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Assemb. Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) went with a um... uh...cross-racial costume for Purim, and the photo and an account of it, with Hikind's explanation is posted here.
The story is now gaining more widespread attention. In a CBS/New York report, Hikind said it "never crossed my mind" that the costume would be offensive.
Hikind then posted a statement on his own blog. He said, in part, he's intrigued why anyone "would have a problem with this."
Well, it seems many do have a problem with it. For one, the head of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, Assemb. Karim Camara (D-Brooklyn), said he was "deeply shocked and outraged" by the incident.
"In speaking with many African Americans both leaders and average citizens, the outrage is widespread," Camara said. He went on to compare Hikind's costume to "deeply painful" blackface minstrel shows of days gone by.
As noted here, Hikind just a month earlier criticized someone for dressing as a Hasid with a long jacket and curly sidelocks.
Also, Sal Abanese, NYC mayoral candidate, issued this statement:
"I strongly condemn Assemblyman Hikind's tasteless attempt at humor and suggest my opponents stop begging for his endorsement. In a city as diverse as New York, there's no place for this kind of behavior, especially from an elected official.
Given the history of black face, Dov should know better."