All Blacks fans worst perpetrators of blackface - Sean Plunket

Magic Talk host Sean Plunket says All Blacks fans may be the worst perpetrators of blackface and questions why their face paint doesn't receive outrage.

Photos of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in brownface has thrown blackface back into the limelight. Many argue it reflects racist attitudes and is associated with making people of colour into cartoonish figures.

But Plunket questions why it "provokes outrage among the politically correct".

"I think we have all been to fancy dress parties where we have dressed as people we are not. People not of the race we are, or the age we are, or the era. People go to fancy dress and they cross-dress not as the gender we are and it's all a bit of fun isn't it," he said on his Friday radio show.

"Why is it different with blackface or what is called blackface?

"I don't understand why people lose their minds over this… it is a bit like everyone saying John Tamihere saying 'Sieg Heil' was an outrage, well no it wasn't in the context of what he was doing, it was entirely appropriate." 

All Blacks fans worst perpetrators of blackface - Sean Plunket
Photo credit: Getty / Global News/Screenshot.

Plunket said if blackface is deemed offensive, All Blacks fans should be worried, noting the black face paint many wear to games.

"When it comes to blackface, we should be very careful in this country. As a nation, we probably practise blackface more than anybody else. Ever been to an All Blacks game? The number of people, even black people, who put on blackface. Isn't that culturally insensitive?" he said.

"It is blackface. There is no doubt about it. All Blacks supporters are constantly in blackface. We probably do more blackface than anyone else.

"If we are going to be politically correct, why don't the All Blacks come out or the rugby union and say we would rather you didn't paint your face black for All Blacks matches because you might offend some very politically correct academics and people." 

He also posed the question on Twitter, including an image of a young All Blacks fan with black face paint on as well as a silver fern and silver "NZ".

That tweet received a mixed reaction, with one person saying: "This isn’t a parody of black people it's an embrace of the team title - All Black." Another said: "Is this a parody account?  That's a team's colours, not trying to be a race."

One person replied saying blackface was "PC bs". 

"I wonder about all the fancy dress costumes I've worn over the years."

The New Zealand Rugby Museum says there is little finality about how the All Blacks name came about, but says it is largely accepted that it was a result of the colour of the uniform. 

NZ Rugby has been contacted for comment.