A UK Footballer has come under fire in the last 24 hours after dressing up in blackface for an anti-racism campaign’s costume dinner party. Toni Duggan, a striker for Manchester City, decided to attend the party for the UK’s Kick It Out campaign as Whoopi Goldberg from Sister Act.
The stunt was similar to Julianne Hough's brainfart this past Halloween when she dressed in blackface and an orange jumpsuit in what she called an homage to Orange Is The New Black’s Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren.
Photos of Duggan posing at the party were posted to her Instagram account, and then removed after she “...must have quickly realised her error of judgment.” as quoted from Yahoo! Sport. What I don’t understand is why there was any “error of judgment” in the first place. It seems to be beyond common sense to not dress in blackface, even if a person doesn’t understand or isn’t cognizant of the connotations and historical consequences that blackface has had on the representative image and oppression of Africans and African Americans. I don’t understand how something like this can be continually apologized for as an “error of judgment.”
That term is only applicable to things like putting ketchup in your mac and cheese and forgetting to wear a scarf when there’s a windchill of -10 degrees, but it is NOT applicable to wearing someone’s identity as a costume that you get to take off at the end of the day without having to live under the oppressive forces that accompany being a POC. There is no such thing as “oops” here. Furthermore, Duggan was photographed with her teammates, and I have to wonder if any of them took a look at her costume before they showed up to the party and said “Are you sure you want to do something incredibly racist as we attend a party for a national anti-racism campaign?” I’m not blaming her teammates or management, because I have no idea what the circumstances were, or if Duggan even told anyone what she was wearing before she showed up to the party. But I do blame her teammates for being an accessory to her racism, because their “error of judgment” was deciding to be enthusiastically photographed with her while she was dressed in blackface. Gross, gross, gross.
Duggan has since apologized for the incident, as reported in The Mirror:
"I am very sorry for my actions and for any offence I may have caused. I would like to apologise wholeheartedly to England, my club and anyone else that I may have offended. I am proud to be a Next 20 ambassador for Kick It Out and take this role very seriously for an organisation that does such good work."
There is no word yet on whether Duggan will continue to serve as an ambassador for the campaign, but a spokesperson for Manchester City said that the situation would be handled privately.
Images via Instagram and E!Online.