A third of Americans think it’s OK to wear blackface

Comedian Eddie Cantor is shown in blackface as his character from the Broadway musical "Banjo Eyes"

A third of Americans think it can be OK for a white person to wear makeup to appear black, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

The poll—mostly conducted before Virginia governor Ralph Northam admitted he wore blackface decades ago—asked respondents whether it was acceptable to wear blackface as part of a Halloween costume. (Virginia attorney general Mark Herring has also acknowledged he once wore blackface in college.)

Whites and blackface

Whites were more than three times more likely than blacks to consider blackface appropriate at any time. Hispanics fell somewhere in the middle.

Among whites, those without a college degree were more likely to accept blackface than their college-educated peers: 44% vs. 28%, according to the poll.

Republicans and blackface

Republicans, too, were three times more likely than Democrats to approve of wearing blackface.

A dying trend?

The poll shows that younger people are less approving of blackface than their parents and grandparents, though about a quarter still think it’s fine. The number suggests blackface could be on its way out.





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