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blacked up morris dancers abused in uk

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


Good Soldier Schweik 09 Jan 17 - 12:56 PM
Snuffy 09 Jan 17 - 01:06 PM
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Bonzo3legs 09 Jan 17 - 01:43 PM
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Subject: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Good Soldier Schweik
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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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 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: 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: 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: 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
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: 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: 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
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: meself
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 05:37 PM

Any photos or video yet?


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 05:43 PM

Hi Guest,
Absolutely. An awful lot of traditional songs do need bowdlerising and we do so frequently unless we're particularly presenting historical accuracy in an academic way.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Thompson
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 05:47 PM

Yup.

Speaking as an absolute cultural outsider on this, so you need pay no attention to my gut feeling, the blackface used in the video makes me feel queasy and cringe.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 05:48 PM

Birmingham is a city of massive ethnic diversity. Doing silly dances pretending to be black men quite possibly isn't the ideal thing to be doing in Birmingham if peace and quiet is your target.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Thompson
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 05:49 PM

I'm just imagining going past these guys with my friend's two little grandchildren by the hand - one whose skin is the colour of black coffee with a tiny dash of milk, the other with caramel skin, green eyes and red hair. I don't think I'd feel at all comfortable trying to explain what was going on.

Perhaps when society has matured enough that black skin is no more remarkable than blue eyes it'll be ok, but that's then, this is now.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 05:56 PM

Ah, I see Steve. So when the Sheringham Potty Festival of Morris dancing takes place in July, the reason there isn't any kerfuffle about 'blacking up' is because Norfolk hasn't much ethnic diversity. That's a very interesting point. I'm wondering if the 'offended protesters' in Birmingham were black themselves though. I bet they weren't!

I always wish potential 'offended parties' would ask the folk on whose behalf they protest if they mind. They probably aren't terribly bothered.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Thompson
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 06:20 PM

I think they were, though the faces are blurred out in the video I posted, Senoufou.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: meself
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 06:24 PM

Thanks for the link. It does indicate some unpleasantness, obviously - but no assault. Not saying that there wasn't any, but .....


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 06:36 PM

Yes Thompson, I've just watched it and I think you're right.

They did sound very upset, but wouldn't listen to the Morris dancers' attempts to explain. As Steve has said, using blue or another colour face paint would have prevented all this unpleasantness.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 06:37 PM

It's the same here, Senoufou. Hardly a black face to be seen in Bude. But I have lived and worked for more than half my life in inner cities in which sensibilities may be very different. A lot of this is to do with wanting to behave with respect. It doesn't really hurt to ditch "standing on principle on behalf of the tradition" and use woad instead, does it? Actually, tradition dictated that we hanged people for sheep-stealing if I remember rightly! Why not subject Morris blacking-up to the folk process? 😉


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,SB
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 06:40 PM

Photos are here:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4100032/Traditional-Morris-Dancers-forced-abandon-city-centre-performance-accused-racist-painting-faces-black.html

There's a video on YouTube - somewhere.

The assailants have been described as 'Asian' - this is UK mainstream media code for 'Muslims.' It is evident that Morris dancing is deemed a pagan ritual and therefore 'haram.' It is therefore well against Sharia Law which takes precedence over UK Law, so active protests are allowed and tolerated.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 06:45 PM

Well my husband is a Muslim and has danced with many different Morris sides after being invited to do so while spectating! He's never said it's a sin or 'haram'. He has said he felt a right wally, but that's just because he's a bit shy.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 06:48 PM

Yes, careful how you go on this one, Guest SB.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 06:55 PM

Joe posted for me some photos of aforementioned husband posing with blacked-up Morris folk on the previous thread about this matter. I wonder if anyone could be a technological wizard and transfer them to this thread, just to show the obvious goodwill on both sides?


No, Senoufou. I did that as an exception....once. As a rule, embedded images are not allowed at Mudcat. Feel free to link to the thread (I couldn't find it).
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 07:28 PM

A L Lloyd advanced the idea in Folksong in England was that it was about the spirits riches of the earth. the black faces of miners, black imps...the dance as a fertility ritual for the mineral riches of the earth - and how they are mined in darkness by men with black faces, who are friends to the darkness.

the PC bullies have done so much damage to England - making the labour party unelectable for reasons of ideological purity that morris dancing is small potatoes, i'm too old to care.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 07:43 PM

Maybe, Al, but what it looks like to ordinary people is pretty important too. When you do Morris, or folksong, or sculpture or photos or paintings (see Lewis Carroll thread), you are speaking to ordinary people, the layman if you like, who is probably not familiar with the history of the tradition like we are. They are not ignorant but they are simply not steeped. That communication done without obfuscation is what art is all about. You don't have to make it easy but you do have to provide a path. I've never believed that there's any such thing as PC, just common decency and sensitivity.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 08:26 PM

"the PC bullies have done so much damage to England -"
Not really Al.
While I have never had a problem with blacking up for Morris (though I always did find the Bacup Nutters a bit bizarre,) I understand that some people can take genuine offence from them.
For all the pseudo-academic claims about Wizards, many of these "traditions" date no further than the nineteenth century, when the Empire was in full swing and it was commonplace to take the piss out of "darkies" and "coons" and the older ones go back into the slavery period when blacks were no more than beasts of burden.
More recently, we've had Brexit being immediately followed by a sharp rise in racist attacks and people of "colour" being asked when they are "going home".
Try putting yourself in an immigrant unfamiliar with these practices before you start throwing your "PC"toys out of the pram - explanation goes miles further than outrage, in my experience.
I'm often surprised why some of these traditions haven't gone the way of The Black and White Minstrel Show or "The Nigger Minstrels" or even Andy Capp or Punch and Judy (a bit of good old traditional comic domestic violence and abuse - always good for a laugh)
Something being old or "traditional" doesn't mean it isn't offensive to some people.
Wonder how we would raect to an Asian comic act showing a stereotype flat-capped Englishman staggering home from the boozer and kicking the shit out of his wife and kids - not well, I suspect
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Gurney
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 12:13 AM

The last time I saw The Black and White Minstrels I realised that one of the guys WAS a negro.
Didn't bother me at all. Amused me slightly.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: meself
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 12:38 AM

And you're Black - right?


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Brenda
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 03:19 AM

It was on the local BBC news and they did interview some people. The concensus on that was about 50/50. THe morris side in question are yet to make a statement.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 03:41 AM

We've done this to death on previous threads..

but.. if a blackface morris is so stupid enough to believe it can transplant it's dubious tradition from rural conservative Cowshitshire
to the metropolitan multicultural centre of 21st century England's 2nd city..
at such a time of post brexit intensified 'us versus them' mistrust and tensions...
... without attracting any complaints or protest...?????

Goes beyond sheer naivety.. to almost verging on deliberate arrogant willful provocation...????????????? 😬


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 03:53 AM

"Wonder how we would raect to an Asian comic act showing a stereotype flat-capped Englishman staggering home from the boozer and kicking the shit out of his wife and kids - not well, I suspect"
It depends how well the comic act was performed, i might laugh i might be bored.
There is absolutely no need for morris dancers to be attacked or violently abused, on the other hand if they covered their faces with any other colour it would stop the problem.
Some might argue why should they change colour, after all it is not racial discrimination, no one is being segregated or made to sit in a certain part of a bus, some people then argue it causes offence, but then it could also be argued offence is in the eye of the beholder.
    if we took these arguments to extremes....Should the New Zealand rugby team be prevented from doing their war dance, because it is a tribal war dance and therefore divisive and anti another tribe.
should the derby tup be stopped because it might be offensive to vegetarians., or an onlooking sensitive ewe or ram.
I leave this decision to those that have a direct link to god and communicate with him regularly, like Joe Offer.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,padgett
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 04:29 AM

Surely the tradition of blacking up was to do with being in disguise ~

from which the word geezer comes ~ whilst cadging drinks and money from

all and sundry and flirting with the ladies ~ if people are offended

they are lacking in knowledge of the tradition ~ not the same as black

and white minstrels by a good bit

The crowds apart from the pc brigade represented by the offended woman

(god 'elp us with pc people!) would probably be usual sort of football "fans" out for a Sunday drink ~ owt for a laugh" against this "dancers"

Ray


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 05:12 AM

Not sure about the Derby GSS, but there are a good number of people who would like to see the Grand National stopped because it is cruel to horses (too many of whom have died in the race recently).

padgett: that it is to do with disguise is a theory, but it isn't clear. Have a look at the Wikipedia page on Border Morris.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: banjoman
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 06:26 AM

senoufou - how would people react if your husband and his brothers were to "White up"
I think this PC business has really gone too far and some element of common sense is now needed urgently.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 07:24 AM

All well and good, Ray, but surely we don't expect everyone who sees Morris dancers to have comprehensive knowledge of the tradition. I love ballet and go whenever I can, but I don't know anything about the technicalities of the dance or the traditions involved. Nor is my duty to know, though I'm aware that a bit of knowledge would enhance my enjoyment. Morris dancing in the street is likely to attract mostly casual passers-by who can't be expected to deeply interpret what they're seeing. And what's wrong with woad anyway.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 07:47 AM

It would be a very interesting experiment banjoman! They do in fact 'white up' in Cote d'Ivoire for some traditional dances.

I think if woad or another colour were used, the Politically Correct Brigade would have the wind taken out of their sails. They'd probably feel a bit disappointed that there was no fight to be had.
I've often found in life that when someone gets on their soapbox looking for an argument, and one smiles, nods calmly and agrees with them, they look a bit downhearted!


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 08:19 AM

The assailants have been described as 'Asian' - this is UK mainstream media code for 'Muslims.

It isn't. It could equally well apply to a Sikh, Hindu or Parsee.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 08:29 AM

DavidCarter ...Derby Tup,not THE Derby horserace


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 08:53 AM

Ah, right, just looked it up and although most search results are about a pub, I do see something about a mummers play. Looks interesting.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 08:55 AM

[dialling tone].... Hello, you have reached the PC Brigade.. how can we help you ?

Please listen to the menu and press the appropriate number to report the horrible dim mean spirited people
you require us to educate and encourage to behave in a more enlightened and positive manner...

We are sorry but the 'report a blackface morris side' team are very busy at the moment and you may have to wait... you are number 27 in the queue...

Please hold, or try again later..

If you require emergency protests and boycotts, please wait until the end of the message and press 'zero...

Thank you for calling and have a progressive day.... 😜


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 08:59 AM

Well I did a rude and tasteless joke involving the word "tits" in the sports bra thread, so I can't possibly be a member of the PC brigade!


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 09:16 AM

P C cup Brigade... ??? 😜


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 10:50 AM

Using face paint or masks as disguise was and still is part of many street festivals and performances. Superficial anonymity is part of the fun. The paint has to be dark enough and matt enough so that the way the light falls on the face is disrupted enough to conceal the features.

Woad isn't dark enough (and it is hard to get off). So maybe something closer to navy blue would be better

That said, I think there is case for limiting the situations in which concealing of the face in public is acceptable - I include large dark glasses as well as and paint, masks etc.

If people didn't keep going on about minstrels how many people in the UK, including non-white ones, would think of it? Most people under 50 will only have heard of the Black and White Minstrel Show as history. It's different in the USA obviously. How long do we have to keep going on about something that is gone for good.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Pariah
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 11:03 AM

I've never believed that there's any such thing as PC, just common decency and sensitivity.

Exactly so.

Goes beyond sheer naivety.. to almost verging on deliberate arrogant willful provocation.

Again, exactly so.

Rather like the idiots who insist on shoving the Confederate Battle Flag in the faces of all and sundry.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 11:43 AM

A few thoughts on Border Morris and Blackface Border:

The first Border, and Blackface, I came across was Silurian from Shropshire, who had an inspired and inspiring leader who explained blackface as disguise.

The second was Shropshire Bedlams who, in my opinion made Border into a spectacle that no other Morris could match. The downside was the spawning of so many of the truly shit Border (blackface or not) that we see today.

Border is the most modern style of the Morris revival and the least supported by any real historic evidence.

What I am absolutely sure of is that Blackface in Border, whether in its time or now, has nothing to do with Minstrelsy or Racism.

The Birmingham protestors were British Asians. It does not matter whether they were black, white, Asian.

Times and attitudes and moral sensibilities change. Morris must recognise this.

If your "tradition" requires disguise then by all means do it, but be a bit more 21st century about it.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 12:24 PM

"almost verging on" Is not good enough, unless...

"Rather like" Is not good enough, unless...

... a debate up to 2016 referendum/election standards is all that is required.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 12:28 PM

i believe Eddy Murphy did white up in one movie, without generating -mass'outrage'.

anyway - who the hell is talking about outrage. this is obviously some twats idea of a media happening! the idea that people just fell about in paroxysms of rage on seeing a gang of nutters armed with handkerchiefs is ridiculous. someone was tipped off and thought this nonsense up.

what morris dancers get up to is about as much interest to the general public as what the British Chess Society gets up to.

(have you noticed how the bastards always make the black chess pieces go second?)


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 12:46 PM

I understand that a hotel manager recently angrily evicted a whole gathering of chess convention guests who were making a lot of noise in the hotel lobby. When asked why he'd chucked 'em out, he said "If there's one thing I can't stand, it's chess nuts boasting in an open foyer."


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 12:46 PM

Haha Big Al, I doubt whether any self-respecting Border Morris side would be seen dead waving hankies!


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 12:58 PM

As simplistic and as lazy as it is for the reactionary right to condemn and dismiss everything that confounds & displeases them
as loony left PC Brigade gone mad...

..it still makes me chuckle every time i see one of them resort to posting this empty headed cliche in our threads...

... daft old blinkered conservative pillocks..

Personally, I won't even consider joining the PC Brigade unless I like the look of the uniforms,
and they provide xxxxl size jackets...

.. and even more incentive if the PC Brigade have their own Brass Marching Band
and a cool imaginative morris side...!!!??? 🙄


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 01:34 PM

How about a Mudcat border Morris side with faces covered in Mud.
Should Joe Offer be Squire?, Bagman?, or Fool?,Joe should definitely be leader.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 01:35 PM

i stand corrected.
folk dance is very complicated. i don't know anything about it. and to be honest when you talk to the participants - they don't seem all that interested or concerned about the whys and wherefores.

i get invited to a lot of folk dance occasions but i can never work out who's doing what to whom, and where the hankies come in. and the hoops. and ribbons. and bells, sticks.

it all melds into one at the wessex folk festival. it all takes place round the harbour in Weymouth. i just hope to fuck morris dancing doesn't become a magnet for political dissent. possibly violence.

the atmosphere seems so pleasant at the moment.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 01:45 PM

Where are EFDSS in all this should they not showing support for Folk Dancers.
EFDSS is the national folk arts development organisation for England. We are here to champion the English traditional arts – music, song, dance, storytelling, customs and traditions – as part of the rich and diverse cultural landscape of the UK.

We're about preserving them, and we do that in our award winning library, the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML) named after our former president, the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.

But we're also about promoting - shouting about the richness and huge variety of art forms and wonderful people that work under this all-encompassing, very elastic term called FOLK, and providing endless opportunities for people to get involved.

And we're about developing. Folk is living, breathing and constantly being re-invented; we encourage artists to be inspired by the songs and dances that have been handed down through the generations and support them in various ways to create new songs, tunes and dances.

From big bands to solo singers, morris dancers to contemporary choreographers, schools to mass participation, intimate folk clubs to major concert halls – our work reaches far and wide. And we'd love you to be a part of it.

Take a look around our website to find out more about our activities, or let us know what you're up to through Facebook or Twitter.

Welcome to the world of folk!"

Katy Spicer
Chief Executive


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 01:50 PM

i suppose it would be nice to get a definitive answer from an expert as tp whether the black face is an important strand of the folk tradition that needs to be explained, or as Jim says, just a load of bollocks.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: meself
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 03:18 PM

From what I've gathered, following these same old arguments on this forum for years - really: nothing new here - and reading the linked articles, etc., there is no definitive answer.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 06:10 PM

meanwhile EFDSS sleeps the sleep of the dead.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 07:51 PM

So the "politics" of Twitter outrage and Facebook abuse have come onto the streets.

Black people in Britain statistically have a lower life expectancy, are more likely to be unemployed, live in poverty or be in gaol.

These things are caused by systems of economic power, privilege, and divide and rule in a capitalist society. Racism is fundamentally about power over others, especially economic power ... not Morris dancing.

It's a wonderful diversion, the right-wing get to wail about "PC gone mad" and liberals get to show-boat their "outrage" without having to fundamentally examine or challenge the society they live in.

The trouble with "Minstrel shows" (there were plenty of other names for them in the past which were far less pleasant), was not just the blacking up. It was the systematic strereo-typing of black people. The "mammy", the lazy bum, the stupid one etc etc. This stereo-typing came out of (mostly) US society and it reflected the racist structures of that society. The music, the actions, the stereo-types (often actually acted by black performers btw) played to the prejudices of the audience, reflected prejudices about African-Americans and rationalised those prejudices in crude forms.

I think you've probably worked out what I'm going to write next ... what has this got to do with Morris dancing? In what way does Morris dancing stereo-type or caricature black people or black peoples culture? In what way does Morris dancing pander to the prejudices of the powerful against the less powerful?

I go back to the shallow meaningless style of "politics" of "Twitter outrage" and the failure of any of them to actually deal with the fundamentals of racism.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: RTim
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 07:54 PM

Good Soldier (and like many I know who you really are!)
The EFDSS have made a clear and unambiguous statement about Blackface, if you don't agree with it OK, but don't make them look bad because of your own aversion to what they do!!

Tim Radford

And I DON'T want to hear you answering back with some withering comment that is irrelevant to the point in question!!


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Andrew Wigglesworth
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 07:55 PM

So the "politics" of Twitter outrage and Facebook abuse have come onto the streets.

Black people in Britain statistically have a lower life expectancy, are more likely to be unemployed, live in poverty or be in gaol.

These things are caused by systems of economic power, privilege, and divide and rule in a capitalist society. Racism is fundamentally about power over others, especially economic power ... not Morris dancing.

It's a wonderful diversion, the right-wing get to wail about "PC gone mad" and liberals get to show-boat their "outrage" without having to fundamentally examine or challenge the society they live in.

The trouble with "Minstrel shows" (there were plenty of other names for them in the past which were far less pleasant), was not just the blacking up. It was the systematic strereo-typing of black people. The "mammy", the lazy bum, the stupid one etc etc. This stereo-typing came out of (mostly) US society and it reflected the racist structures of that society. The music, the actions, the stereo-types (often actually acted by black performers btw) played to the prejudices of the audience, reflected prejudices about African-Americans and rationalised those prejudices in crude forms.

I think you've probably worked out what I'm going to write next ... what has this got to do with Morris dancing? In what way does Morris dancing stereo-type or caricature black people or black peoples culture? In what way does Morris dancing pander to the prejudices of the powerful against the less powerful?

I go back to the shallow meaningless style of "politics" of "Twitter outrage" and the failure of any of them to actually deal with the fundamentals of racism.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: JP2
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 08:15 PM

Silurian Morris are based in Ledbury,Herefordshire not Shropshire!


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 08:43 PM

Tooting Popular Front stand up to the crypto fascist running dogs of mudcat.

for those of us not in the know - what is EFDSS's clear and unambiguous line on black face morris man. not that i'm thinking of becoming one.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: RTim
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 08:49 PM

The EFDSS stated:

Following the decision of Shrewsbury Folk Festival not to programme dance sides that "black-up" and the ensuing publicity this brought, EFDSS would like to be clear about its position.

As we understand, historically dancers used soot or burnt cork to disguise their faces but there is evidence to suggest that the boot-polish, full-face, blacking-up tradition gained popularity during the boom of the late 19th Century Minstrelsy tradition.

EFDSS wants to engage all people in the folk arts, regardless of sex, age, race and religion, so we do not support actions that can alienate sectors of the community. We use contemporary images of dance sides that disguise their faces with the use of masks or non-black paint and patterns in our print, online, and teaching resources, and engage such dance sides for EFDSS events and education projects.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Jan 17 - 10:38 PM

well fair enough - if the experts say its non essential. that should be good enough for everyone, its a thing of the past. lets all drop it!


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 03:30 AM

"Tooting Popular Front stand up to the crypto fascist running dogs of mudcat."
Name-calling is not particularly helpful in these discussions Al - it's too easy to pin on labels and avoid the realities of the argument - "P.C", "do-gooders" and "bleeding hearts" have all become terms of insult in order to excuse injustices an d inequalities in our society and those who persist in using them need to work out the opposites of their meanings.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 03:31 AM

Didn't quite finish
"I've never believed that there's any such thing as PC, just common decency and sensitivity"
This seems to have been one of the most sensible statements in this argument
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 03:36 AM

Jim,

I think you should find out who the Tooting Popular Front are. Al is indulging in satire.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 04:02 AM

RTIM,you have answered the question that should be sufficient, your post of 8 49 was the correct way to answer, unlike the slghtly unpleasant 7 54pm post, please take note.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 04:08 AM

"I think you should find out who the Tooting Popular Front are. Al is indulging in satire."
I know who Wolfie's crowd are M a.t., I always took them to be sit-comers rather than examples of satire - now, Jonathan Swift, on the other hand.....
I took it, based on Al's earlier remarks, that he was taking a poke at us "P.C.ers" and "do-gooders"
If I misunderstood, I aplologise, of course
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 04:31 AM

... now if "PC" became universally accepted to stand for "Progressive Compassion"... 😎

though thinking about it... "Politically Correct" is already absolutely spot on...

because the dim witted use of "PC" as a dismissive insult by the reactionary right
indicates clearly that they are utterly "Politically Wrong"...


.. Pillock Conservatives...!!! 😜


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Howard Jones
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 04:36 AM

The ifs, buts and maybes of blacking up we discussed on here at considerable length only recently. The problem is that the "experts" do not agree, and there is very little hard evidence on either side of the argument. The waters are undoubtedly muddied by the minstrelsy craze. My own opinion favours the disguise argument, since blacking up is most associated with the begging customs such as Border and Molly (the Plough Monday customs are little more than demanding money with menaces). If minstrelsy were the origin, why did Cotswold morris not adopt blacking up? Surely the south Midlands were just as exposed to the minstrelsy craze as the Borders and East Anglia, and it certainly adopted some minstrel tunes, so why did they not black up?

However the origins are probably irrelevant in a modern multicultural society. We can't expect a casual audience to know, or care, about the origins of a tradition, they will form their own conclusions based on what they see. Whilst I think it takes a lot of imagination (or perhaps too little) to look at a morris dancer and think they are impersonating a black person, this is the perspective of a white person with some knowledge of folk customs. It is understandable that the uninformed, especially if they are black, see only the blacked up faces and jump to conclusions.

So what to do about it? Had this happened to any other culture celebrating their traditional customs it would probably be regarded as a hate crime. Dancing blacked up in such a multicultural city as Birmingham might be seen by some as provocative, but a poll by the Birmingham Mail following the incident showed that the majority of respondents supported the dancers, and at least one of the supportive quotes was from someone with an Asian name.

Using a different colour is the obvious solution which many sides have adopted, but while this can be striking I don't think they have the same visual impact as black, neither are they as successful as a disguise. Shropshire Bedlams have changed to wearing masks, but I haven't yet seen these live.

I think some sides which continue to black up could do more to explain the custom, both on their websites and at events (maybe hand out leaflets?). I regret the move away from blacking up, as I don't think the alternatives are as effective, but I think it is probably inevitable. I think we will lose something, but if it means the morris can continue to thrive perhaps this has to be accepted.

I am also disappointed that the EFDSS couldn't have taken a more nuanced approach and been more supportive. However it is now a branch of the Arts Industry rather than an organisation which supports folk traditions so its position on this is unsurprising.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 05:33 AM

If the fundamental purpose of the 'black face' is to celebrate a tradition of rural criminality and to appear menacing..
Then I'd see no problem with the pragmatic adoption of armed robber thug style black stockings or balaclava ski masks...

These are clearly visually powerful disguises that resound with contemporary imagery whilst upholding a tradition of underworld activity....


I do agree that the black face makeup looks very effective as a purely artistic theatrical visual device,
but it is not a mask - more of a direct transformation of skin colour..
and that is overladen with too much contentious and confrontational ideological baggage in this 21st cent multicultural society.

I'd argue that serious creative artists should feel free to refer to to and directly use minstrel imagery
in furtherance af intelligent theatre, performance and gallery works of art..

But a bunch of provincial Jeremy Clarksons that might constitute a mediocre morris side
are hardly on a level with the bad boy Banksys and Damien Hirsts* of modern agit prop art...??? 😬

[*.. and any of those other ones who's names I cant remember this early in the morning - time for first mug of strong black tea..]


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 05:46 AM

Modern day 'guisers

Click and scroll down a little.

:D tG


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 06:20 AM

Bromsgrove Advertiser,
"Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid denied traditional Morris dancers with black face paint are racist. 
Writing on Twitter, he said: "Proud of traditional Morris dancers from Alvechurch (in my constituency). They are as racist as I am #PloughMonday." "


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 06:24 AM

Sajid Javid has never, in my experience, ever opened his mouth and uttered anything even remotely sensible on any topic, I think we can safely let that one go, Keith. 😂


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 08:42 AM

Steve, no.He is Asian and he does not find it offensive, his views on anything else are not relevant,
we need to be fighting racism, for example people being abused because of their colour or segregated because of their colour, or refused jobs because they are irish or if they are romanian hearing that Farage would be uncomforetable with them as neighbours.
Farage lives in Downe in kent a village, where i used to live in the 1950s and 1960s, there is still hardly any, if any black people living there it is white wealthy and middle class with expensive property prices


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 09:10 AM

I tend never to take Tory buffoons seriously, Dick.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 09:16 AM

The obvious point that may need re-emphasising is that whilst black face morris might not in itself be inherently racist,
what really matters is how individuals within morris sides may be exploiting that traditional folk art
to further their own personal agendas of petty minded xenophobia and intolerance...???

In this particular instance in Brum city centre I have my suspicions...

Naturally, any stage managed protests by the activists accused of abusing the poor misunderstood black face morris side,
are playing straight into the hands of right wing press media
who can manipulate and discredit any progressive voices of resistance and multicultural solidarity to appear as PC gone mad... 😣


Btw... Citizen Smith was a popular sit com of stereotypes that could raise a good laugh
from all sides of the political divide.. even if the writers may have been more biased towards an establishment viewpoint...???

Classic British TV of it's era !!!


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 10:01 AM

One of the dancers has reported the incident to the police as harassment and abuse. Maybe it is cynical of me but I sponsorship by the Daily Mail in the offing...

DtG


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 10:01 AM

i'm sorry Jim theres such a predictability about the Wrigglesworth post that that PC could stand for pathetically childish.

i can sympathise with the requests for a more nuanced approach. if your group have been doing their dances that way for over a hundred years - it must feel like a tradition.

i remember when i was a kid at grammar school this kid came from America, and he said to us - how come you guys don't have any traditions? our school in america had loads of traditions.
upon talking to him - it turned out his American school only dated back to the 1930's. but this kid thought the traditions were big deal.
our grammar school in Boston dated back to Henry VIII, and there was a tower in the grounds belonging to Lord Hussey whom Henry had decapitated. yet somehow wehad less traditions...what i'm saying is Jim - you may attach no value to dancing in a way that this blokes grandfather and great grandfather danced, because you suspect it was racist in origin. but why is your suspicion more valuable than these blokes traditions.

anyway. i sort of agree if it DOES cause distress, we shouldn't indulge in a traditional practice.

but i wouldn't give an inch to the Dave spart/Wolfie mouthie gits that you traditionally line up with. its a lousy tradition. it causes me distress. i wish you would stop.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 10:12 AM

I see sponsorship etc...

Not sure of your point, Al. There are some traditions that are worth keeping and some that are lousy and deserve to be done away with. In my opinion of course.

DtG


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Guest Tim
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 10:25 AM

You may be interested, this made Jeremy Vine this lunchtime...


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 10:42 AM

"Jim - you may attach no value to dancing in a way that this blokes grandfather and great grandfather danced,"
I do Al - honestly.
I said at the beginning that I have no real problems with blacking up in regards to Morris, (some of by friends have been Morris Dancers, but I wouldn't like one to marry my sister (joke!!)
I think we should be aware of the possibility of giving offence and avoid them were possible - there really are ways around it rather than stating "it's our tradition, so there!!".
If we're honest, many of these customs are revivals rather than part of a continuum, so where's the harm in adapting them to meet changing times?
I have little tome for strident demonstrations against these practices, I just say that, in the present circumstances, I understand where some of them are coming from.
"Tradition" has been used to cover a multitude of sins in the past - dog-fighting, kicking matches bear baiting, cock-fighting..... and don't get me started about that 'killing for pleasure' foxhunting mob!
I can't remember the cartoonist (maybe it was Bill Tidy) who summed the whole thing up with his Lancashire 'Grannie Hurling' Olymics'.
I have to say, I was one who protested loudly when feminists took offence at many of our folk songs - there was a way around that one too.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 10:52 AM

publicity for morris dancing, anyhow


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Andrew Wigglesworth
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 11:49 AM

From: Big Al Whittle ... "i'm sorry Jim theres such a predictability about the Wrigglesworth post that that PC could stand for pathetically childish."

Sorry Al, I genuinely haven't a clue what you're trying to say there (it's "Wigglesworth" btw).

From: Howard Jones ... "I am also disappointed that the EFDSS couldn't have taken a more nuanced approach and been more supportive. However it is now a branch of the Arts Industry rather than an organisation which supports folk traditions so its position on this is unsurprising."

I think there is some truth in those words, and I'm also rather disappointed but unsurprised.

Jim Carroll ... I have a great deal of sympathy for what you're saying, or, rather, I can see the point that you're getting at and it is a reasonable contribution. Personally, putting on a disguise in the form of makeup, whilst dressed and dancing as a Morris dancer does not come anywhere near blood sports or Lancashire Granny Hurling (it does sound like a Bill Tidy thing). The "moral outrage" shown by some organisations who seem to want sensationalist publicity I would put almost on a level with tabloid journalists who want sensationalist headlines. Morris dancing gets little enough support in the media (none, or ridicule/disdain usually in, say, popular TV) that I find it quite distressing to find it in the middle of such a febrile debate with many characterising it in openly prejudiced or even offensive language.

Despite some of the silly words written here about conspiracies led Morris dancers and parts of a right-wing establishment, Morris is not is a strong position. There are no paid lobbyists, no real political mileage for supporting it, lots of scope for attacking what's seen as a soft easy target. Any "support" on this issue from the likes of the Daily Mail I would shun. It's a classic example of a political debate being held on entirely enemy ground.

Morris dancing may lose this one, it'll continue to exist, but the position of racism in our society will not have shifted one iota. If "politically correct" simply means the use of the "correct" language and the "correct" outwards appearances whilst not challenging and in fact maintaining exploitative economic systems ... then I will maintain a right to criticise those who profess it in that way.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 01:57 PM

Certainly in Croydon, which is one of the most multicultural areas in the UK, so much so that you could probably hear anything up to 20 different worldwide languages within the space of 5 minutes' walking through the centre, to say nothing of the the many badly spoken local English accents - there are certain culprits who delight in jumping on anything as "racist" !!!


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 02:19 PM

i suppose it would be nice to get a definitive answer from an expert[...]

Your joking I hope, Mr Red. I seem to live in a world of alternative truths, one where alignment with ideals yields the truth and (if my memory re Brexit is correct) one where experts may not be needed...

back to topic... I'm not sure where I stand on this. I did very briefly belong to a Border Side (before deciding tunes were my real interest and favouring Irish sessions...) and never (and I guess still don't) saw anything sinister in people blacking up.

On the other hand, I guess it might offend some and the suggestion of woad seems reasonable and is probably the route I'd prefer.

(And if I ever returned to this stick bashing myself, I guess I could wear it despite the risks of being considered a pagan, or worse, a Tory...)


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Guest Tim
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 03:17 PM

My wife just asked, do these Morris Dancers have 10 inch shafts in keeping with political correctness. lol


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 03:25 PM

The EFDSS should to be authorititave on this matter, the statement on their website is wishy washy, they should come down on one side or the other.
my old friend Howard Jones has hit the nail on the head.
"I am also disappointed that the EFDSS couldn't have taken a more nuanced approach and been more supportive. However it is now a branch of the Arts Industry rather than an organisation which supports folk traditions so its position on this is unsurprising."


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 04:31 PM

EFDSS is not the recognised institution when it comes to morris. There is The Morris Ring and there are other morris federations.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 05:20 PM

All of them should be giving a lead including EFDSS, Morris a form of Folk Dance, or perhaps it isnt in Hull?


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 06:01 PM

The EDFSS is as much an authority on modern Morris as the RSPCA. Also you don't seem know what "nuanced" means.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,ripov
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 07:19 PM

Not sure how to put this without upsetting someone, but - is it not strange that "Asians" (not 'black') were upset, and not Africans, in such a multicultural city?


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 07:26 PM

That thought went through my mind too.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 07:31 PM

Why is everyone pondering to political correctness here, this is traditional BRITISH folk let those fuckers protesting and complaining go fuck themselves.

Britain needs to reclaim it's culture, voting UKIP is a positive start folks.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 07:32 PM

Ah, the voice of reason. 😂😂😂


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 09:18 PM

While we are mucking about with variations on the letters PC...

That UKIP ranting GUEST [Date: 11 Jan 17 - 07:31 PM]...

Primitive Cunt... 😜


In the same way he'd force immigrants on a boat or plane to back where ever they came from..

I'd suggest shoving him in a time machine and effin him off back to the 18th Century....

BTW.. thanks so much for proving my earlier point about the types of folk infesting British Folk Music...


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Howard Jones
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 03:59 AM

Morris-ey, are you seriously suggesting that the English Folk Dance and Song Society should not have a view on what is probably the most popular, and certainly the most visible, form of English Folk Dance? Or that its opinion shouldn't carry weight?

I know perfectly well what "nuanced" means, and I'm disappointed the EFDSS couldn't have made a statement which acknowledges the many shades of opinion on this topic. Even if it felt unable to defend the tradition, as I personally would have hoped, it could at least have done more to explain that, whatever the controversy over its possible origins, in the modern revival blacking up has no racist intent. Instead we get a statement which can be summarised as "this looks dodgy, we want nothing to do with it". I would have expected something more from an organisation which in its own words was originally established with the aim of saving and celebrating England's traditional folk songs and dances. However it now appears to have abandoned this and has become an arts organisation - with some success, admittedly, but increasingly irrelevant to many.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 07:38 AM

Dick, the EFDSS is giving a lead on this subject - just not the one you want.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 08:18 AM

no, it is not, it is sitting on the fence, and you have made an assumption on my view of the subject.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 09:12 AM

I would like to see EFDSS taking their responsibilties seriously and giving a clear and unequivocal lead one way or the other


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 09:14 AM

Another local MP defends the Morris.
Michael Fabricant, MP for Lichfield,
"I'm a Morris dancer, I did it in Litchfield where there's a great tradition, there's absolutely no intention whatsoever to make out that you are a black person."


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 09:22 AM

Fabricant..??? sounds like some kind of sci fi synthetic clone / android..

Looking at his photo, and the fact he is a tory... hmmm... perhaps he is...??? 😜


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 09:25 AM

the EFDSS not only miss an opportunity to lead decisively, they miss an opportunity to get national publicity, likewise the morris federations, all of them too busy pussyfooting in the style of beaux of london city


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 09:31 AM

From Chambers (who as well as the books provide one of the most useful apps on my Androids):

Fabricant - noun (archaic) A manufacturer


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 09:36 AM

Guess they need shooting GSS? ;-)


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 09:49 AM

ID imposter fun and games - ignore GUEST punkfolkrocker...


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 11:13 AM

has any official body said that it does cause distress and asked the morris teams to desist.

if there is genuine distress being caused, then in my my mind there is no question. the tradition should go.

as Jim said there was the same thing about wife beating and feminists. husband beating doesn't seem to get them so fired up. in a way - this was sort of overdue . The Stones had been getting grief about Under My Thumb, and Midnight Rambler since the 1960's.

its not without precedent. The Wee Cooper of Fife doesn't get many outings these days, neither do Robert Johnsons blues about giving his old lady what for.
As community and a movement we have dropped songs and practices before.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 12:20 PM

What if any distress were caused as a result of people being told, as if it were fact, that the practice was disrespectful to black people?


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 12:37 PM

What if most UK citizens, whatever their colour, couldn't give a monkey's about the antics of a bunch of aging white blokes
skipping about in feathers and boot polish...???

What if a vociferous minority of political agenda driven zealots are exploiting morris
as a vehicle for stirring up media attention and racial disharmony...??? 😣


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Senoufou
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 02:07 PM

I've just been talking about this thread with my African husband, and telling him what's being said. His view (I've posted about this before on the other thread on the subject) is that when he looks at blacked-up Morris dancers, the very last thing he would think they were impersonating is black people. They look nothing like any African on this Earth.
The first time he saw the phenomenon was at Whittlesea Straw Bear many years ago, and he was astonished to say the least. His first thought (he said afterwards) was,"What the hell are these crazy British people getting up to now? They're all mad!" (Not "How disgraceful, they're poking fun at black people!"
He's sat beside three Old Glory men (they use very black make-up indeed) and laughed, pointing out to them that if he danced with them, at least he wouldn't need any make-up. He finds the very idea of 'being offended' ridiculous. He also says that the 'objectors' are deliberately stirring up trouble for their own ends, and NOT because they're offended at all.
I just thought his views might be of interest here.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 02:47 PM

Well done Keith for dredging up two of the biggest Tory twats in the country, Fabricant and Javid, in support of your cause. Any bets on who he'll dig up for no 3, folks?


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 02:50 PM

Senoufou - with you on that...

I've never been been in accord with activists, whatever their politics - left or right -
who launch into a default mode charade of outrage and offence
just for the principle of it...

.. and even more wary of over sensitive sanctimonious folks who actually do get their knickers in an almighty twist
over the slightest petty offence... 😣

It's to be expected of student militants.. you'd hope they'd mature out of it eventually..

But far too many 'important' politicians regularly make high and mighty prats of themselves on news reports and interviews....

..For me, it should all about real substantial priorities, and perspective...


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,pauperback
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 02:58 PM

Sounds like a MDE (media driven event)
Create the prob, sell you the solution


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 03:30 PM

Michael Fabricant - main claim to fame is that he is the only person in the entire world with more ridiculous hair than Trump. Also there was that thing with llamas.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 05:20 PM

i notice the morris ring have a picture on their website of a blacked up border morris side.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 06:19 PM

Howard Jones and GSS:

Almost no one, in the real world, knows what the EFDSS is. So any statement from them on this issue would have no impact.

Also, the EFDSS is not going to come out in favour or otherwise of a tradition that has no cogent evidence to support its assertions as to blackface.

Whatever, as I said before, we live in a multi-cultural society in 2017 and if Border want to continue the "disguise" conceit then they need to recognise the obvious, even if mistaken, sensitivities of a multi-cultural society.

What plays well in yokel Lincolnshire won't get quite the same reception in London.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 06:43 PM

"Whatever, as I said before, we live in a multi-cultural society in 2017 and if Border want to continue the "disguise" conceit then they need to recognise the obvious, even if mistaken, sensitivities of a multi-cultural society.

What plays well in yokel Lincolnshire won't get quite the same reception in London."
1.So you inSult the people of LINCS, calling them yokels. 2 TheMorris RING seem to have come out in favour of the tradition, they have a picture on their website of blacked up welsh border morris.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 10:51 PM

Alfred Lord Tennyson, former Poet Laureate.
William Rose, designer of the world's first mechanical wrapping machinery.
Sir Halford Mackinder, 'The Father of Modern Geography'.
Sir John Franklin, Arctic explorer.
Dame Sybil Thorndike, celebrated actor.
Sir Isaac Newton, scientist and discoverer of gravity.
John Wesley, founder of The Methodist Church.
Matthew Flinders, mariner, cartographer, and first circumnavigator of Australia.
Sir Joseph Banks, naturalist and botanist.
Margaret Thatcher, politician and former Prime Minister.

Yokels?


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 11:06 PM

be fair John...there's us two, as well


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 11:12 PM

Mornin' Al - insomnia got to you too? 😎😄

Yes, you're right, but I was trying to maintain my usual aura of unassuming modesty!


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 11:50 PM

Backwoodsman - but how many of them are black or asian...???

I think this is more to the point that Morris-ey alludes to,
rather than the sarcastic way he expressed it.
Which is what Dick, and maybe yourself, are taking knee jerk exception to. ?

Please don't distract from the very valid point that provincial rural areas of UK
like Lincoln, Scrumpyshire [where I abode], Shropshire, etc are not as multi ethnically diverse or enlightened, as the great metropolis Cities...

I live in big town in my county which is becoming more multi cultural.
But only a few miles down the road are villages still predominantly white, insular, and very conservative.

However my more modern town is still festering with open resentments and blatant racism from older indigenous residents,
and the younger undereducated...

I look up to Bristol [where I was educated in the 80s] as a true multi cultural society,
yet still with it's own problems and pockets of racists.
Where I'd be fairly certain that blackface morris would be met by protesters...
whether they be white middle class students, black and / or asian activists , lefties, liberals, christians, muslims, or whatever variations and collectives..

All unified in solidarity by the shared common aim of standing up to xenophobic provocations from the nastier element of UKIP & Brexiteers
smugly revelling in victory and a new wave of hostility towards 'immigrants' and any 'alien' cultural values deemed non 'British'...

At this difficult time, blackface morris cannot be so naive, stubborn, or insensitive..
especially when transplanting their 'traditional' practices to modern city centres.....



Btw.. our local morris don't black up. and are none the less dedicated or enjoyable for lack of courting controversy...


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 12 Jan 17 - 11:59 PM

..yeah.. and I just woke up on the sofa after nodding off watching TV 6 and a half hours ago..

just in time to put the bins out...


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 12:05 AM

PFR - I was merely pointing out that not all Yellowbellies are 'Yokels', that some (in fact, many) are well educated, cosmopolitan individuals who have made a substantial impact on the history of this country and the world at large. That's all.

The colour of their skin is immaterial in this context.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 12:07 AM

Correction - The colour of their skin is irrelevant in this context.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 12:29 AM

Point taken and understood as I was reading your list..

Us wurzels have also produced our share of outstanding historic figures.. like errrmmm.... I need to wake up a bit more..

But they are unfortunately not representative of the majority of contemporary post thatcher undereducated 'youth';
and the miserable resentful old tories that dominate my home region... 😬


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 12:37 AM

👍👍😉


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 01:37 AM

i'm sorry pfr - i think your stereotyping of Lincolnshire people is horrible. its the 2nd largest county in England. The towns are very diverse racially and every other way - always have been. i suppose there are small towns like Alford, Spilsby and Louth in the arse end of nowhere - nobody goes there, so fuck knows what goes on.

by and large though, i don't think we're any more insular than the people in Brum and Derby.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 01:37 AM

i'm sorry pfr - i think your stereotyping of Lincolnshire people is horrible. its the 2nd largest county in England. The towns are very diverse racially and every other way - always have been. i suppose there are small towns like Alford, Spilsby and Louth in the arse end of nowhere - nobody goes there, so fuck knows what goes on.

by and large though, i don't think we're any more insular than the people in Brum and Derby.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 01:49 AM

i'm in stereo!


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 02:44 AM

Backwoodsman, great list - Newton in my view equal first in the list of greatest English people (equal with Shakespeare and maybe Roger Bacon). Right up to the last on the list, you lost me there!


Regarding the subject of the post, I now think that Morris dancers should not black up, I was in two minds before. The post which convinced me was this one:


Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jan 17 - 07:31 PM

Scroll back and read it. If blacked up Morris dancers can in anyway be seen as justifying attitudes like this, or having the support of people with attitudes like this, then they should not do it.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 02:59 AM

Big Al - ??????

you alright mate... I've written nothing about Lincolnshire folk..?????

I was talking about my culturally stifled mean spirited lot down here in wonderful west country wurzelful Scrumpyshire....

So maybe now we can stop distracting from thread topic by getting all over sensitively defensive about our home counties..

you know.. divide and rule and all that dominant ideological ruling system malarkey.... 🙄


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Howard Jones
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 04:24 AM

Morris-ey, I don't expect the ordinary person in the street to have heard of the EFDSS, but anyone trying to make up their own minds will come across it soon enough. As the oldest body in this country concerned with folk dance and song, its statements on these topics do carry weight.

I do not expect EFDSS to give a definitive ruling on blacking up (I will not use the loaded term blackface, which has a specific meaning related to minstrelsy). There is very little hard historical evidence to go on, and people can only make their own minds up as best they can from this limited evidence. Unsurprisingly they come to different conclusions, but these are only opinions, and no one knows the real truth of the matter. I don't expect EFDSS to untangle this, or for it to be any more capable of finding the real answer than anyone else.

However, to repeat what I said earlier, I would have expected an organisation formed to preserve and celebrate English folk music and dance, to have explained this in more detail than it has. I would also have expected it to explain that the Border (and Molly) revivals retained blacking up because it was a distinctive and striking characteristic of the original traditions, and in the belief that it was done for disguise, although this belief is now being challenged.

Had it done this I would have more respect for its own position, which would then show respect for (or at least acknowledgement of) the original tradition while being bold enough to change to reflect a different society. Instead the statement it has issued gives me the impression that it is embarrassed by the whole thing and wants to wash its hand of the nasty business as quickly as possible.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,padgett
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 04:35 AM

The issue is by and large a load of twaddle ~ racist connotations clearly in the minds only of non folkies who have made wrong conclusions regarding the black and white minstrels ~ the only concessions that COULD be made (though I think should not) is colour change to say blue or red, or partial "blacking"

What a load of idiots who are simply as said by me earlier displaying the usual traits of football "fans" on match days expressing their frustations on owt they don't follow or is different to their "senses"

Ray

The Brittania Coconutters are a National Institution for example and long may they sup their beer, dance and perform and black up


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 05:07 AM

padgett - Well you can say all that in such a dismissive manner...

But aren't 'non folkies' a significant majority of the UK population...???

...that's by your reckoning a hell of a lot of idiots..

Idiots who by sheer numbers hold a lot more sway, with media, public opinion leaders, and public policy legislators...


A damn sight more than the slither of 'majority' that won Brexit... 😜


This is why it's essential for survival of BlackUp / Face morris and Coconutters, that the care-holders of these traditions
present and explain themselves to a wider public in a far more intelligent and considerate manner..

Arrogance, insensitivity and a superiority complex will lead to their downfall.....????


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 05:29 AM

The EFDSS statement in the Winter 2016 EDS contains a useful reading list, for anyone who wants to check the facts. The one thing that all the authors are agreed on is that there is no evidence of blacking up in border morris before the minstrelsy period (which starts in 1836).


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 05:49 AM

This is why it's essential for survival of BlackUp / Face morris and Coconutters, that the care-holders of these traditions
present and explain themselves to a wider public in a far more intelligent and considerate manner.


Yes, but it's hardly the biggest challenge to achieving a happy multicultural society. Their are others that can't be explained in a couple of sentences.

Soft target (e.g. without funds to meet a legal challenge) for activists wanting something to activate about I reckon.

Something easier - is there any evidence for Morris dancers refering to it as 'blackface'? If not is doing so in this debate ignorance or activism.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 06:00 AM

Why would anyone in the Welsh borders want to ridicule black person. Few in the audience would ever have seen one. If they had seen a minstrel show they would probably not have regarded it as ridiculing black people. Ask yourselves you (in the UK) who saw the Black and White Minstrel Show on TV - did you regard it as ridiculing black people?

More likely I think that someone in the borders saw the posters for a minstrel show and thought 'hey that black stuff would be fun for the morris side'


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 06:01 AM

Few in the borders in the 19th century I mean.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 06:02 AM

GUEST - OK I try not to talk complete happy clappy bollocks,
where have I ever intimated that achieving a multicultural utopia
rests on dragging a bunch of awkward bugger morris dancers into the 21st Century...

I would hazard a guess that activists who are vehemently anti, and activists who are militantly pro blacked up face
are probably all a bunch of fuckwit zealots in their own peculiar and anti social ways...???

If I habitually use the term black face rather than blacked up.. then apologies if it is a petty annoyance..

What do I know...???
I live down in a part of the south west where morris men are manly enough and unashamed
to not need to hide their true faces in public behind masks... 🙄


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 06:20 AM

Minstrelsy was huge in the 19th century. The border morris sides picked up on the musical instruments associated with it as well as the look, not to mention music hall songs such as Not for Joe. While we would now see it as racial stereotyping, the point back then was to keep traditions alive by injecting them with a bit of popular culture. It's a bit ironic that these innovations are championed by those who want to resist changing things to keep them up-to-date.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 06:33 AM

Dunno about those activist zealots. Is this an issue worth discussing at all or should we just let these dancing geezers get on with it? Throughout history it's often been activist zealots who have brought issues to the fore so that potential injustices at least can't be ignored. Activist zealotry may have played a large part in getting the slave trade abolished and doing away with apartheid.

So is the game worth the candle or not apropos of this *relatively* minor issue? It won't change the world much if Morris men stop blacking up. On the other hand, it wouldn't hurt much if they just quietly dropped the practice. Strikes me that pig-headed principles should not be resorted to on either side of this by people who regard themselves as grown-ups. Don't carry on doing it and find another way is what I think, on balance. But if they do carry on I will be giving an extremely small damn.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 06:41 AM

I `ad that Fred Tankard-Beard in my cab the other day. I gavver e`s the new National Captain of Dance. `e was on `is way to the EFDSS to chair a meeting about them `as wants to do away with the centuries old tradition of blacking faces when Morris dancing. I could see `e `ad been dancing the night before. `e `ad bits of charcoal black around `is ear`ole.
I said, "`Morning Fred. That Mudcat seems to `ave it`s knickers in a twist again about this old chestnut. You got any thing to say about it?"
`e said, "Jim, I`ve gotta be even `anded about this and `aving spent sleepless nights realising that no one opinion is going to change anything, I shall propose the only solution."
I said, "What`s that then. That the EFDSS come down on the trad. side?"
`e said, "No Jim. A referendum!!"

Whaddam I Like??


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 06:42 AM

Steve - Oh bumflaps.. you caught me out on that one..

I was trying to maintain a public face of objective neutrality,
whilst inside I obviously sympathise with the more moderate multiculturalist protesters.... 😎

There you go.. I'm outed..

.. and, the moral is ..

It's better to not hide behind masks...!!! 🙄


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 08:02 AM

sorry PFR.

it was Morris-ey who called us yokels.

cheeky sod!


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 08:10 AM

no probs Big Al...

Yesterday I was being pestered by an ID imposter "GUEST punkfolkrocker"..

Clever twat seems to think I'd be upset if he/she posted 'outrageous' posts in my name...!!!???

Mods deleted all posts I was aware of..
but I was wondering if the malignant wanker had slipped in another post,
which you read, and mods deleted in the hour or so between my last post and yours.

So good then, that wasn't the problem..

take care mate...


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Howard Jones
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 09:53 AM

I'm sure I've seen a study which showed some evidence of blacking up prior to the minstrelsy period, but this is on another computer and I can't access it. It is also relevant that prior to the same period blacking up was illegal under anti-poaching laws. When these laws were repealed morris teams may have simply resumed blacking up without necessarily being influenced by minstrelsy which justhappened to be introduced around the same time.

Minstrelsy was indeed a huge craze during the same period as morris, but correlation does not necessarily imply causation - this is a well-known "trap" when looking at data. Because minstrelsy was so popular I find it significant that blacking up was not more widespread in morris, and it seems to been found in the traditions most associated with begging customs which lends support to the disguise interpretation. My own conclusion is that minstrelsy was not the origin of blacking up in morris, although that those traditions which already blacked up (or which used to before the Black Acts) naturally adopted more of the trappings of minstrelsy than those which did not already do so. I accept this is only conjecture of course.

I don't think we should be ashamed of our traditional customs which involve blacking up. If teams or individual performers are uncomfortable with it and decide to do something different that is their choice, but I don't think they should be forced to, and especially not by violence or intimidation.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 10:01 AM

Only a few posts on this thread have mentioned Britannia Coconut dancers. Their website says "the custom of blackened faces are thought to reflect a pagan tradition as a disguise from the evil spirits / and part of the mining connections". It also says "the dances are known to be originated with Moorish pirates which the costume is that of what a Moorish pirate would wear." Take those statements with as much salt as you like: I suggest several handfuls. But still, is there the slightest chance of their changing from blacking up?


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 10:50 AM

I took the opportunity to ask someone involved in a multicultural dance project not far from Bacup what the local view of the Coconut dancers was.

I was told that so far as the creative arts in the area was concerned they were 'old and irrelevant'.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Rumncoke
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 10:50 AM

Perhaps someone could look for any reference to the wearing of pheasant feathers by border morris sides.

I have a strong suspicion that the blacking up has far more to do with the surreptitious acquisition of the former owners of the feathers than mocking skin colour - particularly as anyone working outside in all weathers would have a permanent tan.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 01:15 PM

Latest development


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Andrew Wigglesworth
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 06:44 PM

That report in the Bromsgrove Standard. I don't suppose there's anything else you'd expect the Police to say.

Just looking at Alvechurch Morris, it occurs to me that this whole thing could be pretty easy to solve ... hang in here.

Darker colours, especially black, seem to favour the "look", disguise or perhaps "menacing" aspect of the makeup ... so, why not just add a bit of a stripe across the face, zig-zags on the cheek of white, silver or gold or something similar. It would deflect this whole argument and we could just get back to dancing and watching the dancing.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 06:53 PM

Well said, Andrew.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 06:57 PM

just looked at Dave the G's picture!

What a load of nutters!

they'll take some explaining away!


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Jan 17 - 09:32 PM

Can't remember if I said this in a previous thread..
but look to world war one Dazzle Ships for imaginative cool abstract camouflage markings
purposely designed to disguise, disorientate, and confuse....


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Snuffy
Date: 14 Jan 17 - 03:42 AM

Some sense being talked at last! Nobody has objected to dancers wearing disguise, only to painting the whole of the face entirely black.

Any other colour, or combination of colours and designs is acceptable. This is the position taken by FRESH, Shrewsbury Folk festival and EFDSS - see Rtim's 10th January 08:49 posting of the EFDSS statement: "We use contemporary images of dance sides that disguise their faces with the use of masks or non-black paint and patterns in our print, online, and teaching resources, and engage such dance sides for EFDSS events and education projects."


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 14 Jan 17 - 04:06 AM

Bowie did the face painting thing to perfection - much more interesting than just blacking-up.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Howard Jones
Date: 14 Jan 17 - 07:34 AM

Andrew Wigglesworth, a number of sides do just that, rather than using completely different colours they go for black patterns or only partial blacking.

If teams or individuals choose to do something different to blacking up, either because they are uncomfortable with the historical associations or simply feel it is inappropriate in today's society, that is entirely up to them. However if they are being pressured, or worse intimidated, into doing so that is a very different matter. To give in to that sugggests that we should be ashamed of our traditions, and I don't believe we have any reason to be.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 14 Jan 17 - 07:58 AM

painting the face black has nothing to do with racial discrimination, racial discrimination is about people being discriminated against when applying for jobs or entering pubs cafes or being forced to sit in a certain part of a bus because of their colour or race., or being called abusive names, since when has BLACKED UP MORRIS DANCING BEEN RACIAL DISCRIMINATION.
if sides refused to let someone dance on the basis of their colour or sex now that is discrimination, The morris ring have been guilty of gender discrimination in the past.
hypothetically does anyone object to black or brown people painting their faces white or pink.
I am against any kind of racial discrimination OR ANY KIND OF GROUP DISCRIMINATION.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 14 Jan 17 - 10:15 AM

It's not quite that though, Dick. Racism and racial discrimination are two different things. Making fun of people on the basis of the colour of their skin is not discriminatory but it is racist. I know that Morris teams are not making fun of people but to some it may look like they are. While I would never dream of preventing anyone from blacking up if the wanted to, I would not do it myself as I think it could viewed, as it has in this case, as offensive to some. And there are good alternatives.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 14 Jan 17 - 10:34 AM

There are genuine issues of discrimination that need to be dealt with,   attacking morris dancers for blacking up is tilting at windmills, morris dancers who black up do it to disguise themselves not to mock people who are black or brown, now if a morris side contained a black or brown ? would people object if they pinked up
I wish there were more black or brown or chinese or japanese doing border morris, then perhaps those ignorant people that attacked morris dancers might start to cop on, meanwhile the morris ring still uses gender discrimination against women.
people need to start fighting real issues of discrimination not this phoney claims of racism, racism and racial discrim ination are the same "thing. here are two different dictionary definitions of racism
1.prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior."
2.the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
the above examples are not the case with boder morris sides


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 14 Jan 17 - 10:53 AM

The morris ring is run by a bunch of ignorant wankers.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 14 Jan 17 - 11:18 AM

so Dave, according to definition in dictionary racism and racial discrimination are one and the same. SO CAN WE FIGHT GENUINE RACISM.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 14 Jan 17 - 12:05 PM

Racism and racial discrimination are not the same thing, Dick. Bernard Manning told racist jokes but he did not discriminate against letting 'Nignogs' or 'Pakis' into the Embassy club. But, yes, we can fight genuine racism by stopping discrimination, racial abuse and stereotyping.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Andrew Wigglesworth
Date: 14 Jan 17 - 12:42 PM

Howard Jones: I completely agree with you, and yes, it may have come across as a moment of blinding revelation, but I do know that some sides do this already. Sides could be between the proverbial rock and a hard place on this issue if it continues to gain ground, maybe it'll sensibly die back down, but the policy made by a certain folk festival and the EFDSS statement doesn't give much hope. Personally, I'd be supportive of any team who wished simply to continue doing what they do, as you say, without shame ... but who knows what will happen next :-(


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 14 Jan 17 - 01:01 PM

This is not about racism or discrimination.

It is about having a degree of sensitivity, or at least a degree of social awareness, that if you put on blackface and dance in a major city where there is a significant population of non-white British (but as British as anyone else) then you might expect to called out about it.

If you live in some RoI backwater, or yokel Lincolnshire, or Shitkickshire, then you really have no idea or more likely don't care


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 14 Jan 17 - 02:43 PM

Or even Ignorantcuntshire, like Morris-ey.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,pauperback
Date: 14 Jan 17 - 06:18 PM

Portland Oregonians have been heard using Clackamastan for the cowboy boot, and cowboy hat wearing Clackamas County.

Rural vs Urban. No love lost there.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 15 Jan 17 - 04:49 AM

Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Dave the Gnome - PM
Date: 14 Jan 17 - 12:05 PM

Racism and racial discrimination are not the same thing, Dick. Bernard Manning told racist jokes but he did not discriminate against letting 'Nignogs' or 'Pakis' into the Embassy club. But, yes, we can fight genuine racism by stopping discrimination, racial abuse and stereotyping.

Cheers

DtG.
if he told racist jokes of course he discriminated, what planet are you on.
border morris sides using black paint ate not being racist or racialy abusing anyone or discriminating racially or stereo typing, they have simply gone out to do some border morris dancing.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 15 Jan 17 - 04:52 AM

refusing to let people join a morris side because of their race is disacrimination , but this has not happened, however the morris rimng has discrimated against women joining morris sides. what are your views on that, that is genuine discrimination


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 15 Jan 17 - 07:50 AM

"if he told racist jokes of course he discriminated, what planet are you on.
border morris sides using black paint ate not being racist or racialy abusing anyone or discriminating racially or stereo typing,
they have simply gone out to do some border morris dancing.
"

Dick - you simply can't state that with such dogmatic certainty because as far as we know, accomplished as you are, you are not a mind reader.. !!!

None of us know what lies in the hearts and minds of every single individual involved in black up face morris...???

How many may be deliberately, knowingly, provocatively participating in this traditional dance
with the added intention & motivation of winding up the 'lefty liberal PC Brigade'
and stirring up racial disharmony at a time of escalating divisive cultural tensions...???

Now is not a time for naevety and denial...

We do know for a fact UKIP / Brexiteers are gloating in their mean spirited crusade and slender percentage victory,
and that racist attacks are on the increase...

Mere coincidence... really...????? 😣

All this at as certain reactionary arseholes make bold public statements about reclaiming Britain for the 'British'..

Of course a hardcore of known British ultra right wing thug groups have infiltrated and appropriated British Folk Culture
as a symbolic 'flag' to rally around in defense of the realm..

That is objective demonstratable fact... !!! 😠


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 15 Jan 17 - 07:54 AM

.. Though when I say "infiltrated".. let's not deny that so many as cannot be counted
were already embedded from within the heart of folk to the fringes for decades by the very nature of rural folk culture,
and are still sowing the seeds of 'Fortress Britain' xenophobia in new generations.... 🙄


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Senoufou
Date: 15 Jan 17 - 09:19 AM

The one thing that would put a stop to these 'racism' accusations once and for all, is if lots of black people became members of Border Morris sides. I say 'black' because that is the colour of the make-up, but of course all ethnicities taking part would be excellent. I've never seen a black person dancing, (only my husband when invited into a dance while watching). I once attended a Morris Ring event in Weston-Super-Mare where I noticed a Sikh in a turban dancing with a Cotswold side.
Anyone else know of black Morris dancers anywhere?


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 15 Jan 17 - 09:33 AM

Senoufou - truly integrated dance would be brilliant - just imagine the fire that Bhangra could bring to pep up moribund morris..!!! 😎

Forward and outward thinking brit folk notables have promoted high profile multicultural projects
like "Imagined Village"..

which as to be expected was received with much hostile resistance by too many old guard folkies... 😣


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Howard Jones
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 04:08 AM

Some sensible comments from the "other side":

Banning black face isn't fighting racism


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 04:11 AM

if he told racist jokes of course he discriminated, what planet are you on.

Thanks for the constructive and civil response to what I thought was a perfectly valid statement, Dick. Excuse me if I totally ignore it.

DtG


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Senoufou
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 04:30 AM

Howard Jones, I do like that article you posted very much indeed. And I particularly liked the line that says going by all the racist accusations, one would think Border Morris is '... the arts and crafts wing of the British Nationalist Party.' Brilliant!

The point of the article is very true, that by banning black-face one is denying people the right to present themselves as they see fit for their tradition, and would engender resentment and ill-feeling which would be counter-productive to good relations and tolerance between the many different cultures here in UK.

We actually have a fabulous, rich mix of loads of interesting cultural traditions here, and far from accusing each other of racism, we should be celebrating our luck in having all this diversity. I actually wonder if there is any country in the world with such a wonderfully wide selection of folk dance, song, costume and art?


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Senoufou
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 07:35 AM

Well the numbers involved isn't the point really. If one single chap did himself up in Minstrel make-up and parodied black folk on a street corner in Norwich, I'd be deeply offended on behalf of my husband.

Liberalism isn't a blanket term for 'anything goes' or a carte blanche for allowing anything and anybody to arrive/act here in UK without control. But it does promote tolerance, acceptance and respect for the diversity which already exists here. To me it represents basic kindness and politeness.

Brexit to me (and many people I've discussed it with) is a result of the sheer numbers of people arriving here from other countries needing housing, schooling, medical care and employment, which we're finding it harder and harder to provide. It's nothing to do with their ethnicity, nationality or culture etc. We're overloaded, stretched to the limit and full up, so it's time to shut the door!


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 08:27 AM

right then.. I've just read Howard Jones's link, and that website's about profile...

It's more or less in accord with my sarcastic mindset and lefty liberal values..
[even though i'd bet more than a fair few right wing libertarians support that site...???]


So just to recap, and make my position clearer...

In an ideal mature sane society I'd be in favour of the visual theatrical impact of blacked face morris..
I think it looks good.

I'd also accept serious artists utilizing minstrel and golly imagery in their artistic expression
to explore ideas, confront, and stimulate viewers and audiences..

But right now post brexit Britain ain't an ideal society,
and is probably doomed to become even les fair and tolerant then it struggles to be right now..???

So in this climate, the onus must be on Blacked up face morris
to take full responsibility for their own, and their supporters attitudes and actions,
and accept the consequences when they inadvertently [..maybe even, deliberately...???] antagonise and offend........

Not too much to ask really.. is it..????


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 08:45 AM

PFR, stop sleeping with the TV on.

Senoufou, liberal = generosity, which makes great leaders, and Nations.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 09:03 AM

Sleeping with the telly on is a British gentleman's sacred right...

I am taking a stand against uninspiring tv shows by actively & militantly nodding off for freedom and justice...!!! 😜

.. Also I probably eat far too big evening meals.....

..and that's proper traditional British grub like bangers and veg curry 'n' rice... !!! 😋


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Senoufou
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 09:19 AM

I have just had a post removed from this thread. In my opinion it was hardly controversial or inflammatory, and was in response to other posts. If my considered opinions are not wanted here, and are being censored for some unfathomable reason, I see no point in continuing to contribute to this forum.
Maybe whoever removed it might like to explain why.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 09:25 AM

Senoufou - There in no reasonable justification for today's arbitrary deletions..

AS you can see I have kept a copy of the lost posts.

I think a PM formal complaint from you to Joe or another sensible mod, would carry more weight than one from me..


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Jeri
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 10:07 AM

Keep in mind that this is, so far, a music thread. It's not an opportunity to have a BS debate above the line so guests can stir up trouble. The posts that I saw weren't about the subject at hand. They were either trolls or people dancing to the trolls' tunes.

Senoufou and punkfolkrocker, if you want to have a debate about British political policy as it pertains to perceived racism, you're perfectly capable of starting a thread below the line.

And THIS post ought to be deleted at some point.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 10:20 AM

Hi Jeri - I've been well aware this thread is treading a delicate balance between 'folk' and BS..
but so far it seems to me mostly good humoured
and the 'politics' pertinent to seriously discussing the wider context & ramifications of the music/dance topic under discussion....

From my 30 odd years ago degree/post grad background in arts, media, and ideology,
it is a natural and inescapable binding of 'folk' ideas and 'politics' ideas..


In such a debate, not so easy to enforce strict demarcation lines... 🤔

And dare I say, I think most have us have been fairly tolerant and respectful throughout this thread...

It's certainly not fair to upset Senoufou by stifling her expression of deeply personal concerns on this subject... ????


Posts that responded directly to a troll's remarks were removed. The moral of this episode: Don't Feed the Trolls. Just ignore their remarks and they will be removed. ---mudelf


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 10:37 AM

For the record, I am with Jeri on this. The thread was dragged off topic by some quite objectionable GUEST posts. Its best not to respond, though briefly and unwisely I did.

Now, lets have some sensible discussion of when blacking up originated in border Morris, and whether it originally had any racial motivation. As far as I can see experts don't agree on this, and Wikipedia is equivocal.

And then my personal opinion: if the answer to the second is, or conceivably could be, yes, then lets not do it.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: robomatic
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 11:06 AM

I think this is a specific example of a general trend: As peoples interpenetrate each other, the phenomenon also known as multiculturalism, they are exposed to each others' belief systems and traditions. There is a lot of information out there, and not only is a lot of it wrong, a lot of it is not understood correctly, a different kind of wrong.
So blacking up in England is interpreted similarly to blacking up in America, which was a tradition which is not poorly thought of. This conflation leads to resentment.
There is a multi-hundred years old tradition among the Dutch called "Zwarte Piet". It is not a thoudand years, and it is based on a book, but it is beloved among some, and now under attack.
In some cases maybe an explanation and education suffices. But in others, some traditions deserve to be kiboshed no matter how old they are.
Note the announcement in the United States just within the last two days that the grandest circus in American history is going to go defunct. This has gone on for almost a century and a half.
And the tradition of bull-fighting has been diminishing over the last few years and it is certainly over a thousand years old with major religious connotations, both pagan and Judeo-Christian.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 11:13 AM

I would agree with that, David and made the decision not to do so myself some time back. I would however not dream of imposing that choice on anyone else. Make up is a very personal thing - Just ask any of the ladies here :-)

Provided that it is obviously not a 'minstrel' type of make up I can't see how it would cause offense but at some point, someone may take offense anyway :-( Why risk it when there are many good alternatives?

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 11:14 AM

David Carter (UK) - ok... in my estimation.. it doesn't really matter what the original intent and motivation was..
perhaps too far lost back in time...???

What is important is..

Now.. how is Blacked up face morris perceived by a majority of British multi ethnic population
who are not interested or knowledgeable in our specialist hobby / academic obsession...??? 🙄

.. and then it's not as if most of them will ever encounter morris anywhere in their lives..
apart from maybe stumbling across a morris side on a trip to the shops in a town or city centre...

Just like any the other oddballs and nutters who take their turn at putting on a show event in a public space..

Actually what is more entertaining or outrageously offensive to a a casual passing uninformed public audience..
blacked up face morris skipping about in feathers and boot polish,
or any of the sermonising evangelical religious zealots
shouting that we are all doomed to hell as we make our way to the pound shop or Argos....


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 11:16 AM

Just as I hit post I thought of what may make, in my mind, an excellent alternative. How about Green Man-esque type camouflage? Links in a couple of pagan elements quite well :-)

D.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 11:27 AM

There's very interesting & intelligent stuff going on amongst the pagan folk culture bands / artists in Europe..

Which does involve some forms of face darkening..


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 11:39 AM

For example 😎


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Senoufou
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 11:47 AM

No thanks Jeri, I have no wish to start anything with anyone.
I'm off.
Eliza


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 12:01 PM

If you want to do your own research start with the following (generally easier to make sense of than the confusing and inaccurate Wikipedia page):
Gordon Ashman, 1988. Custom in conflict : the morris dance in the Shrewsbury and Ironbridge area of Shropshire. Traditional Dance, 5/6, p. 135-151.
Teresa Buckland, 1990. Black faces, garlands, and coconuts: exotic dances on street and stage. Dance Research Journal, 22(2), Autumn 1990, p. 1-12.
Roy Palmer, 2004. The folklore of Shropshire. Almeley : Logaston Press, p. 263-269.
Roy Dommett, 2012. Blacking up and "Border" morris. Morris Matters, 31(1), p. 15-16.
Derek Schofield, 2005. A black and white issue? English Dance & Song, Summer 2005, p. 12-14.
Chloe Metcalfe, 2013. To black up or not black up? Morris Federation Newsletter, Winter, p. 6-9.
Charlotte Burne, 1886. Shropshire folk-lore, vol. 3. London : Trübner & Co.
E. C. Cawte, 1963. The morris dance in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire. Journal of the EFDSS, 9(4), p. 197-212.
Dave Jones, 1995. The roots of Welsh border morris. Putley : Annie Jones, 75 p.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Jeri
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 12:21 PM

I might as well weigh in on this.
It doesn't seem to me that "blacking up" has much to do with minstrelry. The latter pokes fun at Black people while appropriating their music. It's about acknowledging the quality of music while ridiculing people.
The morris dancing doesn't seem to ridicule, doesn't usurp anyone else's traditions. The only thing it has in common with minstrelry is the black faces. In short, I don't see any hatred, disdain, or ridicule. I don't know (does anyone, for sure?) that the black faces aren't chimney-sweepesque or a form of disguise. Even if they ARE trying to look like Black people, without the negative stuff, I don't see the problem. People who try to look like another group of people are pretty common.

I realize some people will take offense. To some extent, perception=reality, and no matter how factually wrong they may be, their opinions and feelings are real. Whether folks adjust their behavior based on other people's perceptions is decision only they can make. I don't want to get caught up in saying whether they're right or wrong.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 01:45 PM

It is also relevant that prior to the same period blacking up was illegal under anti-poaching laws

"Roll up! Roll up! We're your local poaching team, here to entertain you with our traditional dance..."

I don't think so. Sounds about as likely as a pickpocketing shanty.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 02:45 PM

ok.. heres one of them there metaphor thingies for consideration

Our very small west country market town where I grew up..

[20 miles down the road from where i now live..]

In the mid 1960s when I was kid walking to junior school and back with my mates we'd often pass by one of the harmless town nutters..

All year round he rambled the streets of the estate in nothing but a very tight T shirt
and a very skimpy pair of speedo style swimming trunks

.. dunno .. maybe some kind of health freak..

He never approached or bothered us kids, and the adults laughed him off as that soft in the head bloke in his Y fronts...

Fast forward to 2017.. would he be so casually tolerated near kids nowadays..???

Times and appropriate public behaviour have seriously changed, and people need to adapt for their own survival... 🙄

I won't even mention weird old Alfie who lived in the bungalows... ???


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 04:08 PM

Doesn't this all seem very strange? Unreal...
I mean really, who gives a shit about Morris dancers?

perhaps their mothers, i suppose...perhaps...


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 05:57 PM

Well, me for one, Al. There may be a lot who would agree with you but without dance, music would not be as rich as it is. One of the beauties of English folk music, to me, is that a lot of it has roots in both social and ceremonial dance. I can't imagine a world without all manner of dance and even though I am well past my sell by date when it comes to Morris, the traditional tunes can still set my feet tapping. I cannot say the same for a lot of contemporary folk but I would never suggest no one is interested.

DtG


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 06:15 PM

I think I have an odd relationship there dtg. I love dance tunes and play a few (mostly Irish). I can also like to think a tune is going the way imaginary dancers would enjoy. But my "home" is really a session.

In a sense I suppose the dancers are not needed but where would the music have been without them???


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Jan 17 - 09:34 PM

Jeri, I think it's wise to be moderate in moderation. This is a controversial subject, and no doubt there will be controversial posts. Until people start killing each other, it's best to let the discussion work itself out. I undeleted a few posts, but left the ones deleted that were just infighting.
Folks, we try our best to allow free discussion in the music section, but we do depend on people working on their own to self-moderate. If somebody's obviously trolling, please don't respond to them. We'll take care of it, if there's a need.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 18 Jan 17 - 02:32 AM

Wise words, Joe.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jan 17 - 05:23 AM

Times and appropriate public behaviour have seriously changed, and people need to adapt for their own survival...

Times are aways changing. There have always been multicultural societies where people avoid day-to-day conflict through a combination of tolerance, courtesy (maybe of a formal kind) and sensitivity to others.

Times may have changed such that activists (and anti wierdo vigilante groups) can usually get away with abuse without risking an on-the-spot fight.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Mo the caller
Date: 18 Jan 17 - 05:27 AM

Another Morris team has just voted to accelerate their move away from black to patterns (already most of the side wore 2 colours, now they all will)


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Jan 17 - 07:28 AM

"Times may have changed such that activists (and anti wierdo vigilante groups) can usually get away with abuse without risking an on-the-spot fight."

I detect a touch of the pejorative there, Guest. There are definitely two sides to this. The Morris team Mo referred to represent the other side where common sense and sensitivity prevail. Mind you, Mo, don't let the Zebra Liberation Front hear about those stripes! 😉


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Jan 17 - 07:30 AM

Oops, you didn't say stripes, did you? Where did I read that...? 🙄


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Jan 17 - 07:47 AM

Using stripes or patterns was common certainly going back to 1901 in Abram, Lancashire. There are two examples on the back row of that photo. Not sure about the chap second from the left though!

Abram Morris have kept the tradition to the present day. I don't know who the handsome chap in these two photos is as he is obviously disguised but he seems very familiar...

:D tG


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Jan 17 - 09:00 AM

As always you miss the point in the usual attempt to sling shit, Dave. Usually ably assisted by your Mudcat mates.

The point I was making - who would mastermind a public intrusion into what consenting adults get up to, usually - it has to be said - whenever it ventures forth from folk festivals and country jamborees to mass indifference. the image of morris dancers folornly jumping around to the leaden beat of a drum, melodeon and badly strummed guitar in a shopping precint near you - will be a familiar one to many of us.

it goes against the tolerant and laid back tenor of the times we live in. I think it will be interesting to see what next artistic endeavours comes under attack from this group.

They're going for the weakest first, like Mrs Whitehouse did with Gay News and the National theatre a generation ago.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jan 17 - 10:15 AM

I detect a touch of the pejorative there, Guest.

Not at all. I was promoting tolerance and civilized procedures.

That line followed on from punkfolkrocker's "Fast forward to 2017.. would he be so casually tolerated near kids nowadays..???". It is not uncommon for non-tolerance in that sort of context to make itself seen in the form of ad-hoc group from the community who runs little risk of getting puches on the nose. There are better procedures to deal with such concerns.


Similarly for worries over the perception of blacked-up dancers. My disagreement with punkfolkrocker is over how times have changed. 200 years ago protests against a bunch of dancers may have ended up in a fight - but the protest may not have happened for that reason. We are more civilised now. It is not neccassary to try to knock dancers hats off etc. Unless you are after publicity rather than reasoned debate.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Jan 17 - 10:21 AM

As always you miss the point in the usual attempt to sling shit, Dave. Usually ably assisted by your Mudcat mates.

Huh?

No shit slung by me, Al. I thought it was you who said "I mean really, who gives a shit about Morris dancers?" and my response was "... but I would never suggest no one is interested."

Still, I suppose you have proven the point that whatever anyone does someone will take offense!

Thanks for that :-)

DtG


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Jan 17 - 10:28 AM

I also just noticed the image of morris dancers folornly jumping around to the leaden beat of a drum, melodeon and badly strummed guitar in a shopping precint near you - will be a familiar one to many of us

None of the Morris sides I have ever seen folornly (sic) jump around. They are enthusiasts and enjoy it remendously. Nor can their music be descriped as leaden or badly played. If this is an example of you not 'slinging shit' I would hate to see what happens when you bend your mind to insults!

What on earth do you have against Morris dancers? Or am I missing the point again? If so, could you please explain?

DtG


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,jojofolkagogo
Date: 18 Jan 17 - 10:51 AM

The reference to use Woad is an excellent one - have just wiki'd and seen that blue Woad was used over 200 years or more ago, so that makes it certainly "traditional" - but I think blue or even lime green or pink would offend some - the quote "you cant please all the people all the time ... " comes to mind ... personally I feel it would be a shame to lose the traditional black - I still have a Golly-Wog !!   Jo


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 18 Jan 17 - 12:01 PM

eh...??? I just slapped together a quick simple metaphor while a bit bored, as much for my own amusement as to make any enlightening point...

.. but GUEST you've got me so confused with your convoluted interpretations of it,
that i might just end up disagreeing and falling out with myself...???? 😕 😜


Btw, I don't accept or condone aggressive abuse, or violent attacks on anyone
whether it be politically/religiously motivated, or pissheads and fuckwits lashing out at anyone a bit different to their boneheaded world views...

But I do strongly advise that blacked up morris think carefully about how they might be winding up the kind of folks who do want to have ago at them...

and take sensible and aware precautions in these increasingly austere & divisive times...


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jan 17 - 12:55 PM

It was only convoluted bcause I was trying to cover whatever your ellipses (...) may have meant.

Did I imagine a link to a very measured response from a source that one might have expected to be more critical of the dancers?


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 18 Jan 17 - 01:07 PM

"ellipses" - bloody hell.. it's over 4 decades since i went to grammar school.. I needed to look that one up...

oh.. I see... nah I don't use "..." to indicate omissions...

I just have a bad habit of using the little dot buggers to represent pauses and time lapse.. like stopping for breath... or thought....

errrr..... a bit sorta like poetic / dramatic effect....... 😜

[also a bit more like a nervous tick really.....]

But enough about my increasingly crap as i get older writing skills...



Now back to the thread subject matter...


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jan 17 - 01:59 PM

I often wonder why tolerance is so often a one way street ?


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 18 Jan 17 - 02:26 PM

"I often wonder why tolerance is so often a one way street ?"

easy... the good guys are tolerant..

the bad guys aren't.....

left or right, religious or non believer..

ranters and zealots [and the sneaky silent noxious colluders..] are life force sucking socially dysfunctional arseholes.. 😣


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Jan 17 - 02:59 PM

dysfunctional arseholes

I had one of them for ages. Loperamide sorted it out.

:D tG


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 18 Jan 17 - 11:08 PM

"I often wonder why tolerance is so often a one way street ?"

easy... the good guys are tolerant..

the bad guys aren't.....

left or right, religious or non believer..

ranters and zealots [and the sneaky silent noxious colluders..] are life force sucking socially dysfunctional arseholes..


Sounds to me like you just described perfectly the people who attacked the blacked-up Morris-Dancers, PFR. In a civilised society, nobody should be attacking and abusing anyone.

'Tolerance' is accepting the dancers' explanation of the reasons for, and meaning of, blacking-up.

'Intolerance' is attacking and abusing them, despite their honest assurances that blacking-up is in no way intended to mock or offend dark-skinned people but, rather, is a reference to disguising oneself in order to avoid accusations of begging.

Sometimes, it could be argued, 'offence' and 'intolerance' are precisely the same emotion.

IMHO, of course. YMMV.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Jan 17 - 12:33 AM

This discussion has come up here at Mudcat on several occasions over the years. Early on, there seemed to be near-unanimous agreement among UK Mudcatters that blackface was a tradition that had nothing to do with racism, and that it must be preserved.

There are still many who think that, but I think that many others are changing their minds. We've seen a few extremists post here, who think maybe they can take advantage of this blackface tradition to promote their own racism. And there are others who are beginning to wonder how African immigrants feel about the blackface tradition, even though they may not speak out against it.

So, at least from this side of the pond, it appears that attitudes may be changing in the UK about blackface. In the US minstrel tradition, there's no question - blackface is racist, and there's no defense for performing in blackface in the U.S.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 19 Jan 17 - 03:50 AM

I can't help thinking the arguments put forward here are very similar to the ones put forward in the discussion of the Dutch Santa's little helper 'Black Pete'.

Black Pete : racism row

In that discussion defenders pull out the whole 'tradition, we've been doing it for ages, it's what we are' argument with a bit of 'PC gone mad' for added flavour. And while it may or may not be that the Saint's servant is a moorish pirate or not or whether there are racist overtones (in practice, there are, in the case of St Nicholas' assistant, IMHO)it doesn't really matter. People are offended and that should be reason enough to at least consider what the problem is and if anything can be done to make changes that form a comprise acceptable to all. Traditions are, after all, not set in stone.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Mathew
Date: 19 Jan 17 - 03:51 AM

Joe, I hadn't even considered this in Canada or the US. That would be a very uncomfortable experience indeed.

My question is this, has blackface had the same racial connotation in the UK as it has definitely had on our side of the pond?

Either way I wish nobody was hurt.

One love, my friends.

I often wonder what legends like Stan Rogers and Pete Seeger thought about the black faced morris dancing.

Very interesting, regardless of how uncomfortable it is


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jan 17 - 04:37 AM

As Morris sides continue moving over to a less controversial disguise I would expect the general view to shift as they will then be explaining/justifying their change within the Morris fraternity.

Self-justification or like ex-smokers often being the most vociferous in favour of people giving up.

Shrewsbury Folk Festival was mentioned. Two or three years ago a black American performer did describe (on stage or in an streamed interview, I can't remember) their initial reactions to seeing blacked-up Morris dancers for the first time.


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Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
From: GUEST,Pariah
Date: 19 Jan 17 - 10:27 AM

Anent 18 Jan 17 - 07:28 AM;

You surely don't mean to say, Steve, that you would actually wish to live in a world where decency, common sense and sensitivity would trump (if you'll excuse the word) "the right[sic] of people to present themselves as they see fit", do you?


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