Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Minstrelsy beyond the ‘West’: deflections, continuities and the un/knowing of race in Singapore
Authors: Teo, Terri-Anne
Keywords: Social sciences::Sociology
Issue Date: 2022
Source: Teo, T. (2022). Minstrelsy beyond the ‘West’: deflections, continuities and the un/knowing of race in Singapore. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 43(1), 1-22.
Journal: Journal of Intercultural Studies 
Abstract: The blackface minstrel reflects Black histories of slavery, repression and dehumanisation that further devolved into a ‘mess of entertainment and politics, love and hate, attraction and repulsion, class and race consciousness, sincere imitation and cruel mockery’ (Strausbaugh, J., 2006. Black Like You: Blackface, Whiteface, Insult & Imitation in American Popular Culture. New York: Penguin: 92). The racist origins of blackface hail from minstrel shows from the nineteenth century in the US, derogatorily mimicking Black slavery through the use of greasepaint or burnt cork, reproducing tropes of unruliness, slovenliness, hypersexuality and laziness. This portrayal was seen in theatre, film and animation, stretching across genres from the dramatic to comedy and vaudeville entertainment. While the origins of blackface vary from other forms of racial impersonation, they meet at the intersection of misrecognition and racism. Practices of racial impersonation beyond the ‘west’ raise questions of relevance, if for instance racial impersonation should be subject to criticisms of racism, given the latter’s ‘western’ provenance. Moving beyond this argument, this article asks what justifies the perpetuation of racial impersonation when blackface is no longer condoned elsewhere, and how themes such as racial inferiorisation and discrimination travel. With a brownface advertisement in Singapore as its case study, this article considers how racialised groups in other contexts are ‘minstrelised,’ and their implications.
ISSN: 0725-6868
DOI: 10.1080/07256868.2021.1997955
Schools: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies 
Rights: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:RSIS Journal Articles

Citations 50

Updated on Dec 3, 2023

Web of ScienceTM
Citations 50

Updated on Oct 30, 2023

Page view(s)

Updated on Dec 7, 2023


Updated on Dec 7, 2023

Google ScholarTM




Items in DR-NTU are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.