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U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke Accepts Apology, Condemns Assemblyman Hikind’s Blackface Costume

BROOKLYN, NY –U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke made the following statement in response to the apology issued by Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind after he wore blackface make-up and an Afro wig as part of his costume in celebration of Purim.

“While I accept Assemblyman Hikind’s recent apology for his utter lack of sensitivity to the historic harm inflicted by those who have used ‘blackface’ to demean and insult Americans of African descent, I remain concerned about the denial and insensitivity expressed in his initial response,” stated Representative Clarke.

“As an elected representative of the State of New York, Assemblyman Hikind has a responsibility to at all times be ‘politically correct.’ As elected officials, we have an obligation to create opportunities for tolerance and reconciliation. The Assemblyman’s flippant response to the concerns raised by his own actions, coupled with the history of blackface depictions could have undone the healing that community leaders have worked to promote and instead incited tensions among the Jewish and African-American communities.

“His actions were below the expectations of the office he was elected to serve and did not exemplify the honor and respect worthy of a public official. Blackface represents a very low period in the history of our nation where African-Americans were ridiculed, marginalized and not afforded basic human dignity.

 “I want to thank Assemblyman Hikind for acknowledging the concerns of community residents and leaders through his apology. As we commemorate the very valuable contributions of African Americans during Black History Month, it is imperative that we renew our commitment to respect the cultural differences and embrace our diversity as New Yorkers. The actions of Assemblyman Hikind were reprehensible and insulting,” concluded Representative Yvette D. Clarke.


U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke is a member of the House Committee on Small Business, where she is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations; Ethics; and Homeland Security, where she is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies. She represents several neighborhoods in central and southern Brooklyn, NY which includes Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, Ocean Hill, parts of Park Slope and Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Sheepshead Bay, and Windsor Terrace.