Oklahoma City Commissioner Apologizes For Dressing In Blackface

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A Black Day

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty

Oklahoma doesn’t seem to be having a particularly good month as it regards tolerance and racial harmony. Nearly two weeks after students from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity’s chapter at the University Of Oklahoma were filmed leading a racist chant about lynching blacks, Oklahoma is in the news again for race-related matters.

Elk City, Oklahoma’s City Commissioner (Ward 2), Bill Helton apologized after YouTube videos of him dressed as a blackface minstrel character named “Pollyester Kotton” began circulating. According to a report by local NBC affiliate KFOR, Helton also works as a hair stylist, and one of his African-American clients helped him conceive the character.

“Anyone that’s offended, I would sit down and talk to them,” Helton told KFOR. “Because my heart is, I would never do that and want to help whoever I can help.”

Helton is currently a candidate for mayor in Elk City, and he reportedly dressed as “Pollyester Kotton” at various fundraisers and community events.

“Men playing women or a woman playing a man is not new and can be very funny,” noted Oklahoma State Conference NAACP President Anthony R. Douglas, when asked about the matter by KFOR. “But in black face? Have we learned nothing at all? This ‘character’ could have been just as effective done without the black face makeup and would be far less offensive.”

The full story is available at KFOR.com.

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