Foxman said:
“Assemblyman Dov Hikind showed terrible judgment in attending a Purim party in blackface. If blacks got dressed up as Hasidim, it would be seen as equally inappropriate … There are so many myriad costumes available to Jewish kids and adults during Purim, but putting on blackface should not be one of them. This is especially true for a politician living in an environment where ridicule and prejudice of African-Americans has a long and sad history.”
Following the blackface kerfuffle, Hikind’s son removed the offending images from Facebook.