Brief thoughts on Chester Missing

9 Aug

It feels like 5 years ago that I promised @ling83 that I would write down my  thoughts on the puppet.

It is probably best to start with blackface. I think those calling Chester Missing blackface confuse form and substance for the sake of outrage whilst indulging in oversimplification.

The real problem with Chester is the appropriation of Coloured identity for the benefit of a non-Coloured individual. The puppet also reinforces a widely held stereotype of Coloureds as jokers. Always cracking a joke unless of course they are gangsters. The other favourite national stereotype.

The harm of Chester is similar to that of cultural appropriation. One of the foremost representations of the Coloured community in our nation is White. That is a sad oddity by any lens.

I appreciate Chester’s stance on Steve Hofmeyr and other whiteness oozing individuals. The satire is superb and mostly lacks the racism of the nationally approved satirists like Zapiro.

I am not calling for the culling of Chester Missing but it is actually not my call. That decision belongs to the affected community.

PS: Another concern is that those yelling blackface are not particularly concerned about which community is most affected. That in part seems to confirm the Coloured lament of being sidelined. Even when they are most affected, the issue is predominantly framed in terms of the Black community.

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