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Halloween's Three Black Maids Stir Racism Debate in Lebanon

The Instagram photograph of three Lebanese women dressed up as black maids. Blogger Joey Ayoub calls out racism

The Instagram photograph of three Lebanese women dressed up as black maids. Blogger Joey Ayoub calls out racism

For Halloween, people don different costumes. Lebanese blogger Joey Ayoub stumbled upon revelers, who decided to dress up as black maids.
Ayoub calls out their racism in a post on his blog Hummus for Thought saying:

Three very sophisticated Lebanese women clearly thought this was an appropriate costume for Halloween. After all why not? Why not dress up as black maids? It’s not like trying to dress up as Lebanon’s quasi-slaves can’t have some entertainment value. ‘Heik heik’ [Eitherway] they’re already degraded to the level of sub-human, why not at least get a laugh?

The blogger tries to find a reason for this behaviour:

I’m just trying to figure out what could have possibly gone through their minds, but I can’t seem to find anything remotely sensible.

[...]

Dehumanizing, disgraceful and just pathetic. The good news is that Filipinos didn’t seem to be the main target here. But I guess they had some black makeup around and simply had to use it, so Ethiopians and Sri Lankans were the lucky winners. I don’t know which nationality was the target here, but anyway our racists use “Sirlankyyeh” (literally: Sri Lankan woman) for all female migrant workers – No, I’m not kidding.

For good measure, Ayoub adds:

Now I know that it’s very likely that at least one person reading this would know who these three women are. I don’t want their names. I don’t really care. Just let them know that their faces have now gone viral.

In comments on the post, Nathalie Derderian writes:

This is a shame!! Its not enough that these people put up with workin nonstop for a salary that is meaningless, its not enough how much they go thru away from their families. But this is pity!! a shame !!! that 3 young girls could be soo emotionless about them! these are people too!

Tamam Tawk adds:

You should note that the use of black makeup or black face is steeped in racism. It dates back to when white people would put on black face and act out .. incredibly racist and offensive stereotypes. So this is racism compounded with racism. These people make me sick.

And Bassem Deaibess concludes:

It is RACISM when you consider it COMMON that maids are always Black.

But nicocohayek has another opinion. He explains:

I can’t really find what’s the big deal, and i never support racism acts especially in our country, but what they did is nothing of the sort! What if someone showed up as Michael Jordan or Barack Obama? Would you have the same reaction? They’re both as real as you and me; but one is a more common sighting in lebanon.

  • Yoo Eun

    I’ve seen similar scenes taking place in many part of Asia quite frequently– people do blackface makeup without further thinking, realizing there is a racist element in it and many times no harm intended. Though there is nothing to be proud of being ignorant.

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