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I simply can’t view a nonblack comedian, singer, actor, cosplayer — even a Halloween reveler — appropriating or approximating “blackness” by donning blackface without wondering what is going through that person’s mind.

Upon seeing it, I’m immediately compelled to devote my mental and/or emotional resources to attempting the impossible: to read that person’s mind and discern intent from the available evidence. Sometimes, I can dismiss it as harmless, or find it forgivably ignorant. Or, I might conclude it’s too problematic to disregard, and address it. But, to not vet it is not an option.

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