By Sonia Kennebeck, CNN
New York (CNN) - A New York state lawmaker said Monday he's sorry if he offended anyone by dressing in blackface for a Purim party, but a colleague says his apology doesn't go far enough.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind wore an Afro wig, an orange jersey and had his face painted brown by a professional makeup artist for a weekend party celebrating the Jewish holiday at his home. He told The New York Times that he was supposed to be "a black basketball player."
The Brooklyn Democrat initially tried to dismiss complaints about his costume as "political correctness to the absurd," but reversed himself by Monday afternoon in the face of mounting criticism.
"Anyone who was offended, I am sorry that they were offended," Hikind told reporters at a news conference. "That was not the intention, and that is really all I can say. I just have to reiterate it was Purim. Purim is when people get dressed up."
But Hikind's fellow Brooklyn Democrat, Assemblyman Karim Camara, said the costume was "callous and repugnant."
It amazes me his first response he gave stating that if anyone knows anything about Purim or knows him. America is mostly Christian who aren't familiar with other religions. As for me I know not this Congressman and his beliefs. I don't know him well enough to say whether or not he is a racist. I don't know about Purim and it's significance in his decision to paint his face black. Rep Anthony Wiener was forced to resign for texting his girlfriend. I think this is much much worse.
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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