The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #161296 Message #3834602
Posted By: David Carter (UK)
24-Jan-17 - 03:04 PM
Thread Name: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
Subject: RE: blacked up morris dancers abused in uk
Morris dancers cannot be oblivious to the connotations of blackface. I grew up in the 1960s, and we watched George Mitchell's Black and White Minstrel show. This drew heavily on US minstrel tradition. It was very, very popular. It was only in the very late 1960s that it began to be seen as offensive, but I am astonished to read that the BBC continued to broadcast it until 1978, and the show toured until 1992.
Joe, if you are reading this, when did blackface become unacceptable in the USA? I would think that it would have been a lot earlier, I may be wrong.
Now most Morris dancers, sadly, are my age or even older. They cannot be unaware of the history and the connotations. Maybe they think that this isn't as important as their own traditions, leaving aside whether their own traditions have deep roots in medieval racism, which they don't actually know, even if they say they do. And whilst the vast majority of Morris dancers will not intend to cause offence, and will have no truck with the likes of the BNP, the world today is such that in any activity there will be one or two who do. And I have no idea, and I suspect neither does either pfr or Noreen, whether the GUEST who posted on 11 Jan 17 at 07:31pm was anything to do with Morris or not. It is that post which has convinced me that Morris sides should not now use blackface.