Home News Deputy in hot water for Frederica Wilson Halloween costume using ‘blackface’

Deputy in hot water for Frederica Wilson Halloween costume using ‘blackface’

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A Virginia deputy is in a lot of trouble after she donned so-called “blackface” when she dressed up as eccentric Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson for Halloween.

York County Sheriff’s Deputy Jean Browning outraged the York-James City-Williamsburg (YJCW) Branch of the NAACP, who claim her interpretation of the Congresswoman was racist and hateful reminiscent of how blacks were negatively portrayed in olden times.

According to a YJCW press release, several members of the organization met on Monday, November 6, 2017, to address the Branch’s concerns to York County officials.

“The consensus of all in attendance was that Deputy Browning’s decision to dress in blackface was wholly inappropriate and completely unacceptable,” the release said. “Although it was acknowledged that our concerns were legitimate, it was clear that there would be no disciplinary action taken against Deputy Browning by the sheriff’s department. It was commented to Mr. Smalls that had Deputy Browning been wearing a “noose” or a derogatory sign, disciplinary action would be appropriate. However, it is the Branch’s position that blackface in and of itself should be enough to warrant disciplinary action.”

With that said, the group acknowledged that Browning “appeared in a Halloween costume depicting Congresswoman Wilson as a well-dressed person wearing the Congresswoman’s signature red hat. She did not mock her or make any attempt to degrade her.”

“Deputy Browning’s intent was simply to portray Wilson as a political celebrity as Browning’s boyfriend was in a costume portraying Donald Trump,” the statement continued. “The combined intent of the couple was to convey the message of how funny it would be for two political figures that were at odds with each other to go to a party together. There was no intent to either mock or degrade either Congresswoman Wilson or President Trump, or for that matter to even make any kind of political statement.”

Browning is an instructor with the YCSD’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program. Taking note of this, the organization requested that she be removed from her position and her role in the school system.

According to WTKR,  Sheriff J.D. Diggs acknowledged the concerns of the organization, simultaneously taking into account that Browning has served her community for some time.

“Browning has been a deputy for 20-years and a D.A.R.E. Officer for 10-years with 9 Letters of Commendation,” he said at a press conference this week. “She has never been accused of any type of racial transgression and is known as a kind and caring person who would do anything for anyone.“

In light of her contributions to society, Diggs reportedly moved Deputy Browning to another position in the department.


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