2013: Mummers Still in Blackface (& Redface)
From the outside looking in, you'd think every Philadelphian was a proud supporter of the glittered and feathered pageant known as the New Year's Day Mummer's Parade. But you'd be wrong.
- Local news mummer puff pieces begin, as every year, with profiles of mummers getting ready for New Year's day parade, "America's oldest folk parade."
"The now-112-year-old orgy of banjos, glockenspiels, feathers and sequins that as much as anything we hold dear, symbolizes our sweetly eccentric corner of the universe," is a typical sentiment of these stories.
- But you can't just literally re-print the same piece every year, and so these mummer stories find fresh-ish pegs by balancing tradition against progress, as eloquently articulated here: "But for something that virtually defines the word "tradition," the Mummers Parade is a surprisingly evolving entity, which is likely why the relic of the horse-and-buggy era has survived into the time of Instagram and 'Gangnam Style.'"
Another evolution theme trumpeted in this year's mummer stories was the formal inclusion of drag queens (which, of course, prompted a 'family values' organization to rally against the inclusion of drag queens.)
Despite these stories pivoting on tradition versus progress, the prominent historic role of blackface in the mummer parade is oddly, rarely explicitly mentioned. Neither is the fact that it continues, despite apparently, city policy ruling it out in 1964.
- Mummers in blackface has a complicated history in a racially complicated city within a racially complicated country. That said, today's parade makes it quite simple: it's time to have a serious conversation about mummery and the way participants choose to represent other ethnicities and races without hiding behind the cop-out of "But it's tradition!"
- Check out "Indi-insourcing," the skit performed by Venetian NYA, posted by youtube under the title "Mummers WTF."
- So WTF do you think? I searched "WTF Mummers" looking for response to this video, but found general WTF responses to the parade.
- But I did find response specifically to "Indi-insourcing:"
- That was before the Rastafarian-themed routine that featured blackface.
- And we didn't even get to talk about hipster mummers yet.
Did you find this story interesting? like or comment as 9 already did!
- noahrushthis is so weird2013-12-01T07:43:10.635Z
- David BarzagaInteresting !!!!2013-08-08T09:18:36.971Z
- David BarzagaAn interesting one.2013-08-08T09:17:07.532Z
- Jacqueline CooperMy family boycotted the Mummers parade 20 years ago for this type of rasicm. It is insenstive and blatant in your face mockery of certain people of color from...My family boycotted the Mummers parade 20 years ago for this type of rasicm. It is insenstive and blatant in your face mockery of certain people of color from different ehtnicities.more2013-01-03T16:42:16.973Z
- Nick MBlackface is illegal in the parade. And highlighting a couple of comic groups who clearly crossed the line as representative of the entire parade is unfair to...Blackface is illegal in the parade. And highlighting a couple of comic groups who clearly crossed the line as representative of the entire parade is unfair to the 99% of us who see the viability of the tradition and would welcome inclusion.more2013-01-02T19:49:12.953Z
- Matthew BennettRebecca, please see the image posted above. The complaint is against a "blackface reference" as can easily be seen in the picture above. Here's the tweet: RT...Rebecca, please see the image posted above. The complaint is against a "blackface reference" as can easily be seen in the picture above. Here's the tweet: RT @angela_la_la: WTF more blackface references. Ah, "tradition" #mummers http://pic.twitter.com/5AsO4F5v Orlando Malfeasancemore2013-01-02T19:45:32.179Z
- Rebecca SavastioJust because people state something on Twitter does not make the statement true. Blackface has been banned from the Mummers since 1964, and no blackface was...Just because people state something on Twitter does not make the statement true. Blackface has been banned from the Mummers since 1964, and no blackface was worn in the parade this year. Maybe that is why there are no pictures of Mummers in blackface on this article- because they don't exist. Fact checkers, anyone?more2013-01-02T18:36:33.110Z
- Matthew BennettThe biggest shame in these cultural appropriations and flat out insults is that all of these Mummers Do Have Ancestral Roots In Some Indigenous Culture. Now...The biggest shame in these cultural appropriations and flat out insults is that all of these Mummers Do Have Ancestral Roots In Some Indigenous Culture. Now, whether this native culture was Celtic or one of the thousands in Italy before the Romans is for each of the participants to figure out. Furthermore, at some point or other, their tribal group was defeated and were forced to assimilate into some Nation-State or Kingdom. After being treated as second-class citizens, or slaves, or feudal peasants, for hundreds of years, their ancestors lost their Indigenous connection. Eventually, they fled their oppression and came to America to attempt to live a new life outside of tyranny. And now they are also realizing that they are second-class citizens to the wealthy-elite here, whose banksters appear to be above the law. In order to feel better about their wage-slavery, they make fun of those still perceived to be below them on the hierarchy. ...And in the process insult not only their own ancestors, but also the living members of these other cultures. It's time for each of us to honor our indigenous heritage and bond together to outgrow oppression in all it's forms.more2013-01-02T16:41:12.000Z
- KatyushaThere are NO hominids NATIVE to America.2013-01-02T00:33:48.314Z