La Forge was portrayed by thespian LeVar Burton, an individual who I discussed at length on this very blog a few weeks ago. Now, for those of you who don't know me personally, I am white. But since La Forge is clearly of African descent, make-up would be necessary to make me resemble him (make-up being a normal part many Halloween costumes). However, this presents me with a certain conundrum. The application of brown make-up to a white man's face has an unfortunate history in the United States. It could potentially conjure up memories of Minstrel Shows, the racist comedy performances popular during the post-Civil-War era.
So how am I, as a sensitive white man, to go about assessing whether or not it is appropriate for me to dress as one of my favorite television characters for Halloween? At the advice of my mother, I decided to try to get my information straight from the horse's mouth. I emailed LeVar Burton. Yes, he's a celebrity. But, honestly, how long has it been since you've heard his name mentioned in any sort of legitimate media? The peak of his career is clearly over, having crested somewhere around '94. So I sent a message to the "contact" email address on his homepage, LeVarBurton.com. Here is what I said:
I eagerly await Mr. Burton's reply. While discussing this potential Halloween costume with various acquaintances, I have encountered mixed responses. Some claim that such a costume would be too tainted by racist associations to be socially acceptable. Other, primarily those who are fellow fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation, think that the costume would be FUCKING AWESOME. So, since I myself am no King Soloman, I have left it up to LeVar Burton, Kunta Kinte himself, to determine whether I, Andrew Flint, in an Obama-is-the-president era, can un-offensively dress as Geordi La Forge for Halloween. For those of you who cannot imagine what I'd look like dressed as Engineer La Forge, here is an artistic approximation:
So, whaddya think? Please comment on this post with your thoughts regarding my potential costume. And I will certainly keep you updated if LeVar himself ever responds to me.