I realize this has been discussed before on this site but I just want to get this off my chest. I've also been really busy the last few days so it was pretty hard for me to discuss the issue when it was brought up. In addition I want to do this in a fan post because if I put anything into the comments section it will just get lost in a deluge of other comments. There's probably quite a few people here and elsewhere that just want to move on from this incident, but I think this is very serious stuff here.
First of all it looks as though Tyler Bozak was trying to dress up as Michael Jackson when he did the Thriller music video. Bozak pretty much has the look down pat. It would have been more authentic if he was wearing a red and black jacket like the one in the music video. Bozak also has the right skin colour because at that point in his career Jackson had darker looking skin. It wasn't until the mid-1980's that Jackson's skin started to turn pale (Thriller by the way was released back in 1982). So all in all it was a pretty decent costume.
However, certain people took issue with Bozak painting his face. Why? It's because they thought it was racist. Was it racist? Well, let's see. Racist is defined as "a person with a prejudiced belief that one race is superior to others." Another definition of racist is, "Having or showing the belief that a particular race is superior to another". So did Bozak paint his face because he thought his race was superior to the black race? The answer is no. In order for it to be racist he would've had to have made himself up in such a way that it would mock Black people. You know, something like this:
(This is something that's used by actual racists)
So did Bozak make himself look like that? Nope, not even close. Simply put, Bozak was just trying to create an authentic Michael Jackson Thriller look.
Furthermore, some have argued that Bozak could have dressed up as Michael Jackson without the face paint. If Bozak didn't don the face paint he would have looked more like pale-face Jackson:
Like I mentioned earlier, Bozak was going for an authentic Jackson Thriller look. Jackson did not have pale skin when he did the Thriller music video. Jackson had darker skin at that point in his career. In case you were wondering, this is what Jackson looked like when he did the Thriller music video:
(Notice that Jackson's skin colour in this photo is similar to Bozak's skin colour in his halloween photo)
Quite a difference in appearance, eh? Notice how much darker Jackson's skin looked when he did the Thriller music video compared to what he looked like from the mid-1980's and onward? So if Bozak didn't paint his face it would've defeated the purpose of the costume. Having dark skin was a part of who Michael Jackson was at that point in his career. Also, Jackson was at the height of his popularity and success when he had darker skin. It wasn't until after his skin turned pale that he was known as "Wacko Jacko." So if Bozak went without the face paint, some people might think, "Hey, he's dressed up like Wacko Jacko!" You see, a lot of people don't have very many fond memories of pale-face Jackson. People mostly remember pale-face Jackson as the guy who: faced sexual abuse allegations, dangled a baby off a balcony, went into rehab for drug abuse, had multiple failed marriages, had an obsession with his pet monkey, Bubbles, had multiple plastic surgeries, etc. Pale-face Jackson also faced allegations that he bleached his skin, had an inappropriate relationship with his pet monkey, tried to buy the bones of the "Elephant Man", slept in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to slow down his aging process, etc. Heck, pale-face Jackson even made up rumours about himself at one point in order to increase his publicity.
So you see folks, there's a HUGE difference in painting your face to mock another race and painting your face to look like a famous entertainer like Michael Jackson from the Thriller music video. Unfortunately, some people have a hard time differentiating between the two. Bozak's costume was not meant to be a stereotyped caricature of a Black person, it was meant to be a tribute to his favourite performer.
Someone on this site suggested that he should've worn a mask instead of painting his face as it's less offensive. That is wrong because some people will still see it as some white guy trying to make himself up to look like a Black entertainer. Personally, I see no issue with people either painting their face or wearing a mask as long as long as they try to make it as accurate as humanly possible (and that's exactly what Bozak was doing; he was going for an authentic Michael Jackson Thriller look). However, I have looked up Michael Jackson masks on Google Images and for the most part they look pretty awful:
Another person on this site said that going in white face isn't that "icky." I guess that means this person has no real issue with Dwyane Wade going in white face to look like Justin Timberlake:
For the record, I don't take issue with what Wade is doing either. What Wade is doing here is no different than what Bozak did (paying homage to a person from a different race and trying to do it as accurately as possible). What I do take issue with though is that the same person that said white face isn't that "icky" found what Bozak did was questionable. So what are you trying to say? That White people shouldn't paint themselves up as their favourite Black performer but people of other colours, i.e. Black people, can paint themselves up as their favourite White performer? If that's the case then you think that White people should be disadvantaged vis-a-vis people of other colours-and that would make you racist.
Sources: Wikipedia (Michael Jackson's bio is a featured article on that site); Google Images; Google Dictionary (used for the racist definitions).