Bollestads congregation in Ålgård painted the faces of “Congo tour”

Acting KrF leader Olaug Bollestad’s congregation in Ålgård is criticized after children and adults painted their faces black to pretend they were Congolese.

It was Dagbladet who first mentioned the case, where children and adults at Sunday School in Ålgård Baptist church last weekend painted themselves in the face to show how people have it in Congo. The pictures of employees dressed up as Congolese, with their face painted black ended up on social media, and according to Gjesdalbuen, several of the children were painted black in the face. The practice of portraying a dark-skinned person by making herself black in the face is called “blackface” in the theater world, but is rarely used, because many are perceived as racist.

– Using black paint on the face testifies to bad judgment, that one does not know the criticism against “blackface”. It’s good that they want to tell the kids about Congo, but this is not the way to do it. I think this is at best thoughtless , says Deputy Chairman Mari Linløkken in Antirasist Center to Dagbladet.

Engaged in Congo

Ålgård Baptist church is the congregation of the Minister of Agriculture and Acting KrF leader Olaug Bollestad.

– It is a search that someone perceives the event on Ålgård as hurtful, and this feedback must be taken seriously. My experience is that Ålgård Baptist church has a great commitment to Congo, and for many years. Apart from this I have no comment, writes Bollestad in a text message to Stavanger Aftenblad .

Ward councilor Klaus Hestenes is surprised and has not heard of blackface.

– If this is important to address for the Antirasist Center, then I think that there can not be much racism around, he says to Aftenbladet.

– People dress up

He says they didn’t intend to make fun of anyone. According to Hestenes, the congregation has had similar events before, and now he is uncertain whether they should drop the tradition of painting black in the face.

– In acting, people dress up. We had a family with us from Congo, and they thought this was unproblematic, he says.

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