Tyler Bozak goes blackface

Cam Charron
October 30 2012 09:45PM

Image via @wraparoundcurl 

Nobody's perfect, but I figured I'd leave this image up. Tyler Bozak tweeted out the picture, then deleted, but it was caught by a Leafs fan who posted it on Tumblr. Not too much to write, considering Thomas Drance at Canucks Army wrote the necessary words last year:

Here's the point to me: blackface halloween costumes are racist at worst, and woefully ignorant at best. They're in indefensible poor taste and any smart person knows it. There's context here though, hockey players and the world they inhabit isn't always enlightened. Just based on Bissonette's usually excellent twitter account you can infer some borderline medieval attitudes towards topics like in-game toughness, and women. Up until tonight I wouldn't have included "ethnic minorities"(*) on that list, but the fact that one of the most "with-it" NHLers wasn't wise to the shit-storm that would ensue when he tweeted out a photo of a teammate in blackface is baffling, revealing and sad. 

Those words will live on in infamy across this network. There's no article here, it's been written already. Keep the comments clean.

Meanwhile, i'm reminded that Bozak and Darryl Boyce have done something like this. I can't find an image, but two halloweens ago, they dressed up as the Jamaican bobsled team from Cool Runnings, according to this Tumblr post and a few people from Twitter.

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Cam Charron is a BC hockey fan that writes about hockey on many different websites including this one.
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#1 Shane
October 31 2012, 12:54AM
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I think racism is still alive because society keeps it alive. Sure, there is outright hate for some races which is totally and absolutely wrong. But we keep pointing out the differences in races instead of embracing what makes everyone similar.

My point is, if a black guy dressed up as a black guy, this is a non-issue. A white guy did it and somehow it's racist. Screw black, screw white! A human being dressed up as another human being. Why can't we just leave it at that?

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#2 neputns
October 31 2012, 07:21AM
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Shane wrote:

I think racism is still alive because society keeps it alive. Sure, there is outright hate for some races which is totally and absolutely wrong. But we keep pointing out the differences in races instead of embracing what makes everyone similar.

My point is, if a black guy dressed up as a black guy, this is a non-issue. A white guy did it and somehow it's racist. Screw black, screw white! A human being dressed up as another human being. Why can't we just leave it at that?

I couldn't agree with you more. I strongly doubt that it would be considered racist if someone with dark skin dressed up as someone with white skin.

Why do we always have to point out the color of the skin? Isn't THAT racist in the first place?

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#3 t_vo
October 31 2012, 10:34AM
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Don't agree with any of this being "racist". He's dressing up as Michael Jackson. That's it. He used makeup, "not blackface", to look more like M J. No one was in an uproar when Eddie Murphy or Dave Chappelle wore "make-up" to get into character. Just more media trying to create an "uproar" that doesn't exist. Don't believe everything the media prints. A lot of the time it's just to manipulate public opinion. (Greenday's American Idiot comes to mind).

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#4 Matt
October 31 2012, 04:48PM
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I agree with the first couple comments on this post.

I was talking to my friend about this today and she took offense to it being labelled as racist. To her - calling stuff like this racist only perpetuates racism.

Listen.. my british Grandfather was killed in WWII and I married a German girl. Times change.. and focusing on hate only begets hate.

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#5 Cameron
October 31 2012, 07:54AM
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I agree with the above comments. I don't think anyone believes Tyler bozak is racist. The media helps it look that way unfortunately.

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#6 Steve
October 31 2012, 07:58AM
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Ho boy.. People today really have no idea what blackface actually is, do they? Blackface is a white person using makeup to basically create a caricature of a black person FOR THE PURPOSE OF RIDICULE. Neither what Bozak or Torres did was racist or even real blackface. The only stupid thing he did was post it to twitter for all the internet white knights who get their jollies off outrage to see.

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#7 StarkRavingMaple
October 31 2012, 08:06AM
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It's not that he chose to be Michael Jackson for Halloween. That's NOT the problem. The problem is that he chose to use blackface to do it. There are looooooonnnggg associations with blackface as a negative thing, a thing that tokenizes, a thing that's associated with slavery and hate. It's an open mockery. I don't think that he intended offence; I think, like a 2yr old that hears the f-word at the rink and starts using it at home, he just didn't know any better.

As for people of colour dressing up as "white people", it's not technically considered racism if it's against the group in power. And, as much as I'd love to say we've come a long way towards equality for all, white people are still in power and still oppressing - whether they know it or not. Racism is entrenched in a lot of sneaky places. Or wide open spaces like rinks is Czech Republic.

I wish it was as easy as saying we should all be colour-blind, and it is a sort of step in the right direction. But to say, I don't see the colour of your skin is to co-opt another person as 'white" using "white" as the standard for "normal", which is to say that I don't see all the things that contribute to who you are or the experiences you've had as a person of colour. It's saying that you no longer accept that racism exists and have stopped trying to get rid of it. That's the part that isn't cool.

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#8 Blackface?
October 31 2012, 10:10AM
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I think context matters here. What I see in this image is someone being Michael Jackson for Hallowe'en. I believe this is different from the concept of blackface performers. Simply put, how can one be MJ for Halloween and be white skinned (ironic)? MJ was not Caucasian...at least to most of us.

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#9 jeff
October 31 2012, 03:56PM
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@Cameron

I feel for Tyler Bozak. Gary Bettman has denied him the opportunity to pretend he is a numder one centre in the NHL so he panicked and made a very poor decision on a secondary costume.

It is sad that Bozak would choose this costume and even more sad that Brian Burke considers him a number one centre. He couldn''t be the number one centre on most farm teams.

One word to describe Tyler Bozak; irrelevant.

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