Don’t go see the Matadors tonight

So the Matadors show at the Ship & Anchor tonight got cancelled.

Yes it certainly did. The show was cancelled because their guitarist Hooch Parkins shared his plans to perform a Movember benefit as Jimi Hendrix in blackface. Curiously the show’s been picked up by The D a new venue run by the Distillery dudes. That’s another show you should boycott.

Wait why?

Quite simply because you shouldn’t support Parkins. He not only wore the costume but he tried to pretend he orchestrated the media blitz and defended the whole thing as brilliant “marketing.” The Ship had the right idea when they cancelled the show.

Why would they do that? All this is over a costume!

It is all over a costume. You’ll have to ask Darren Ollinger why he cancelled the Ship’s show but I’d guess that they don’t want to associate with racists or host questionable bands.

But the costume isn’t racist — you’re just being a soft-dick liberal-arts educated PC bleeding heart. Hooch dressed up in blackface because he loves Jimi.

I don’t doubt he loves Jimi Hendrix. We won’t get into the history of blackface here or that it was used to stereotype mock and infantilize black people in minstrel shows. Plenty of the racist archetypes from the minstrel show still exist today — but Hooch’s supporters will say that he’s not trying to re-create the vaudeville era. Okay we’ll believe that.

But it goes deeper still. Even sans history Hooch’s blackface uses race as a costume. And that’s insulting to anyone of colour because for them race isn’t something they can take off with soap and warm water — even if they wanted to.

So even if his blackface isn’t meant as a mockery he can still wipe it off and benefit from — you’re gonna be so mad when I say this — white privilege.

Oh fuck off with your egghead white guilt buzz words. I’m white but I grew up poor and struggled. Don’t tell me all white people grew up alike. That’s reverse-racist.

I wouldn’t ever say that. The term white privilege doesn’t suggest that white people are Hampton-dwelling smoking jacket-wearing elites. Of course white people like people of colour can come from poor socio-economic backgrounds. This doesn’t rule out your personal experience but know that your personal experience isn’t universal.

See in Canada — as with many Western nations — whiteness is the cultural norm. And when we talk about privilege we’re not only talking about financial privilege. See we don’t live in a post-racial world and even if you believe all races are equal they aren’t all treated and perceived equally.

That’s what white privilege is about even if you don’t believe it exists. It’s about the fact that white people are never asked to make blanket statements for their race. You can succeed without it being credited to your race. You can fail without people crediting it to your race. You can easily find neighbourhoods where no one disapproves of your family. You’ll find representation of your race in media school textbooks and….

Oh God shut up. We don’t have White History Month or White Pride parades.

For good reason. It’s like a child who asks “Why isn’t there kid’s day?” on Father’s Day. Except for the fact that children are stupid half-grown adults and you’re a full-grown adult. You should know better.

Fine. So what about when people go in whiteface like in White Girls ?

I admit that shit’s pretty stupid too. But I’m a believer that racism is prejudice plus power and White Girls doesn’t depict people of power demonstrating prejudice towards another race. It’s silly no more no less.

Also let’s extend this to people dressing up as geishas and shit: In the West white people shouldn’t wear racialized costumes because like colonialism bruh. It’s not going to be interpreted well by a) other races and b) sane people.

Okay fine. So maybe Hooch’s costume was racist. But it doesn’t mean he’s racist. It doesn’t mean the Matadors are racist.

Actually I believe he is a racist. I don’t think he’s a hate-mongerer — he’s not exactly a neo-Nazi or a Heritage Front member thankfully — but in my opinion he’s certainly a racist. Anyone who’d fail to recognize why people would get angry about a blackface costume (and defend it at length) is definitely a racist. Sorry to say. He’s not an Ernst Zundel-style Holocaust denier but he is a racist. I’ll say it one more time: Racist.

As for his band? I won’t condemn them. They should remove him if they don’t want to get caught in the crossfire.

I just found out that Hooch apologized . He said that he knew it would be considered culturally “insensitive.” Now by telling people not to go to his show he says you’re denying his family of a good Christmas because he won’t get paid. Have a heart asshole.

Culturally insensitive? No. This is racist.

As for his family if he wanted to support them maybe he should’ve thought twice about marketing his band using racist tactics. I’m not the reason Hooch’s family’s going hungry. He is.

An apology isn’t enough. Most employees would be fired if their bosses discovered pictures of them in blackface. Most bands wouldn’t try to market themselves using racist tactics unless they were racists. Most marketers understand that not all press is good press.

Hooch earned the bad press the loss in wages a shitty Christmas and a lot worse — his actions are serious and very Googleable. He should get prepared for many many more terrible Christmases for his family especially if his future employers know how to use a search engine. Hey Hooch: Your blackface outfit’s on Bing.

He deserves worse.

Fair enough. I shouldn’t go to see the Matadors because of the racism. Any other reason I shouldn’t go?

Yes. Because they’re awful.