Nic Naitanui speaks out on blackface controversy

By @madelaisa on
Nic Naitanui
Australian Football League player Nic Naitanui Instagram/realnaitanui

West Coast Eagles AFL football player Nic Naitanui has called for better education on racial issues after a Perth-based mother posted a photo of his son painted in blackface, which drew an onslaught of criticism on social media.

The primary school-aged child was dressed by his mother to look like Naitanui for a school event called Book Week.

“He wanted to go as his idol Nic Naitanui from the west coast Eagles. I was a little worried about painting him. (So many politically correct extremists these days) he is pastey white and if I just sent him in a wig and footy gear, no one would tell who he was. So I grew a set of balls and painted my boy brown and he looked fanf------tastic,” wrote the mother on a Facebook post, which has since been deleted.

Naitanui, who is of Fijian descent, took the matter in a diplomatic approach and didn’t blame the mother or the child but he hoped that they would learn from it, adding that he genuinely admire the kid for looking up to him.

“Honestly, I’ve encouraged this mistake in the past but I’m now educated of its origins, let’s grow together,” the footballer posted on Twitter on Friday. “The young blood’s innocence merely attempting to emulate his hero hurts my heart. Especially when that hero is me. It’s a shame racism coexists in an environment where our children should be nurtured not tortured because they are unaware of the painful historical significance of ‘blackface’ has had previously on the oppressed.”

 

 

The mother’s post attracted the attention of many on the Internet, including rapper/actor Adam Briggs, who pointed out on his Facebook and Twitter posts the invalid arguments of the defenders of blackface. He also expertly shut down all those who criticised him for making it an issue, saying “It’s your privilege to ignore this stuff – it’s my burden to call it out.”