November 11, 2007

The NarcoSphere || ICE's Julie Myers is latest actor in Great American Minstrel Show

I tend to read the same things for a time... a dog returns to his own vomit..., forgive me. Recently it has been the Narcosphere for some reason.

But where else would I have read the news that the genius atop of the Customs Enforcement bureaucracy picked a blackface routine. Even my students in Korea thought to you know, like, ask if a racially insane Halloween costume was a good idea.

The Clintonian idea that it depends on the definition of "blackface" is. Really she was bronzed faced. That means she was George Hamilton-faced.

The NarcoSphere || ICE's Julie Myers is latest actor in Great American Minstrel Show:
Julie Myers, who heads Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), unmasked her true character recently at a Halloween party she hosted on behalf of a charity.

The event was meant to raise money for the Combined Federal Campaign, which is a federal government charity effort similar to the United Way campaign. But Myers must have deemed it an appropriate event to also raise awareness of her affinity for the bygone era of Minstrel shows.

Myers, the leader of a federal law enforcement agency that has some 15,000 employees, was part of a three-member panel at the Halloween event that was assigned the holiday task of doling out awards for the best costumes. Some 50 to 75 people were at the Halloween gala, according to press reports, so the competition was fierce.

But apparently, in Myer’s mind, one of the winners was a clear-cut choice. That individual played off the law enforcement theme of the gathering by donning a striped prison outfit as a costume. His originality was only outdone by his creativity. In a clever allusion to the century’s old history of slavery and its more recent Jim Crow cousin, the ICE employee also sported a dreadlock wig and blackface.

Myer’s was so overwhelmed with the sheer brilliance of this individual’s attire that she and two other individuals on the judging panel selected this white employee’s Halloween getup for the most original costume award. Caught up in the excitement of the moment, Myers also sought to memorialize the moment by posing for a photo shoot with the blackfaced reveler.

But there’s always some party bore who wants to spoil the moment. As a result, when word of this individual’s honor spread, some ICE employees complained because they found his costume to be “offensive.” Who could have guessed?

But Myers and ICE, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), reacted quickly, destroying all of the photos (or evidence) of the winning entry and quickly issued an apology to all the usual groups, including the National Association of African-Americans in the Department of Homeland Security, and to House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.

Myers’ apology did include a caveat, however, which was communicated to the press through an ICE flak who claimed that technically the ICE employee was not wearing blackface, but rather only a “skin bronzer.” The ICE spin manager also claimed that Myers did not realize the costume-award winner was gobbed up in make-up until after the event, when some ICE employees complained.

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