A Letter From the Black Lives Matter Movement


Kenneth Montano

A letter from a proud member of the Black community that is meant for people who are willing to listen to better their knowledge. To all who wish to learn more about aspects of the BLM movement. 

The term “whitewashing” was originally used in the 1990’s to describe the systemic racist act of glossing over Blacks in history and in Hollywood. Today the term is used in reference to creating Black character’s in movies, advertising and other genre and giving the character white traits. Then the highlighted part comes in to this paragraph.

Recently, this term gave birth to a new expression, “Blackwashing.” This term is used when a person who are white are given black characteristics such as curly hair or a bigger nose. Despite what you may infer, this is not racist like its counterpart whitewashing. While whitewashing was used to conceal cultures, Blackwashing was used to reveal them.

Twitter user @kianamaiart recently sparked controversy by Blackwashing characters from the Super Mario franchise. The characters that were Blackwashed were Peach, Daisy and Rosalina. These characters are the princesses in this infamous video game that all have a white skin tone. Despite this game being played all around the world, ethnic girls won’t be able to find a princess who looks like them. Sadly, this does not stop in the video game world it follows suite through the film industry.

Tiana is the only Black Disney princess in Disney’s line-up of princesses. As someone who is from Louisiana, I am blessed that I fit the small number of individuals who can connect with her, but she only represents a single form of black culture. So African Americans who were born and raised in African culture can’t relate to her, nor most Black people. Despite these setbacks we are seeing an increase of representation in some areas of the media like sports announcers.

 There was an astonishing support of the Black Panther movie and what Chadwick Boseman represents. This is an amazing leap for African Americans (people who were born into the African culture that can identify as Black), but it was heartbreaking to see Black people (Black people born and raised in America who are not necessarily African and cannot identify as African American) who have no insight on that culture of Africa.  It left American Blacks projecting themselves into Black Panther because they have no other characters to see themselves in. With the recent death of Boseman, Hollywood is one less actor of color in a society that desperately needs representation.

 Now we are lucky enough to have Miles Morales, whose phenomenal movie “Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse” gave us insight into a Black life in a modern setting. This gives Black people who were born into modern civilization and a nuclear family dynamic representation, and it was a great way to show black people just being people.

 This is the first of a series of articles I plan to write for people who are willing to read and want to understand more about the frustration of being black.  KM