Apparently, wanting to draw toxins out of your skin using a charcoal mask is actually pretty problematic — because the masks resemble blackface and are therefore “racist.”
Accusations of the beauty product being racially insensitive hit Twitter after Twitter user Nicole Paula Oliver tweeted about it last week:
Racism is do insidious that you can promote blackface for years under the guise of “pore mask” and it goes unchecked. #blacklivesmatter #staywoke #BIORE #poremask #blackface pic.twitter.com/fC8TYUtw5L
— Nicole Paula Oliver (@nicole_p_oliver) February 11, 2019
As crazy as Oliver’s assertion may sound, there were actually others who agreed with her point:
Did you guys know that white women can wear blackface if they call it a charcoal face mask ???
— Neel Nanda (@neelnanda) January 10, 2019
white women love self care and doing casual black face with charcoal face masks
— Ali Macofsky (@notalimac) July 24, 2018
Thankfully, there were also a lot of people who replied to Oliver’s original tweet, saying that her point of view was utterly ridiculous. This is, no doubt, a good thing — because it is.
Charcoal has some unique properties that other substances don’t have. It can absorb pollutants and toxins and unclog your pores. It also happens to be black, which means that if you want to get these benefits for your face, you’re going to have to put something that is black on your face — and I don’t see why that should be a problem. After all, the reason that actual blackface is offensive is because it has historically been intended to demean people with black skin. Wearing a charcoal facemask, however, has none of this history nor this intention. No, the intention of a charcoal facemask is simply to improve your skin, and there’s absolutely nothing offensive about that.
It may be easy to write off opinions like Oliver’s as just plain stupid, and in many ways, they are. The thing is, though, they’re worse than that — they can also be harmful. After all, crying racism where none exists makes people a lot less likely to listen to real accusations of racism. Given the fact that real racism does still very much exist in our society, that is a tragedy. Anyone who really cared about social justice issues would remember this and focus their energy on those real examples rather than doing things that makes their entire cause look like a laughingstock.
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