MSC touted the MSC Seaside as the “first of a new generation of MSC ships with revolutionary architecture and cutting-edge technology” when it christened the ship in Miami last year. USA TODAY explained that MSC specifically designed the MSC cruise ship to “appeal to American cruisers.”
But when U.S. passenger Laura Eka and her newlywed husband, Ebong, boarded the MSC ship several weeks ago to celebrate their honeymoon, they were greeted by a caricature of a black person. Ms. Eka complained to MSC that she and her husband (who is black) felt “unwelcome and uncomfortable” by the blackface artwork.
MSC refused to acknowledge the racially insensitive artwork which it chose to display on its Miami-based cruise ship. So Ms. Eka went to Twitter to express her disgust with the racist caricature.
Why do you think it’s ok to use “artwork” with blackface ??? #ThankYouForYourService MscIsRacist #Disgusting #Blacktwitter #Blackface your line is appalling. My husband Is black and this is what we were greeted with on our honeymoon. @MSCCruises_PR @MSCCruisesUSA pic.twitter.com/P0azagMNNF
— Laura Eka (@Sweet_N__Lo) November 12, 2018
Blackface is an ugly part of United States history. Like Dixie flags which still fly over several southern states today, blackface is a symptom of racism. Blackface involves derogatory racial images like the “darky” icon with large, exaggerated red lips and bright, white teeth which became a common racist motif used in entertainment, cartoons, comic strips, postcards, and advertisements throughout American culture from the turn of the 1800’s to at least the 1960’s. It is totally inappropriate for any cruise line to use such an offensive image at this late date, particularly a cruise line catering to the American public.
Has MSC removed the “artwork” from the cruise ship by now? I doubt it. But if it is still hanging on a wall somewhere on the ship, please let us know. And don’t hesitate to take a photo and post it on Twitter. Let MSC know what you think of whether blackface appeals to American cruisers today.
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November 29, 2018 Update: Miami New Times covers the shameful incident: Honeymooners Shocked by Bizarre Blackface “Artwork” on New MSC Cruise Ship.
I realized that I confused the MSC Seaside with the MSC Seaview which contained the racist artwork in my article. Mea culpa!
Take a moment and read:
For a different perspective, read:
New York Times Confronting Racist Objects