Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind says there was nothing offensive about donning blackface make-up and an Afro wig as part of a costume he wore for a Purim party he hosted this weekend, but his fellow lawmakers are calling it an outrage.
Our Glenn Blain and I report:
"Yes, I wore a costume on Purim and hosted a party. Most of the people who attended also wore costumes. Everywhere that Purim was being celebrated, people wore costumes. It was Purim. People dress up," Hikind wrote on his blog early this morning after the NYO reported on his holiday get-up.
"I am intrigued that anyone who understands Purim — or for that matter understands me — would have a problem with this," he continued. "This is political correctness to the absurd. There is not a prejudiced bone in my body."
Hkind said the costume, which also included dark sunglasses and a bright orange jersey, was intended to be in “good fun” and that he was simply trying to emulate “sort of a black basketball player.”
“I can’t imagine anyone getting offended,” Hikind told Politicker, which posted its story at 7:33 a.m. with the photo. Hikind's own blog post is timestamped 8:37 a.m.
The image (at right) appeared Sunday on the Facebook page of the assemblyman's son, Yoni Hikind, with the caption, "How cool are my folks... Lol." This afternoon, the younger Hikind posted a link to a CBS story about the controversy with the notation "all my fault. lol."
It didn't take long for Hikind's fellow legislators to condemn both the costume and his lack of an apology for wearing it.
“It is racist,” City Councilman Charles Barron, a Brooklyn Democrat, told the Daily News this afternoon. “That is a bunch of crap. He is trying to justify his racism.”
Barron added: “If he wanted to find somebody who [looked] strange, wild and crazy, he should look in the mirror. He didn’t have to pick on us.”