Photos of children in blackface posted on social media spark outrage in Lakewood
Photos of children in blackface are sparking some controversy and anger among community leaders in Ocean County.
The photos were taken during the Jewish holiday of Purim last week, where members of the Jewish community traditionally dress up in costume.
The photos from Lakewood began circulating over social media last weekend and were quickly condemned by Jewish leaders and the president of the Ocean County chapter of the NAACP.
One of the photos shows two children with their faces painted black wearing colorful West African-style printed clothing. A second photo taken from the back shows two other children wearing dark makeup with Afro wigs and sweatshirts with “Black Lives Matter” written on the back.
Lakewood Public School attorney and community leader Michael Inzelbuch says that the blame lies on the parents.
“Poor taste. Actually sick…If I were a betting man, those little kids didn’t know what they were doing,” Inzelbuch says. “Their parents may have saw something Black Lives Matter. It was wrong. It was offensive.”
Ocean County NAACP chapter President Fred Rush says that he actually saw the children dressed up like that.
“I would never say anything to the kids. You can go and say something, stuff that’s wrong. It’s the parents’ job. The adults,” he says. “What’s the lesson here, the message here, the big picture here? Respect. That’s it. Respect. You respect us, we respect you. Teach your kids. That’s it."
Lakewood Vaad – a council of Orthodox Jewish leaders – also condemned the photos, saying in a statement that dressing in blackface is particularly inappropriate and offensive and should never be done.
Inzelbuch says that he is planning a workshop to discuss the incident and draw light on the offensiveness of the costumes seen in the photos.