I love your blog and have been a sporadic reader for over 3 years. However, I must take issue with this highly misguided claim. I do understand your point, and why you chose to make it in this way; but it's just so problematic.
1) It's wrong.
EVERY. SINGLE. HALLOWEEN. (and even in between Halloweens) There's some story of some morons dressing up in blackface and thinking it's cool. In one university incident from just earlier this year, the guys in blackface actually won a costume contest (showing that everyone at the party thought it was acceptable & not just the morons in the racist costumes). And about Asians? Well, the "Sexy Geisha/Chinadoll" costume trend that just WILL. NOT. DIE. begs to differ. Not to mention, the appropriation that is inherent in "Oriental" style clothes, which first gained popularity during the height of US "involvement" in SE Asia.
2) There is a flaw in your logic.
Dressing up as an Indian, Black, or Asian person is racist. But, obviously, given my examples above, it's not to the exclusion of other races. That definition leaves a lot of room for hipster racists to claim that they're not racist because they "pick on all races equally." Personally, I would contend that it's not so much the "picking on one race to the exclusion of others" so much as the institutionalized power differential that's the root of racism.
In conclusion, I don't take issue with the fact that you may not know very much about how racism manifests itself to the Black or Asian communities because we each have our areas of focus; and we can't possibly know everything about everything. However, I would venture to say that if you are not, in fact, very familiar with these other communities, perhaps using the "Oppression Olympics" as a rhetorical device to make your point is (in addition to being factually incorrect) insensitive and counterproductive.
I feel that this post ("One Woman's Costume Is Another Woman's Nightmare") at Change.org does a much better job at focusing on the horrific legacy of violence against Native women while also acknowledging how it parallels the struggles of many other women of color.
Did you see my Kathy Griffin posting on Racialicious, Liriel? Did you notice that I contribute several articles to that site each week? Rest assured that I saw the Change.org article. I read articles on non-Native racial issues every day and am reasonably well-informed on them.
I wasn't talking about Halloween, which I'm sure is a perennial problem for every minority. Or college frat parties, which generally aren't intended for public consumption. I was talking about public displays of "colorface" like Kathy Griffin's. On TV shows or stage shows, at concerts or parties, at rallies or parades, etc.
I know about Rosie O'Donnell and Miley Cyrus mocking Asians. And no doubt celebrities and others dress up in fashions inspired by geishas or China dolls. But dressing up in blackface? I must've missed all the times where people pretended to be black in public (not in private parties). Feel free to shed light on this subject for us.
Rob is "wrong"?!
I've must've said that prejudice against Indians is one of America's last forms of socially acceptable racism hundreds of times. As evidence, I point to the tens of thousands of mascots, logos, and products featuring Indians as primitive people of the past. So don't think this is some unfortunate misstep in my otherwise impeccable record. <g> It isn't.
I'm not trying to win the Oppression Olympics. It's obvious racism continues against every ethnic group, and probably in proportion to its population. Latinos are America's largest minority, so I imagine they endure the most racism and stereotyping overall.
But Kathy Griffin is an example of something specific. Namely, an outdated stereotype of the past persisting in the present. Do you really think Uncle Toms and mammies, or coolies and geishas, are as common as Indian chiefs and warriors and princesses?
In this particular case, I'm pretty sure I'm right. I suspect outdated Indian images outnumber outdated images of other minorities, and I suspect it's not even close. So until you prove me wrong, I'm not "wrong."
Blackface as common as redface?
No one can say they're immune from criticism because someone, somewhere, is dressing up as a black, Latino, Asian, or Indian stereotype. The question is how often these things occur and how socially acceptable they are. I haven't seen Kathy Griffin, Rachel Zoe, Paris Hilton, Khloe Kardashian, Kesha, et al. dressing up as other minorities recently. Have you?
For every blackface frat party you could find, I probably could find a redface frat party. Plus a sporting event, a Thanksgiving pageant, a Indian Guide type of group, a Broadway play, a parade, a comedy skit, a TV commercial, and on and on. Where are the black or Asian equivalents of these? Go ahead and list them so we're on the same page.
In the last week we've heard about these events:
"Firewater Friday" at University of Washington
"The Squaw's Appeal" in Belle magazine
Miami fan in headdress thrown out
Where was the example of blackface at a major sporting event or on a mainstream magazine cover? Until you show us the evidence...no, my logic isn't flawed. Dressing up in blackface or yellowface is a niche activity conducted primarily by young hipsters. In contrast, dressing up in redface--as an Indian chief or warrior--is totally mainstream. Go to a sporting event with an Indian mascot and you may see dozens of people of every type pretending to be Indians.
Gold medal isn't goal
Nevertheless, I didn't make my comment about blacks and Asians to win the "Oppression Olympics." It was my attempt to raise awareness of the little-known problems facing Indians. To put them on the same footing as the better-known problems facing blacks and other minorities. I.e., "if you think blacks have it bad, check out what Indians have to endure."
For that reason...yes, I occasionally use comparisons as a rhetorical device. But my goal is to end racism and stereotyping against everyone. I'm merely using Indians as example--a prism through which to examine America's cultural mindset.
I'm not saying Indians should "win," I'm saying the problem is worse than most people realize. Americans have become somewhat sensitive to racism against blacks, but they're still insensitive to other forms of bigotry. Which is why I sometimes address issues such as illegal immigration, gay marriage, and the "Ground Zero mosque." As I've said before, I think all bigotries are similar.
I didn't devote several postings to Islamophobia recently because I think Muslims have it worst. I did it because their problems echo the problems of other US minorities. What one minority faces illuminates what every minority faces.
For more on the subject, see Stereotyping Is Irrational but Normal? and Why Minstrel Shows Are Wrong.
Below: Two images of 19th-century minorities. What's the key difference? One image actually is from the 19th century, while the other is from the 21st century.