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Calling time on Blackface Morris

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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
peteglasgow 15 Jul 20 - 05:06 AM
Steve Shaw 15 Jul 20 - 04:30 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 15 Jul 20 - 04:04 AM
The Sandman 15 Jul 20 - 03:49 AM
The Sandman 15 Jul 20 - 02:07 AM
Stilly River Sage 14 Jul 20 - 07:23 PM
The Sandman 14 Jul 20 - 04:23 PM
Snuffy 14 Jul 20 - 09:52 AM
Steve Gardham 14 Jul 20 - 09:05 AM
GUEST,Modette 14 Jul 20 - 09:01 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Jul 20 - 09:01 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Jul 20 - 08:59 AM
punkfolkrocker 14 Jul 20 - 08:41 AM
Bonzo3legs 14 Jul 20 - 08:25 AM
The Sandman 14 Jul 20 - 04:04 AM
Stewie 13 Jul 20 - 09:17 PM
punkfolkrocker 13 Jul 20 - 04:53 PM
Bonzo3legs 13 Jul 20 - 04:27 PM
punkfolkrocker 13 Jul 20 - 02:14 PM
Howard Jones 13 Jul 20 - 01:58 PM
punkfolkrocker 13 Jul 20 - 11:31 AM
Howard Jones 13 Jul 20 - 11:05 AM
punkfolkrocker 13 Jul 20 - 09:09 AM
Howard Jones 13 Jul 20 - 05:16 AM
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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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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: peteglasgow
Date: 15 Jul 20 - 05:06 AM

i've always thought that football was ahead of the game with racism. there isn't a football fan in the country whose club hasn't had a black hero. are there any football fans who would not celebrate if a black guy scored for their team? well, they aren't football fans - they are just racist. while there is plenty of stupidity too - when your hero is mane, henry or larsson to give racist abuse to other team's black players. (and wtf is going on in the pretty little heads of 'the democratic lads football alliance?)

with morris - many of us have favourites - i remember seeing rag morris (i think) (and thought they were great) 30 years ago at the trowbridge festival. as i recall, they had black faces then. had i seen them this year at shrewsbury and they had changed to - say - red and yellow, i'd be delighted. What is the problem with responding to change - particularly for such a good reason?


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Jul 20 - 04:30 AM

Bit defeatist, Bonzo. Just think about when we were little lads. Not one black footballer in the top leagues. Now see what we have... Nothing's perfect and there's still racism attached to footie, but every player now takes the knee at the start of every Premier League game... Things can and do move on. And everyone knows that the Senegalese player Sadio Mané of Liverpool is the world's greatest player at the world's greatest club...


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 15 Jul 20 - 04:04 AM

It is a bit ironic but also confusing that "traditional" means "that which was done for many years" and therefore acceptable to the public, and some descritive phrases that are therefore "traditional" are now no longer acceptable.
So traditional is no longer neccessarily acceptable, but things are changing so fast that I find it hard to keep up!

Robin


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jul 20 - 03:49 AM

this is the situation , it is acceptable to disguise but not full face disguise, the irony of all this is that it is now acceptable according to the new guidelines... to disguise as a black and white minstrel,which has racist connotations, on a white face all that has to be done now is copy the black and white minstrel design in a patternblack
to quote Snuffy who is quoting the new guidelines
If you want to use only black, including smudgy or streaky designs, that is fine too – just keep it to less than half of the visible skin on your face. Obvious patterns and designs are also a good way of using black without the potential to cause problems. Obvious patterns and designs are also a good way of using black without the potential to cause problems.
I dont suppose anyone other than a racist would want to imitate black and white minstrel design,
but those racists who apparently have infiltrated morris dancing could now proceed to cause further trouble if they so wish.
the whole area is now a minefield.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jul 20 - 02:07 AM

stilly,
i am talking about disguise on peoples face.
half black half white disguise on peoples faces is sensible enough.
Bonzo. people who are of different nationalities need to be encouraged to take part in morris dancing, its perhaps a question of being proactive about it,


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 14 Jul 20 - 07:23 PM

Stop with the nonsense, Dick. Mixed-race is an acceptable term, as in "my children are mixed race." Forget the measurements and colors and caste stuff.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jul 20 - 04:23 PM

fair enough snuffy, that seems sensible. so half black half white
is no problem.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Snuffy
Date: 14 Jul 20 - 09:52 AM

Here's the guidance recently circulated by the Morris Ring, which indicates that you can still have black (or any other colour) on your face, but not 100%. Sounds fine to me.

What do you mean by “full face black or other skin tone makeup?”

Any solid full face coloured make up which could be taken by an observer as likely to imitate or parody a skin colour different from your own. ‘Make up’ is used here as a general term to mean any kind of stage make up, face paint, soot, charcoal, or similar.

Although we acknowledge that our member teams are not intentionally racist, this practice has long been associated with making fun of other races, through the portrayal of memes and stereotypes. Since these historical portrayals most often used “blacking” of various sorts, full face black make up is now irrevocably associated with giving offence. It does not matter that it is not meant in that way. It is the effect on others – not the intent – which could give rise to a legal challenge for racial harassment under the Equality Act.

The key words are “solid” and “full face”. If you want black to be part of your makeup or disguise, that is fine. If you want to use only black, including smudgy or streaky designs, that is fine too – just keep it to less than half of the visible skin on your face. Obvious patterns and designs are also a good way of using black without the potential to cause problems. If you want to use a mask or face covering, please make sure that it doesn’t imitate full face black or other skin tone.

We want teams to honour the spirit of the request, not to worry about the minutiae of what is and is not allowed.

In short, we are asking teams to work with us on this matter, to help protect themselves and their fellow member teams from unintended problems. Please contact your Area Rep or a Ring Officer to discuss.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jul 20 - 09:05 AM

Most ritual dance sides are constantly scratching around for new recruits. I can't imagine for one moment any decent side turning anyone away, other than those who exercise a gender preference.

However, it would be good to see at least some mixed race sides, or even sides of other ethnicities.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: GUEST,Modette
Date: 14 Jul 20 - 09:01 AM

... and 'non-white'!


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Jul 20 - 09:01 AM

https://genius.com/John-agard-half-caste-annotated

Nice poem.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Jul 20 - 08:59 AM

Sad to see the term 'half caste' used here.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 14 Jul 20 - 08:41 AM

Bonz - there may at present be some truth in what you say..

But given time and positive encouragement, and a welcoming environment..

You might be surprised...

There have already been notable experiments in cross-cultural folk music/dance collaboration,
to varying degrees of success..

But obviously, diversity and inclusivity can not be forced on folk
in a rigid formal doctrinaire 'quota' manner..

That would be self defeating, and definitely would not work...


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 14 Jul 20 - 08:25 AM

The problem with making morris dancing more diverse is that non white people have no interest in English traditions whatsoever, so little chance of recruitment from that sector!'


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jul 20 - 04:04 AM

if morros dancing federations want to combat racism , they should make serious attempts to encourage black brown and half caste and yellow dancers and dancers of all nationailities. banning things never works, prohibition of alcohol is an example


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Stewie
Date: 13 Jul 20 - 09:17 PM

Sandman reflected above on what would be the result of black or brown people performing in blackface. The majority of Mudcatters would probably be unaware of the cult New Zealand comedy series, 'Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby', that was aired on NZ and Australian television some 14 years ago. The penultimate episode of the first series was entitled 'Coon Tunes' and featured a version of 'Uncle Ned' performed at the school concert.

Here is a thoughtful commentary on the episode and the series:

2005 article in The Age

Here is youtube clip of the concert scene:

Old Matua Ned

I would be interested in comments on The Age article's analysis of comedy in the context of this thread and current thinking.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Jul 20 - 04:53 PM

Bonz - guess what.. folks can be responsible and considerate, and still have bags of fun...

..unless you're the kind of bloke with a kink for selfish harmful to other people fun...???


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 13 Jul 20 - 04:27 PM

I thought morris was supposed to be fun!!


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Jul 20 - 02:14 PM

Howard - absolutely..

But Morris needs to be honest and transparent, not evasive and in denial...


'Inclusive' will be a bonus...


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Howard Jones
Date: 13 Jul 20 - 01:58 PM

PFR, I think we are dancing on the head of a pin. We are both agreed that morris has to change. Whether or not it is racist, too many people are offended by it and trying to explain it is no longer sufficient.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Jul 20 - 11:31 AM

"That doesn't make the morris itself racist"

Apart from your keen compulsion to deny it,
I don't recall anyone actually claiming that morris is intrinsically racist, in this thread...???

Though, more learned folkies than me have pointed out far too plausible factors
that can link certain blackface morris 'tradition's to historic and present racism...

..and.. constant repeated self defensive denial itself does tend to raise suspicions
that might not otherwise have occurred...


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Howard Jones
Date: 13 Jul 20 - 11:05 AM

Morris dancers come from all walks of life, and it is to be expected that you will find a wide range of views amongst them. I don't doubt that includes some who are racist, it's a statistical probability. That doesn't make the morris itself racist.


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Jul 20 - 09:09 AM

Howard - No racism in morris...???

you are asking us to suspend disbelief too far....

Pull t'other one...!!!

Most of us are over 60,
and have spent at least four of those decades enjoying/enduring convivial social situations
and informal conversation with our fellow provincial small town 'white' British public...

Even our 'liberal' mates have after a few pints
sometimes surprisingly expressed their most dodgy misconceptions
and ingrained negative attitudes regarding race issues...


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Subject: RE: Calling time on Blackface Morris
From: Howard Jones
Date: 13 Jul 20 - 05:16 AM

My point is about context. A morris dancer putting on kit and make-up is preparing for a performance, no less than an actor. In the examples I gave, people can see from the context that the purpose of blacking up is not racist, so no offence is taken. With morris, despite this being a clear enough context with nothing else in it to suggest any caricaturing of black people, the presumption seems to be that blacking up is racist and is offensive.

Perhaps this is because morris is an unfamiliar context to most people. The reality is that this interpretation appears to be resistant to any explanation, so (as I conceded earlier) this move is probably necessary. It is the path of least resistance, but I refute the suggestion that it is because morris contains "problematic attitudes".


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