Watch This: CCTV Blackface Performance for Children’s Day 2012

blackface childrens festival brother good african marabou stock racism

To begin, by official standards: China is a harmonious place. People in China live in fraternity and mutual respect as people all reap the gains of a prosperous society. As such, there is no racism. Officially.

As that is given to be true, this following performance involving “blackface” at the 2012 International Children’s Day Celebration is not racist. Broadcast on the flagship CCTV-1 station on June 1, 2012, the title and theme of the show was “Happy Like a Flower”; dutifully portraying “the future” with practiced smiles were said children of such flowery euphoria. In a reverse variant of blackface. Watch:

Yes, that happened, and it was broadcast to millions of viewers, and it wasn’t meant to dredge up any reference to blackface; there is no blackface in China because there is officially no racism. Just ask a black person, if you can find one.

For any alarmists out there, you should be aware that CCTV has a sense of decorum; good taste is what separates a class act like this show compared to white people exhibiting a lack of judgment by going in blackface for their Hallowe’en costume. It’s this good taste that does the reverse variant of only darkening the girls’ bodies, but not their faces; we can only presume that darkening their faces would be going to far — hey, these girls are supposed to be cute, after all.

See, it’s just a black man singing on stage accompanied by young girl dancers that have their skin artificially darkened and are wearing primitive clothes including grass dresses. As there is no racism in China, there is to be no offense taken from this “reverse blackface” nor from the actual content of the song that African singer Hao Ge is singing:

Song of Praise for the Ugly Bird
- In Remembrance of the Marabou Stork

Although I am ugly,
I am still very gentle
I get along with my good companions
we are all good friends

Although I am ugly,
I am still very smart and quick-witted
pick up garbage
protect the environment
not afraid to work arduously and tirelessly

Although I am ugly,
duty remains at the forefront of my thoughts
As I stand at my post on guard,
I will not rest
and so my companions can all be free from worry

Although I am ugly,
I still have a righteous heart
I will oppose the big bullying the small
the strong upon the weak
and so the world will become equal

Any Chinese wouldn’t find this racist because racism has been abolished in China (Good job!). It’s clear that Hao Ge (a synonym for “Good Brother”, as it were) isn’t trying to emphasize the fact that he’s the one person that looks different from the other people on stage by singing about it; rather, Hao Ge is singing an homage to the Marabou stork, a repulsive scavenger bird that has been given the nickname “the Undertaker” that can be seen on the slide show displayed in the background. The video is lacking the introduction to this song, but the Baidu Encyclopedia entry upon the 2012 International Children’s Festival helps fill us in:

The bright sing-along lyrics of this song praises the rallying of friendship, peaceful co-existence of societies, responsible diplomacy as well as the pursuit of a harmonious world. The song advocates a optimistic view with the spirit willing to devote to it.

So, totally about the Marabou stork – you can’t have long legs like that a not be a sentry, and you can’t stand guard unless it’s for nationalistic purposes. If we didn’t have rules like these, it wouldn’t be an empire, would it?

blackface childrens festival brother good african marabou stock racism
Pictured: Ebony and ivory, living together in perfect harmony

Yes, it was a great night for the celebration of children, but an even better one in honor of China. The China Art Report called Hao Ge’s performance “a refreshing change for the audience”, but one would expect nothing less than Hao Ge.

If any and all your concerns as to whether or not this constitutes racism is dissuaded by the official line that racism doesn’t exist in China, you may still have lingering reservations about the man at the center of this issue. If Chinese aren’t aware that this constitutes racism (because this takes place in China), doesn’t this Hao Ge know what he’s doing? Isn’t Hao Ge aware of the denigrating position he is adopting by singing about how ugly he is while surrounded by young dancing girls in “reverse blackface”?

We’ve said it before on Sinopathic: “Foreigners learn Chinese to come to Chinese to become television stars; Chinese learn English to go abroad to become waiters.” And yet this may not be strict enough, because there is an additional caveat: foreigners coming to China to make their living must be prepared to properly panda-pander. To fully supplicate themselves to the superiority of China. To put the interests of China fully before their own country.

Hao Ge knows this well enough. Before he was advocating international peaceful co-existence by singing about the Marabou stock, his brother Hao Di was paying his dues to the Chinese people. “Brother Good the Younger” had made a video in which he sang the Communist propaganda song “The Words of Chairman Mao are Memorized by Heart” while wearing Communist clothing, having a Chinese flag and a picture of Chairman Mao hanging on the wall behind him. Wielding a “red book” is just to let you know that he’s, in fact, serious; 2.9 million viewers to the video all know this.

Yes, there is no racism here. There is no blackface, reverse or otherwise. There is no prejudicial thinking that marginalizes minorities in China.

There is only prosperity, and the mandatory conditions required for it.

[Video screen caps from sina video]

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