Is this a historical photo of coal miners or an offensive depiction of blackface?
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Is this a historical photo of coal miners or an offensive depiction of blackface?

Opinion: Who determines what’s offensive? A photo in a downtown Phoenix restaurant raises this key question. The photo of men covered in soot, drinking at a pub, on the wall in a downtown Phoenix restaurant. (Photo: Rashaad Thomas) A few weeks ago, I attended a holiday party at a downtown Phoenix restaurant. I walked around to view the photographs on the wall. Then a photograph caught my attention. Friends said, “It’s coal miners at a pub after work.” It was a photograph of coal miners with blackened faces. I asked a Latinx and white woman for their opinion. They said it looked like coal miners at a pub after work. Then they stepped back, frowned and said it’s men in blackface. I asked the waitress to speak with a manager. Instead, I spoke with a white restaurant owner. I explained to him why the photograph was offensive. Evidently, someone else had made a similar comment about the photograph before. Yet, the photograph remained on the wall. He said he would talk to the other owners and get back to me. While leaving, I asked him had he spoke with the other owners. He had not spoken with them, but […]

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