Mickey Rooney co-starred as the neighbor YELLOW FACE character in Breakfast With Tiffany. On August 11th if it all goes through, you can see him at an outdoor screening, buckteeth, ching chong accent, and in his 4 foot tall glory. If he were blackfaced, of course, it would be a racist branded movie, but because Audrey Hepburn is looking so cute, it gets a pass. I remember when I first saw this. I’m guessing it was 1989? I’ve heard it was supposed to be a good classic movie. I’ve seen photos of Hepburn, she looked great, of course the movie was going to be cute. Not more than two minutes after Mickey Rooney – the neighbor makes his debut, I had to shut it off in shock. In 1989, it was the racism. I felt like I got hit. Then I realized, although it’s super fictional and ridiculous, I still wasn’t okay with it. I’m less into barking about racism, since I think most of the racists are ignorant and can’t be changed, unless by their own awakening or by their own death.
Rooney himself may think that it’s all okay, but of course, he’s defending his own honor. It’s just a sign of the times. Even blackface was okay ages ago. Maybe this movie deserves a pass – as a film that should stay out of the limelight and in a vault somewhere. It’s a reminder of different times, and it’s the perfect vehicle of racism to show at Klan rallies. Klan! There’s a rally at the Brooklyn Bridge August 11th. (Gothamist – Breakfast at Tiffany’s)