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New York Assemblyman Defends Wearing Blackface, Afro Costume

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Assemblyman Karim Camara of the state Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus called Hikind's actions "callous and repugnant" and said his fellow lawmaker should apologize.

"The history of the blackface minstrel show is something deeply painful in the African-American community," said Camera, a Brooklyn Democrat. "It brings back the memories of African-Americans being reduced to buffoonery just to gain access to the entertainment industry."

Hikind hired a makeup artist and wore an orange basketball jersey, sunglasses and an Afro at the celebration that traditionally includes costumes.

"I am intrigued that anyone who understands Purim -- or for that matter understands me -- would have a problem with this," said Hikind, a Jewish leader in New York. "This is political correctness to the absurd. There is not a prejudiced bone in my body."

There was no immediate comment from the Assembly's Democrat majority where Hikind has been long been a rare conservative voice over 30 years.

Earlier this month, Hikind criticized the fashion designer John Galliano, who was recently photographed in New York City dressing as a Hasid with a long jacket and curly sidelocks. Two years ago, Galliano was fired from Christian Dior after his anti-Semitic rant was caught on video.

Hikind demanded an explanation from Galliano for his costume.

"If it was just anyone else, I wouldn't know what to say. But considering who this guy is, considering his background and what he's said in the past, let him explain it to all of us: Are you mocking us?" Hikind told the New York Post.

In Albany, Hikind has championed some conservative and religion-based issues. In 2009, he opposed an early vote to legalize same-sex marriage

"It is about what I believe God wants," Hikind said then. "God doesn't flip-flop on an issue."