It seems this joke fell on deaf ears. New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind recently wore blackface makeup, an Afro wig, and a basketball jersey to a party he held at his home for the Jewish holiday of Purim.
The New York Observer's Politicker reports Hikind, who represents much of Brooklyn's Orthodox Jewish community, hired a professional makeup artist to dress him as a "basketball player" for the holiday festivities. Hikind, said it's normal for celebrants of Purim - a festive Jewish holiday marking the salvation of the Jewish people from a massacre at the hands of Haman, an adviser to a Persian king - to look "strange, wild, crazy."
Hikind, a conservative Democrat who endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012, elaborated a blog post, "It's Purim. People Dress Up".
"Yes, I wore a costume on Purim and hosted a party. Most of the people who attended also wore costumes. Everywhere that Purim was being celebrated, people wore costumes. It was Purim. People dress up."
Hikind continued, "I am intrigued that anyone who understands Purim - or for that matter understands me - would have a problem with this. This is political correctness to the absurd. There is not a prejudiced bone in my body."
But that explanation doesn't fly with many people. Tweeted Nick Rizzon of Brooklyn (@nickrizzo), "Blackface is never a good idea, especially if you're an elected official... Will Hikind's district care, though?"
MSNBC host Chris Hayes was harsher. "By the way, in addition to this blackface episode Dov Hikind has atrocious views on a wide variety of topics. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dov_Hikind," Hayes (@chrislhayes) tweeted.
Via Politicker and http://dovhikind.blogspot.com/.