Just when we thought people were getting smarter about not wearing blackface for Halloween, this South Carolina sheriff captain set everyone back when she wore the derogatory makeup.
Capt. Melanie Thornburg of the Gaston County department was photographed in blackface as part of a Bob Marley costume for Halloween. According to the New York Daily News, she claims that it was a last-minute decision to dress up as the “One Love” rasta. Not that her garb was elaborate, either. Thornburg donned a shirt that read “High” with a marijuana leaf on the front, and a dreadlocked wig.
The sheriff captain also stated that she didn’t know the history of the offensive portrayal, otherwise, she never would have worn the makeup.
“I didn’t do it out of disrespect,” Thornburg told The Gaston Gazette. “And I apologize to anyone that took offense.”
“I wouldn’t have ever tried to mock anyone,” Thornburg said.
Though she caused a stir when the photo was posted online, her boss, Sheriff Alan Cloninger, won’t be taking any action against Thornburg. “As long as she didn’t do anything derogatory toward any person or race that was meant in a harmful or malicious way, that’s the way I look at it,” said Cloninger.
The Gaston NAACP president Chris Thomason was surprisingly forgiving. “I empathize and sympathize with (those offended) and would hope that they could take a step back out of their self and realize that this is a holiday and there are going to be some costumes that may very well be offensive to individuals,” Thomason said.