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blacked up morris dancers abused in uk

Related threads:
Shrewsbury FF to ban 'blacked up' Morris (264)
All Black Tup (7)
Black-faced Morris dancers (286)


GUEST 09 Jan 17 - 05:25 PM
Senoufou 09 Jan 17 - 05:15 PM
GUEST,Joe G 09 Jan 17 - 05:13 PM
GUEST 09 Jan 17 - 05:07 PM
Joe Offer 09 Jan 17 - 04:59 PM
GUEST,Senoufou 09 Jan 17 - 04:59 PM
Steve Shaw 09 Jan 17 - 04:52 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Jan 17 - 04:49 PM
GUEST,Senoufou 09 Jan 17 - 04:11 PM
Steve Shaw 09 Jan 17 - 03:43 PM
David Carter (UK) 09 Jan 17 - 03:24 PM
Joe Offer 09 Jan 17 - 02:59 PM
Steve Shaw 09 Jan 17 - 02:42 PM
meself 09 Jan 17 - 02:03 PM
Dave the Gnome 09 Jan 17 - 01:54 PM
GUEST 09 Jan 17 - 01:47 PM
Bonzo3legs 09 Jan 17 - 01:43 PM
Dave the Gnome 09 Jan 17 - 01:38 PM
David Carter (UK) 09 Jan 17 - 01:32 PM
keberoxu 09 Jan 17 - 01:32 PM
Dave the Gnome 09 Jan 17 - 01:14 PM
Snuffy 09 Jan 17 - 01:06 PM
The Sandman 09 Jan 17 - 12:56 PM
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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 05:25 PM

Two of the musicians in the photo clearly don't have 'full face' blacking, the other two have none on their necks and none have any on their hands.

A larger concern to me, for the future and in many contexts, is whether or not the 'offended' were a social media co-ordinated mini mob.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Senoufou
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 05:15 PM

I often fantasise that my (very) black husband and his many brothers took up Border Morris dancing and formed a side together. They could dance out in Birmingham and thoroughly confuse the 'Offended'.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Joe G
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 05:13 PM

Well said Joe and others. I used to be a staunch defender of blacking up but do not think this position is defensible any more. Time to move on. Lots of other options available that would not cause offence


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 05:07 PM

Doing something just because it's traditional and for no other reason lacks sense. Traditions that are worth anything at all should be adaptable and evolve with the times

On that logic an awful lot of traditional songs need bowdlerising.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 04:59 PM

Hi, David - I have mixed opinions, myself. I did get a chuckle out of the Telegraph's "which of course they are not." I certainly wouldn't express myself with such certainty.

I just don't know. I don't think much would be lost by removing the tradition of blackface from Morris. When I was a kid in Detroit in the 1950s, we would dress up as "bums" for Halloween and blacken our faces with burnt cork. I don't think we imagined ourselves as mimicking African-Americans, just dirty bums (American usage of the word "bum."). But I'm sure kids wouldn't do that now.

For too many people in two many cultures, blackface is associated with minstrel shows, which systematically demeaned African-Americans in very cruel fashion for decades. Maybe Morris blackface has different roots (and maybe not); but for many people, all they can think of is demeaning minstrel shows when they see blackface, no matter how much others try to deny it. So, is it worth it to fight to preserve the blackface tradition?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 04:59 PM

What do you mean "It was Birmingham." Steve? We know it was.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 04:52 PM

It was Birmingham.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 04:49 PM

I'm with Senoufou on this. Doing something just because it's traditional and for no other reason lacks sense. Traditions that are worth anything at all should be adaptable and evolve with the times.

However to put another point of view entirely, for something to offend it has to actually be offensive, i.e., be demonstrated to be derogatory in some way. The only part of the performance that could be in any way construed as racist is the colouring, the rest of the costume, the dances themselves, the equipment, have nothing to do with any form of racism. If any racism was intended surely the people taking offence would be able to see other evidence in the costume, the dances etc. Are actors on stage and in operas being racist when they put on make-up? I think lack of understanding is part of the problem here.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 04:11 PM

I agree with Steve. If black offends (I don't think it should, as it's not the intention, but no-one wants to hurt people's feelings) then another colour would do just as well. Woad or red (like Red Leicester Morris) or dark green.
I also think that if people were assaulting the Morris dancers in Birmingham by knocking their hats off etc and causing a disturbance, it's a matter for the Police.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 03:43 PM

Funny that we should castigate the memory of the ghastly Black and White Minstrels yet defend this. As I said, carry on. Just use woad.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 03:24 PM

Sure Joe, but another theory is that the blackface was developed in the 15th century as mimicry of Moorish customs. The Wikipedia page on border morris gives several possibilities. So there could have been racial overtones in medieval times, we really don't know.

This is what annoys me about the Telegraph, it picks out "One Theory" which accords with its own worldview, and ignores others which don't.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 02:59 PM

Probably a good article to copy and paste:

Morris dancers forced to abandon performance after being accused of racism over traditional black face paint, witnesses say

Telegraph Reporters
8 JANUARY 2017 • 4:23PM

A group of Morris dancers were forced to abandon a performance after they were accused of being racist and threatened over their traditional black face paint, it has been claimed.

The Alvechurch group were heckled by a handful of onlookers during performances on two city centre streets near the Bullring in Birmingham on Saturday, witnesses said.

The dancers were one of more than a dozen groups which were there to celebrate Plough Monday, the traditional start of the agricultural year.

They arrived at 11am and had performed without incident in pubs, to groups of local and visiting football fans and to shoppers.

But a source close to the group said: "The atmosphere had been great with the vast majority of people, but I was absolutely amazed by the vitriolic abuse they started to receive.

"The issues began when they started dancing near to the Bull outside the Bullring and later near to Marks & Spencer. They were roundly abused and threatened with violence.

"One lady was particularly angry and a group of young men started to become very abusive and confrontational, accusing them of being racists, which of course they are not.

"They started jumping in between the dancers and knocking off their hats. The dancers tried to explain why their faces were painted black, but they would not listen.

"They tried in vain to explain but things took such a turn for the worse that the performances had to be abandoned."

The group formed in 1989 and its dancers dress in black with black painted faces. Morris dancers have performed with black face make-up since the origins of the dancing tradition in the 16th century.

Known as "Border Morris", the tradition sees performers wearing a full-face of black paint in order to disguise themselves.

One theory is that it started when impoverished 16th-century farm workers had to conceal their faces to avoid being recognised while begging during winter, as asking for money was illegal.

The alleged incidents come after Shrewsbury Folk Festival bosses announced last year that it will no longer book acts who wear full black face paint.

Equality group Fairness, Respect, Equality Shropshire (Fresh) said the ban showed sensitivity "to a changed social climate". But Morris dancers say there were "no racial connotations" and they had "never wanted to upset people".


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 02:42 PM

Well the idea offends me, though I have no right not to be offended. However, attacks on participants are just wrong. A good, paganistic, Celtic solution would be to use woad instead. What's not to like!


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: meself
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 02:03 PM

Funny though, in this day and age, that although they provide photos and video of the Dancers dancing and everyone enjoying themselves, they don't provide any indicating any kind of trouble ....


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 01:54 PM

Seeing it is close to Christmas maybe they are wassailants?

:D tG


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 01:47 PM

It seems to me that the Morris Dancers have been assaulted and that Peace has been breached. The assailants should be prosecuted.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 01:43 PM

If people find blacking up offensive then they are stark raving bonkers.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 01:38 PM

It is also in the Birmingham Post or some such, David. Mind you, they could both be using a dodgy source!

DtG


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 01:32 PM

I have only one reason to doubt the reports, which is that they were in the Telegraph which has form in this area.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: keberoxu
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 01:32 PM

"Plough Monday." Shows how ignorant I am, never heard of it.
Would be nice not to get too emotional here. Good luck with that though.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 01:14 PM

I have no reason to doubt the reports, Dick, in the same way I have no reason to doubt that this will turn into another of those 'PC gone mad' stories that inflames and divides with no real benefit.

For the record, I used to black up for the Abram Pace Egg play but I will no longer do so as I believe that it could be offensive to some and there are better alternatives. I do accept all the arguments about tradition and so on however and would never dream of preventing anyone else from doing just as they wish in this area.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Snuffy
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 01:06 PM

Yes, it happened


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Subject: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 12:56 PM

I understand that Blacked up Morris dancers were abused in Birmingham uk, does anyone know if this is the truth?


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