Thanks to their conditioning in a society that remains fundamentally racist (that is, white supremacist), white people often still do racist things. Sometimes they do that intentionally, though more often they do it, I would bet, without even realizing it (that is, unintentionally -- unconsciously).
But then, at other times, when white people are confronted with blatant racism -- such as, say, other white people shuckin' and jivin' in a ridiculous blackfaced throwback to the Jim Crow era -- sometimes white people stand right up and call that kind of obnoxious crap exactly what it is.
So kudos to Harry Connick, Jr. for doing that, and may other white people follow his lead when confronted with racism (blatant or subtle), be they in the U.S., Australia, or other national contexts.
And speaking of national contexts, did you know that a common designation in Australia for that land's indigenous counterpart to the U.S.'s "Native Americans" is "blacks"? It's true, or so I've heard, and read.
So, does that make a "blackface" performance like this one that HC, Jr. objected to any different there than it would be in the U.S.? It surely doesn't make it any less wrong, and obnoxious; I'm just wondering if it makes it any different.
I'm also wondering -- would an Australian TV audience laugh less readily if a group of white Australians blacked-up like this for a stereotypical, supposedly humorous imitation of indigenous Australians, instead of black Americans?
White Australian TV-show Host (@ 4:40): I noticed, when you were very kindly judging red faces [?], I noticed that when we had the Jackson Jive on, and it didn’t occur to me until afterwards, that I think we may have offended you. I deeply apologize on behalf o all of us, because I know that to your countrymen that's an insult to have a blackface routine. So I do apologize to you.
Harry Connick Jr: Right, thanks Daryl. I just wanted to say on behalf of my country, I know it was done humorously, but you know, we've spent so much time trying to not make Black people look like buffoons that when we see something like that we take it really to heart. And I know it was in good fun, and the last thing I want to do is take this show to really a down level, because I love this show and this country, but I feel like I'm at home here, and if I knew that was gonna be a part of the show, I definitely wouldn’t have done it. So I thank you for the opportunity. I gotta give it up, cause Daryl said at the break, he said, Man, you need to speak as an American. Not as a White American or a Black American, but as an American I need to say that, so thank you for the opportunity.
[My thanks to the many readers who emailed links to this video]