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Former Barcelona star posed with two people in blackface


Andres Iniesta blackface photo: Former Barcelona midfielder apologises for controversial Three Kings Day image |

Andres Iniesta has apologised after a social media photo of his family celebrating the Spanish holiday of Three Kings Day included two people in blackface.

The 34-year-old, who plays for Japanese club Vissel Kobe, took to his various social media channels on Sunday to share the image, which showed his family with six people appearing to be dressed as biblical characters.

In Spain, it is traditional for parades around this time of year to feature men dressed as the three kings, who - according to the Christian Bible - are said to have brought gifts to the baby Jesus.

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Blackface is wrong - it always has been, and it always will be

By Daniel J. McLaughlin

It goes without saying, of course, that blackface is wrong. It has always been wrong, and it will always be wrong. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow - nothing will stop blackface being repugnant and morally wrong.

While its origins can be traced back to the days of transatlantic slavery, blackface exploded as a form of racist entertainment from and for white people in the mid to late 19th century. It was used it what was called minstrel shows.

The Conversation explains that minstrelsy depended on, and produced, stereotypical portrayals of black people. For instance, burnt cork or shoe polish was used to cover the face, leaving wide areas around the mouth that would either be left unpainted, or painted in red or white, to give the appearance of oversized lips.

"Overall, the makeup was a deliberate attempt to disdainfully represent black people as outlandish," they write, "Once in blackface, minstrels would used exaggerated accents, malapropisms, awkward movements and garish attire to further ridicule black people."

They were not flattering representations whatsoever, Vox adds. "Taking place against the backdrop of a society that systematically mistreated and dehumanised black people, they were mocking portrayals that reinforced the idea that African-Americans were inferior in every way," they argue.

In a 2012 essay 'Just Say No to Blackface: Neo-Minstrelsy and the Power to Dehumanize' for the Huffington Post, Dr David J. Leonard argues that blackface is never a neutral form of entertainment, and "there is no acceptable reason to every done blackface". It isn't a joke, it isn't funny - it comes from a position of privilege and power.

"Blackface is part of a history of dehumanisation, of denied citizenship, and of efforts to excuse and justify state violence. From lynchings to mass incarceration, whites have utilised blackface (and the resulting dehumanisation) as part of its moral and legal justification for violence," Dr Leonard writes.

He adds: "[Blackface is] an incredibly site for the production of damaging stereotypes - the same stereotypes that undergird individual and state violence, American racism, and a centuries worth of injustice."

Blackface is not a harmless form of entertainment, and people are not too sensitive to react against the racist stereotypes. It is wrong - always has been, and always will be. Unfortunately, there are some who still need to receive the memo.

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Andres Iniesta: Former Barcelona midfielder criticised for posing with two people in blackface

Former Barcelona and Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta has been criticised after posting a photograph of himself with two people in blackface as part of Epiphany celebrations in Spain.

Iniesta, 34, posed with his wife, two of his children and a group dressed in costumes related to Three Kings Day.

Two of the group are painted black - the role of Balthazar is often played by a white man in blackface in Spain.

Iniesta, who plays for Vissel Kobe in Japan, has not responded to criticism.

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