Assistant Homeland Security Secretary Julie Myers, who oversees illegal
export investigations as head of the U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement, has apologized for condoning a Halloween party costume
depicting a black dread locked prisoner. (Charles Dharapak/AP Photo)
Believe it or not, but… an employee of the Department of Homeland Security has been directed to take administrative leave after wearing a striped prison outfit, dreadlocks, and darkened skin make-up to a party hosted by, now get this, Julie Myers, the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
But it gets worse.
Apparently, the costume won “praise” for originality from Meyers, that is until other employees complained.
According to CNN.com, between 50 and 75 people attended the party, which was a fund-raiser for the Combined Federal Campaign, a federal government collection of charities.
The report goes on to say that after some employees complained, Myers apologized for "a few of the costumes," calling them "inappropriate and offensive." She said she and other senior managers "deeply regret that this happened."
There are so many things I’d like to say, but for what. Next week it will be something else.
Judging from the dreadlocks and the fact the employee works for the Department of Homeland Security, would it be presumptuous to argue that this costume was targeted towards people of West Indian descent, perhaps even Jamaicans?
I will say that I don’t believe for a moment that this employee didn’t know what he was doing when he put on the costume and took the time to darken his skin.
I would however ask him what made him want to be a Black prisoner verses a white one. Last time I checked, while they don’t match the numbers of Blacks, there were whites in prison too.
As for Meyers, I guess we saw her true colors. I hope that she doesn’t expect that we’ll overlook the fact that before others complained, she found the costume worthy of praise and accolades for originality.
And speaking of originality, what’s so original about being a Black man in a prison uniform, especially given the mass numbers of Black men incarcerated across this country? There’s nothing unique, innovative, or creative about the employee’s described costume. In fact, I think I’m more offended at the thought of the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement finding humor in the reality that many families are facing right now. Coping with loved ones and relatives locked up in prison some for years others for life.
But like I said, I don’t have much to say because next week it’ll be something or someone else.