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A New York state assemblyman showed up at a Purim party over the weekend wearing blackface and an afro wig. On Monday, he defended the costume, saying that he couldn’t see why anyone would get offended.
The photo of Brooklyn assemblyman Dov Hikind in the costume surfaced on Facebook and shows him between his wife, dressed as a devil, and his son, with a yin-yang sign painted on his face. Hikind is shown with heavy makeup on his face, sunglasses and a giant afro wig. The photo was posted by his son, notes NBC New York.
In an interview with Politicker, Hikind said that he was trying to look like a “basketball player” for the Jewish festival.
“I was just, I think, I was trying to emulate, you know, maybe some of these basketball players. Someone gave me a uniform, someone gave me the hair of the actual, you know, sort of a black basketball player,” Hikind, a Democrat, explained to the site. “It was just a lot of fun. Everybody just had a very, very good time and every year I do something else. … The fun for me is when people come in and don’t recognize me.”
“I can’t imagine anyone getting offended,” he continued, noting that he sees plenty of outrageous costumes on Purim in Brooklyn. “Purim, you know, everything goes and it’s all done with respect. No one is laughing, no one is mocking. No one walked in today and said, ‘Oh my God.’ … It’s all just in good fun with respect always, whatever anyone does it’s done with tremendous amounts of respect and with dignity, of course.”
Later, he added, “...It’s all worth it, I would do it again in a minute.”
Hikin also wrote a blog post defending the costume, writing, “I am intrigued that anyone who understands Purim—or for that matter understands me—would have a problem with this. This is political correctness to the absurd. There is not a prejudiced bone in my body.”