Reflections of New Minnesotans: When humor goes wrong – the hijab costume controversy


Last week, photos of two St. Paul police officers in a hijab costume emerged and left many in the community concerned about the culture of racism that allows officers of the law to appear on social media in such racist cultural costumes. One of the officers appeared in blackface makeup — a practice that has racist historical roots in the entertainment industry in the 1900s and has been an expression of racism since its advent.

Julia Nekessa Opoti and Ramla Bile discuss how racism is normalized in our institutions and what implications this has for our society in terms of safety and personal responsibility. They also delve into questions like how privilege recruits people into racist behaviors, as well as how this racist joke is a reflection of broader injustice in our community. [Audio below]


Why the Hijab costume is racist

You can read local news coverage of the here and here.