Monday, April 21, 2014

UK: Blacked-up  Morris dancers not OK

Jack Straw's son has caused a stir today after posting a photograph on Twitter celebrating an Easter tradition with Morris dancers with blacked-up faces.

Will Straw, 32, who has been selected by Labour to fight one of the party's top target seats at next year's general election, uploaded the tweet after meeting The Britannia Coconutters.

The 32-year-old, who is hoping to win back the Rossendale and Darwen constituency in East Lancashire, responded to the outcry - some have branded the tradition 'racist' - defending the historic performances and urging people to find out more via the group's website.

He tweeted: 'Just checked back on twitter & (sic) seen torrent of ignorant tweets on Britannia Coconut dancers. Nothing racist about it', posting a link to the dancer's website.

The group, who dress up in turbans and red and white skirts and clogs, congregate on Easter Saturday every year in the Penine town of Bacup.

The tradition, which dates back to the turn of the century, sees the dancers perform through the streets, from one edge of the town to the other over a 12-hour period.

The group's website reveals: 'The dances they perform are actually folk dances and the custom of blackened faces may reflect a pagan or medieval background which was done to disguise the dancers from being recognised by evil spirits afterwards, it may also reflect mining connections.'



Brian from Rochester, NY said...

Talk about arrogant stupidity! These traditions predate any of the PC crud by hundreds of years, and yet everyone today thinks that black-face refers to black people only!

God forbid they should research the true origins of something before claiming it is a 21st Century dig at a bunch of whining professional victims.

Anonymous said...

A la "niggardly."