He keeps showing up, like some slightly bemused and maniacal house guest, usually intending to get a laugh but instead taking America back into a wicked time warp. The man in blackface stands there, frozen. The photo of him starts to ricochet around our race-haunted land. The outcry begins anew. Historian Dale Cockrell once noted that poor and working-class whites who felt “squeezed politically, economically, and socially from the top, but also from the bottom, invented minstrelsy” as a way of expressing the oppression that marked being members of the majority, but outside of the white norm. Minstrelsy, comedic performances of “blackness” by whites in exaggerated costumes and make-up, cannot be separated fully from the racial derision and stereotyping at its core. By distorting the features and culture of African Americans—including their looks, language, dance, deportment, and character—white Americans were able to codify whiteness across class and geopolitical lines as its antithesis.