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Calling time on Blackface Morris

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GUEST,Jiggers 06 May 21 - 03:38 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 05 May 21 - 04:49 PM
punkfolkrocker 05 May 21 - 03:29 PM
RTim 05 May 21 - 03:12 PM
GUEST,jag 05 May 21 - 01:56 PM
Bonzo3legs 05 May 21 - 08:10 AM
The Sandman 05 May 21 - 07:54 AM
Dave the Gnome 05 May 21 - 07:48 AM
Jos 05 May 21 - 07:30 AM
Richard Mellish 05 May 21 - 05:42 AM
The Sandman 04 May 21 - 04:14 PM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 04 May 21 - 02:35 PM
Jos 04 May 21 - 01:21 PM
The Sandman 04 May 21 - 01:19 PM
Joe Offer 04 May 21 - 01:01 PM
Jos 04 May 21 - 12:41 PM
Megan L 04 May 21 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,Modette 04 May 21 - 11:37 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 04 May 21 - 10:49 AM
Jos 04 May 21 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,Modette 04 May 21 - 09:04 AM
Jos 04 May 21 - 08:31 AM
Bonzo3legs 04 May 21 - 08:09 AM
GUEST,Jiggers 04 May 21 - 07:47 AM
GUEST,jag 19 Jul 20 - 04:25 PM
punkfolkrocker 19 Jul 20 - 04:20 PM
GUEST,big al whittle 19 Jul 20 - 03:18 PM
GUEST,jag 19 Jul 20 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,jag 19 Jul 20 - 11:12 AM
Steve Gardham 19 Jul 20 - 06:24 AM
The Sandman 19 Jul 20 - 01:59 AM
Steve Gardham 18 Jul 20 - 06:37 PM
punkfolkrocker 18 Jul 20 - 04:54 PM
The Sandman 18 Jul 20 - 04:23 PM
punkfolkrocker 18 Jul 20 - 02:15 PM
GUEST,akenaton 18 Jul 20 - 01:39 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Jul 20 - 01:17 PM
Bonzo3legs 18 Jul 20 - 11:23 AM
Raedwulf 18 Jul 20 - 11:09 AM
GUEST,matt milton 18 Jul 20 - 10:11 AM
Bonzo3legs 18 Jul 20 - 08:55 AM
GUEST 16 Jul 20 - 02:57 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Jul 20 - 10:24 AM
GUEST,akenaton 16 Jul 20 - 02:43 AM
Steve Gardham 15 Jul 20 - 04:54 PM
Bonzo3legs 15 Jul 20 - 11:50 AM
Steve Gardham 15 Jul 20 - 11:05 AM
The Sandman 15 Jul 20 - 06:54 AM
peteglasgow 15 Jul 20 - 06:23 AM
Bonzo3legs 15 Jul 20 - 05:45 AM
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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: GUEST,Jiggers
Date: 06 May 21 - 03:38 AM

this has been interesting reading. I think Boss Morris, from what I can tell, ( having never met them at all ! ), may have adapted a more flexible approach to the Morris tradition.

I am also reminded of the Chumbawumba lyric on continual strict replication of music according to how it 'should' be played ... 'that's not music, that's a pickle'. Album ABCDEFG, song name Pickle.

Am glad the morris groups have found a flexible way forward and have not been pickled.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 05 May 21 - 04:49 PM

Oy...

Assuming blackface minstrelsy was defacto racism is not history.

Minstrelsy's most successful sub-genre, the Tom Show (Uncle Tom's Cabin,) was abolitionist, lefty, fellow traveller, 'wokism'... in burnt cork blackface.

The medium was Anglo-American entertainment's TV and radio for over a century. You're saying the producers, artists and audiences had no politics of their own, just yours... or you don't care.

Assuming all or no blackface Morris dancers are/is racist are both ways of avoiding thinking. It's easier marketing, but let's not mistake it for good social skills or research practice.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 05 May 21 - 03:29 PM

Blackface...???

It's difficult enough maintaining a straightface while reading a second wave of the usual expected "not us Guv, we're innocent"
barefaced denials and rationalizations...

Gotta love trad folk twofaced facade of civility...

To write some of these excuses and believe ordinary sensible will folks will swallow such guff..
.. well, our more vociferous blackface tradition apologists might need to be s***faced...!!!???

So how many of you would be bravefaced enough
to defiantly wind-up us interfering 'woke lefty liberal snowflakes'
by calling your side Blacky McBlackface....??????

.. and damn the consequences...

At least some of us might then have more respect for your honesty...


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: RTim
Date: 05 May 21 - 03:12 PM

Time!! - Time to call Time....

Tim R.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 05 May 21 - 01:56 PM

Just as the discussion had a line drawn across it last year (mine was the last post not deleted) I was going to point out that the choice of the Subject line for the thread, using a word never used by the morris community, was not only provocative in itself but encouraged search engines to link morris with minstrelsy. The effect faded after a month or so.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 05 May 21 - 08:10 AM

Clearly people with nothing to do will object to anything, and it gets worse every day.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 May 21 - 07:54 AM

lets move on, what about prince charles illegitimate son, dorante day


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 May 21 - 07:48 AM

I did comment on th eearlier discussion that I have gave up using face black during the Pace Egg Play because I was uncomfortable with it. I have thought more and I now do tend to agree with those who link it to Minstralry. While I don't think there is a direct connectsion, if it is true that blacking up in morris was not recorded until the mid 1800s it does seem that there is some sort of link. Maybe before that blacking up was dome using burnt cork, soot or any of the other blackening substances that were available. These would give a streaky or blotchy appearance that could not be mistaken for black face.

Anyhow - If it does give offence to anyone and there is no need for it - Why not move on? I find patterns and colours far more effective than the solid black face anyway.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Jos
Date: 05 May 21 - 07:30 AM

To sing a song containing the N-word would be insensitive, I agree - even if some black people use the word themselves. Some in the audience could be upset by it.
And it would be just as insensitive if the singers or dancers were not blacked up.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 05 May 21 - 05:42 AM

Joe said
> And in some ways, it does not matter whether or not blacking up has an innocent pedigree. Nowadays, it sends a message that is highly racist to a number of people, so it should be abandoned.

Unfortunately some people perceive supposed racist implications in the most unlikely places. A glaring example a few years ago was when someone was (allegedly) forced to apologise for using the word "niggardly" because of its slight resemblance to another word. Another is extreme sensitivity to the word "black" in contexts where it has nothing at all to do with anyone's skin.

I do not dispute the continuing prevalance of racism, but imagining it where it does not actually exist can be counter-productive.

Turning to "Minstrel lyrics"; Robin may not have met them in asociation with morris dancing, but one ditty sung to accompany morris dancing in fairly recent times probably had come from blackface minstreslsy, as its first line includes the infamous N-word.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 May 21 - 04:14 PM

i have heard stephen foster songs sung in folk clubs ..hard times come again no more. gentle annie. Steve Turner used to sing a couple generally really good tunes
He wrote more than 200 songs, including "Oh! Susanna", "Hard Times Come Again No More", "Camptown Races", "Old Folks at Home" ("Swanee River"), "My Old Kentucky Home", "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair", "Old Black Joe", and "Beautiful Dreame
of course banks of the sacremento shanty is a roster tune


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 04 May 21 - 02:35 PM

I have never heard "Minstrel lyrics" sung by Morris dancers. I have heard them sung by many other people not in the folk world, including on the BBC.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Jos
Date: 04 May 21 - 01:21 PM

I've never heard a Morris dancer, Border or not, use the N-word, and I can't recall ever hearing them sing Minstrel lyrics. Admittedly some do play banjos but that is not a reason to accuse them of racism.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 May 21 - 01:19 PM

any make up other than black brown or possibly yellow, has to be as effective as disguise and is not going to give offence,
when i first got involved in watching morris dancing 1962?
i noticed hardly any blacked up morris sides, the majority were cotswold morris. i believe that was thaxted in 1962.
Anyway, i prefer to watch the skill of dancers rather than be concerned about the loss of morris sides in a particular coloured disguise


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 May 21 - 01:01 PM

I'm going to post the text of the letter, because I think it's a good one.
    It’s good to see that morris dancers have stopped blacking up (May Day morris dancers swap black face paint for blue over concerns of racism, 1 May), but it’s a shame to read the tired old nonsense implying that it’s associated with rural labourers blackening their faces to avoid being recognised while out begging. The earliest reference to morris dancing in England dates from 1448, but blacking up doesn’t become common until the mid-19th century. The earliest reference to blacking up in border morris is in 1855 and an onlooker’s comment makes it clear that it results from the influence of blackface minstrelsy.

    Other factors such as the use of banjos, minstrel lyrics in songs, oral histories and the use of the N-word make the link between minstrelsy and border morris irrefutable. To argue that blackface in morris is anything other than minstrelsy plays into the hands of those who complain that political correctness is ruining traditional English customs, as well as being bad history.
    Nicholas Wall
    London


Yes, it would be nice to see the "onlooker's comment," but the "other factors" cited by the letter writer are certainly credible. And in some ways, it does not matter whether or not blacking up has an innocent pedigree. Nowadays, it sends a message that is highly racist to a number of people, so it should be abandoned. Changing to blue or some other color seems to be a reasonable concession.

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2021/may/03/morris-dancers-and-the-origin-of-blackface


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Jos
Date: 04 May 21 - 12:41 PM

My apologies, Modette. It was a letter, but my comment remains the same.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Megan L
Date: 04 May 21 - 12:00 PM

Living on a small island where everyone is so busy minding other peoples business instead of their own all they cause is trouble and heartbreak.

People need to stop shouting from the latest bandwagon to show how good and righteous they are and instead start treating those around them as fellow dwellers in the world and not a flag to be waved this week and changed to the next new thing next week.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: GUEST,Modette
Date: 04 May 21 - 11:37 AM

It is a letter published in today's newspaper, The Guardian, NOT an article!


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 04 May 21 - 10:49 AM

This article reads as "I think this, and so I shall say "Obviously" to cloud the reasoning".

Robin


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Jos
Date: 04 May 21 - 10:07 AM

From the Guardian's article:
"an onlooker’s comment makes it clear that it results from the influence of blackface minstrelsy"

But we are not told what it was that the onlooker said.

It is quite likely that all the onlooker's comment made clear was that the onlooker thought it resulted from the influence of blackface minstrelsy.

The onlooker could well have been mistaken.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: GUEST,Modette
Date: 04 May 21 - 09:04 AM

Here's a letter from today's 'Guardian' letter page.

Morris dancers and the origins of blackface


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Jos
Date: 04 May 21 - 08:31 AM

If they really do want to disguise themselves, blue doesn't work anywhere near as well as black - but that probably doesn't matter these days, and the blue is a good match for their kit, so it does look right.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 04 May 21 - 08:09 AM

If the morris is danced well, face colour is irrelevant, just like the wokies!!!


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: GUEST,Jiggers
Date: 04 May 21 - 07:47 AM

Morris dancers ditch black face paint and swap it for blue following racism concerns

https://news.sky.com/story/morris-dancers-ditch-black-face-paint-and-swap-it-for-blue-following-racism-concerns-12292902


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 19 Jul 20 - 04:25 PM

... the origins of these things become more obscure ...

Conversely, looking at some chin-to-forehead blacked morris dancers and seeing it called blackface, I wonder if some campaigners are too young to have watched The Black and White Minstrel Show and know what minstrel blackface looked like.

@punfolkrocker. Sorry, I shouldn't have hung the reggae sentence off an extract from your post.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 19 Jul 20 - 04:20 PM

Big Al - thumbs up on that.
Good to see you here...


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: GUEST,big al whittle
Date: 19 Jul 20 - 03:18 PM

I only went down a coalmine one time. When I came up, my face and nearly everyone else's was black.

I suppose as we take ten league boots away from how our country used to be....the origins of these things become more obscure.

Still we can't arrange our lives for how life used to be, and if we are giving offence and lending comfort to fascists, then we have to change.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 19 Jul 20 - 11:16 AM

"... tricky balancing acts ..." "... require sensitivity and understanding ..." would be better


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 19 Jul 20 - 11:12 AM

... forced on morris ... punkfolkrocker.

Chipping into agree with that post (mainly), and also to pick up on an ironical comment about 'English traditional culture' (I think, but I can't find it now).

I joined in the earlier discussions on the "change should not be forced" side. Largely because a lot of white people were seeking to tell me what black people thought and picking their 'facts' to tell me that blacked up morris dancers were racist but didn't realise it. There is some of that here - 'blackface' used provocatively and this idea that special forces use black for disguise. A white face makes a nice target in the dark.

I think the Morris Federation statement is very well written and they have seized an excellent time to make it. As was pointed out in earlier discussion it's hard to take morris out to a wider audience if forever having to explain the make-up of some sides.

If morris wants to be inclusive and welcoming that's fine by me. However, it is a [representation of an idea of] a traditional culture and I think we need to be careful about assuming that every other performing arts group (or whatever) from another culture feels the same way. Where they have historically been the underdogs, or are nostalgic about a culture they have left or lost are we going to call them non-inclusive (and maybe racist) if they don't encourage people who don't share their heritage?

In my experience people are usually very encouraging of those who take an interest in their culture and want to give it a go. I have been helped to do assault on the music of several cultures at festival workshops. But even when done to a very high standard some people get worked up about it - for example the fuss about the African-American lass doing the Irish dancing. Most of the negative comments and accusations of cultural appropration seem rooted in racism to me, but I'm not Irish.

It's better left up to morris sides and folk music promoters themselves
to become more aware of their responsibility to accept and promote inclusivity...


I agree. But, if I want to listen to reggae I'll find something run by promoters who know the music and it's main audience and wouldn't want it changed to promote inclusivity of people like me.

Things like 'tradition' and 'heritage' can sometimes make for tricky balancing acts and some people take an attitude that makes it harder.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Jul 20 - 06:24 AM

Can't fault that, Dick!


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jul 20 - 01:59 AM

in relation to my last post, it is a result of the commercialisation of the uk folk revival. i am pleased that i took part in festivals when they were run by the EFDSS[ FOR ALL THEIR FAULTS]when commercialism and bums on seats was not the only priority.iwould also like to thank some of those dedicated folk club organisers [most of them on the political left , who organised clubs on a local community ideology and who did not run them for commercial gain, but for the craic and just to break even.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Jul 20 - 06:37 PM

Very true, Dick.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 18 Jul 20 - 04:54 PM

"I would have thought that whether or not an artist is good enough and likely to provide enjoyable entertainment for the audience is of most importance"

Bonz - that shouldn't be an issue..

The pool of high calibre talent competing for attention is now immense,
more than ever before..

Far more high quality performers of all gender, race, age, etc
than opportunities for most of them to get gigs...

If there is an issue, it's the criteria for deciding who get's the limited access to a rung on the ladder...

However, I've already stated I think authoritarian 'quotas' forced on morris and folk music,
would not work.

It's better left up to morris sides and folk music promoters themselves
to become more aware of their responsibility to accept and promote inclusivity...


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Jul 20 - 04:23 PM

bonzo yes that is how it should be,    but the reality is that folk organisers think i must have variety so we need x amount of woman solo perfomer,x amount of group performers x amount of men solo artists the same applies to festivals,organisers think about balance and variety, they generally book so that they do not have too many men solo artists or too many of one particular style within the folk genre


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 18 Jul 20 - 02:15 PM

The new normal is survival.. hopefully of the most sensible folks...

Despite the self destructive stupidity of the mass population,
and their powerful global 'influencers'...

Who will be the winners...!!!???

Arguments about minority interest regional cultural traditions are not a priority for the foreseeable future...


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 18 Jul 20 - 01:39 PM

Ah Raedwulf, once again you put me and the world to rights, but all this conversing in code is fair sore on my few remaining brain cells.
Is it the old normal or the new? That is the question


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Jul 20 - 01:17 PM

Hi matt,
What percentage of Catholic priests do you think should be Muslims?


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 18 Jul 20 - 11:23 AM

"In terms of culture - like gig or festival programming -an awareness of gender or racial balance is important"

I would have thought that whether or not an artist is good enough and likely to provide enjoyable entertainment for the audience is of most importance????????????????????????????


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Raedwulf
Date: 18 Jul 20 - 11:09 AM

Ake: "Normal" - Peepul wot sea ther wurld ther saim wai as wut eye duz…

You can scale up from the lowest common denominator (who usually has about the IQ of yeast), but the definition never changes... ;-)


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 18 Jul 20 - 10:11 AM

"To me this in itself was discrimination, but my protests were brushed aside."

Well yes, it's positive discrimination; anyone advocating positive discrimination who didn't accept it was discrimination would be foolish.

personally I'm an advocate for positive discrimination with a few caveats and nuances. How positive discrimination can work well is if, day, two candidates for a role are equally talented and you can't decide between them, but one is from an underrepresented ethnic minority.

Or a job wherein part of the role is about an understanding of sensitive racial issues, e.g. an EDI (ethnicity, diversity and inclusivity) manager or consultant. Let's just say that I work for a company that recently learned the hard way that a well-meaning, experienced, white, middle-class EDI manager can come a cropper by saying things in public that a black EDI manager would never say in a million years.

In terms of culture - like gig or festival programming -an awareness of gender or racial balance is important. And as a music or gallery promoter you do not have to weigh things up the same way someone employing an atomic scientist or brain surgeon would...


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 18 Jul 20 - 08:55 AM

"And everyone knows that the Senegalese player Sadio Mané of Liverpool is the world's greatest player at the world's greatest club."

No me digas - no es más excelente que Lionel Messi !!!


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jul 20 - 02:57 PM

It wasn't clear what Modette's point about 'non-white' was.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Jul 20 - 10:24 AM

Think I agree with Modette about 'non white'. Plus, I think the idea that "non white" have no interest in English traditions is at best an over-generalisation.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 16 Jul 20 - 02:43 AM

Where to start!   Eh Bonzo?


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Jul 20 - 04:54 PM

Could you define 'normal' for us please, Bonz?


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 15 Jul 20 - 11:50 AM

There is an ever increasing number of people who are simply not normal - they are stark raving bonkers and a pain in the neck!!!


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Jul 20 - 11:05 AM

Hi Dick
There is actually a world of difference between 'made to feel welcome' and 'proactive in recruitment'. The latter can actually be a form of discrimination within itself.

It can and does lead to situations where a particular group/committee/team are forced into having a set percentage of female/gay/trans/ethnic/religious members.

I joined a political party a couple of years ago and attended a meeting where out of 8 candidates 3 were being selected for council and 2 of them had to be female, so 2 separate votes had to be taken, the first only consisting of female candidates. To me this in itself was discrimination, but my protests were brushed aside.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jul 20 - 06:54 AM

Racism has also been directed at irish football players.

it would be much more progressive if the morris ring and other morris federations made proactive attempts to encourage dancers of all nationalities,
in my opinion that would be more effective at discouraging racism and would be a step towards integration of cultures anddifferent racial groups,
the same applies to encouragement of transgender dancers they need to be made to feel welcome
that means being proactive in recruitment


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: peteglasgow
Date: 15 Jul 20 - 06:23 AM

it would not do anyone any harm and would be a progressive sign of accepting the new realities.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 15 Jul 20 - 05:45 AM

But it's nothing but an emperor's new clothes reason.


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