Faculty members Stephen Berrey, Bethany Hughes, and Matthew Countryman featured in the Michigan Daily!
"Stephen Berrey, associate professor of American culture, said blackface appearing in yearbooks is a prime example of how this form of racism was considered “safe” or acceptable in many communities, including Northam’s medical school, relatively recently.
“There’s a reason why this 1984 yearbook pops out there and then kind of disappears for however many years it’s been,” Berrey said. “It’s because, at the time, it was not a big deal in that community for these white people. And that’s important to note — if it’s in the yearbook, it means that it was safe for those white people. Which means, of course, that blackface was safe and normal all over the country well into the 1970s.”
Berrey explained a blackface photograph in a yearbook does not only represent the beliefs of one or two students, but instead reflects the culture of an entire community" (Weinstein, Liat. “Panel Discusses Cultural Appropriation, Effects of Blackface on American Culture.” The Michigan Daily, 11 Mar. 2019, 9:57pm, www.michigandaily.com/section/campus-life/panel-discusses-cultural-appropriation-effects-blackface-american-culture).