The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #161296 Message #3831542
Posted By: Joe Offer
09-Jan-17 - 04:59 PM
Thread Name: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
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?