/ Racism.

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Big Ger - on 10 Jan 2017

> A group of traditional Morris Dancers were forced to abandon a city centre performance on Saturday after they were threatened and accused of being racist for painting their faces black. Witnesses claim the group, from Alvechurch, were heckled and threatened by a minority of onlookers during performances on Corporation Street and New Street near the Bullring .

> The dancers were one of more than a dozen morris groups who were in the city centre on Saturday to celebrate Plough Monday - the traditional start of the agricultural year. Witnesses claim the Alvechurch group arrived at 11am and had performed without incident in pubs, to groups of local and visiting football fans and to the majority of shoppers. A source close to the group said: “The atmosphere had been great with the vast majority of people, but I was absolutely amazed by the vitriolic abuse they started to receive.

> A group of traditional Morris Dancers were forced to abandon a city centre performance on Saturday after they were threatened and accused of being racist for painting their faces black. Witnesses claim the group, from Alvechurch, were heckled and threatened by a minority of onlookers during performances on Corporation Street and New Street near the Bullring . The Alvechurch group featured in the Mail last week after more than 100 villagers watched their annual New Year’s Day performance.

> The dance group, dressed in black and with black painted faces, gave a traditional rendition of a mummers play where they slayed a dragon to crowds outside the Crown Inn pub. The historical dancers, who formed a group in 1989, perform centuries-old dances including the White Ladies Aston, the Dilwyn, The Evesham Stick Dance and the Bromsberrow Heath.

> Morris dancers have performed with black face make-up since the origins of the dancing tradition in the 16th century. Known as ‘Border Morris’ the tradition sees performers wearing a full-face of black paint in order to disguise themselves.

Is it more racist to black up, as has been done for centuries, or to attack people for carrying out traditional festivities which involve blacking up?


We get these guys performing at our fetes, should I go and take a swing at one of them?
https://184m7i1c5ned2347cu3r91fv-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Djunga-Djunga-Yu...
Post edited at 02:59
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lummox - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

Everyone : please don't feed the troll.
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Big Ger - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to lummox:

> Everyone : please don't feed the troll.

Why not let everyone treat the thread as they choose?
2
Doug on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

Long time since I had much to do with Morris dancing, but always thought that it was the northern sides who 'blacked up', maybe the most famous being the Bacup coconut dancers (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Britannia_Coco-nut_Dancers ). For the long established traditional sides (a few have an unbroken tradition going back to the 19th century & maybe beyond) I could see an argument for continuing the tradition but this side are new and seem to perform a repertoire from many different traditions, most of whom don't 'blackup'.
RX-78 on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

well, I guess there is a difference in 'blacking up' as in the minstrels (American meaning) and making your face dark imitating an old tradition representing people who did it to disguise or hide themselves as in using camouflage, otherwise one could argue soldiers covering their faces in mud are racist! Maybe the hecklers were ignorant of the other possible origins.
andyjohnson0 - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:
I know I'm basically feeding a troll, but a few thoughts because I have some time:

1. White people "blacking up" to imitate black people is widely regarded as offensive, although there are inevitably some people who defend it. Both sides have a right to an opinion, but we should try to avoid harm and (in my opinion) the balance of harm (public disapproval vs approval of blackface) is not equal in this _specific_ case.

2. Context matters. It's clear that there was no racist motivation in this case: the dancers weren't caricaturing black people. But its also my guess is that most Morris dancers are white, which doesn't help because...

3. ...Most people are unaware of the history and traditions of Morris dancing. This is particularly true in urban, multicultural Britain. So most people are unaware of the context for the dancers blacking their faces, and understandably form a judgement based on general disapproval of blackface.

4. The world changes, and culture in particular changes very rapidly. Tradition tries to remain the same. There is value in tradition, and also change, but eventually they tend to conflict.

5. Perhaps the best approach might be modify the tradition while maintaining the symbolism: maybe by the dancers using a different face colour (dark blue? dark purple?). Alternatively, use signs and/or spoken introduction to help the audience understand the reasons for the dancers' appearance.

6. But if its Morris dancers vs contemporary culture then the Morris dancers are unlikely to prevail.

(Edit: clarified 1st point)
Post edited at 10:35
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Postmanpat on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to andyjohnson0:


> 5. Perhaps the best approach might be modify the tradition while maintaining the symbolism: maybe by the dancers using a different face colour (dark blue? dark purple?). Alternatively, use signs and/or spoken introduction to help the audience understand the reasons for the dancers' appearance.

> 6. But if its Morris dancers vs contemporary culture then the Morris dancers are unlikely to prevail.

>
If the blacking up of Morris dancers is not racist, in that it is not caricaturing black people, why should the dancers back down in the face of what is actually misplaced and ignorant bigotry on the part of the protesters? Surely it behoves the protesters to educate themselves?
5
andyjohnson0 - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:
> why should the dancers back down in the face of what is actually misplaced and ignorant bigotry on the part of the protesters?

Because (a) bigotry is a misleading and excessive term to use in this case [1]; and (b) it is unreasonable to expect everyone to understand the symbolism of the dancer's use of blackface, and then portray their lack of understanding as ignorance.

[1] "the fact of having and expressing strong, unreasonable beliefs and disliking other people who have different beliefs or a different way of life" http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/bigotry
Post edited at 10:33
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Postmanpat on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to andyjohnson0:
> Because bigotry is a misleading and excessive term to use in this case [1], and it is unreasonable to expect everyone to understand the deep symbolism of the dancer's use of blackface.

>
Call it what you want. You have said that the protestors beliefs are mistaken but that it is the dancers, not the protestors, who should back down. Whatever happened to supporting truth and justice ?

Are you suggesting that the Morris dancers' traditions are too complicated for the protesters to understand? Really???
Post edited at 10:45
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deepsoup - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:
> If the blacking up of Morris dancers is not racist, in that it is not caricaturing black people, why should the dancers back down in the face of what is actually misplaced and ignorant bigotry on the part of the protesters?

Perhaps because first and foremost it's supposed to be a bit of fun, which trying to 'educate' a jeering crowd most certainly is not.

I find it interesting that people say "It's not racist, it's traditional!" as if the two are somehow mutually exclusive. I don't see how, racism itself is also traditional. I'm half surprised the OP stopped short of moaning that political correctness has killed off the Robinson's Jam Gollywog.

The Dutch have an annual debate about this stuff that may interest you. Zwarte Piet (Black Peter) is the servant of Santa Claus, and culturally much more mainstream than the sub-culture of a sub-culture that is black-face morris dancing. I think his days in his 'traditional' form may be numbered, no doubt the Dutch being the Dutch will reach a reasonable compromise eventually:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zwarte_Piet
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Ramblin dave - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

> If the blacking up of Morris dancers is not racist, in that it is not caricaturing black people, why should the dancers back down in the face of what is actually misplaced and ignorant bigotry on the part of the protesters? Surely it behoves the protesters to educate themselves?

Because it would make them approximately the first people in the long and varied history of human outrage ever to have done so?

In any case, your quote from Andy's post includes the suggestion that they "use signs and/or spoken introduction to help the audience understand the reasons for the dancers' appearance." For people involved in a fairly obscure and little-known tradition which, from the outside, looks a great deal like a very well known and highly offensive tradition, this seems like an entirely reasonable common sense compromise.
3
Postmanpat on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:

> Because it would make them approximately the first people in the long and varied history of human outrage ever to have done so?
>
I disagree. Some protesters take the time to understand what they are protesting about.

If protesters have the time and energy to waste and afternoon shouting about something they don't know anything about then they have they time to find out about it. The last thing that third party observers like us should do is support their ignorance.


6
Postmanpat on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to deepsoup:

> Perhaps because first and foremost it's supposed to be a bit of fun, which trying to 'educate' a jeering crowd most certainly is not.

> I find it interesting that people say "It's not racist, it's traditional!" as if the two are somehow mutually exclusive. I don't see how, racism itself is also traditional. I'm half surprised the OP stopped short of moaning that political correctness has killed off the Robinson's Jam Gollywog.

>
But in this case that is not the argument. It is that the tradition does not originate from anything to do with race.
2
toad - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

As it's from facebook, I've taken the liberty of copying Folk against Fascism's measured response to a debate that's been churning around the folk scene for a number of years. And yeah, I know I'm feeding Smal Ler's troll, but as people were debating it, I'll throw it in. For the record there are several sides that have been uneasy with the blacking up aspect of border, and have gone down the line of masks or different colours, such as blue or polkadot. It's also worth remembering that the BNP tried to get their members to hijack folk, which is where FAF started.
Here it is:

We've been asked recently if we would get involved in the debate around blacking-up in border morris dance. We realise this is a particularly charged issue with the potential to cause upset on both sides, but we felt we couldn't ignore the requests for a stance on the issue.

Many morris dancers will cite the "traditional" aspect of blacking up, as well as its roots in disguise, as morris dancing in the wintertime was seen as a form of begging, which was illegal. However, if you study the roots of blacking up in morris dancing, there are very clear and demonstrable links to minstrelsy. Blackface minstrelsy came over from America in the middle of the 19th century, and was hugely popular, influencing many areas of culture. In Shropshire, the practice of border morris was referred to around this time as "going niggering", and the repertoire and instrumentation were clearly drawing on minstrelsy.

By the early 20th century, far from being a widespread "tradition", Cecil Sharp found very few sides that blacked up when he was researching the morris. There is also relatively little evidence for the theory of workers blacking up as a disguise for dancing; people point to the Black Act as evidence that the practice was widespread, but that legislation was specifically aimed at poachers who disguised themselves. So what we have is a practice that has been popularised through the border morris revival of the 1970s, rather than a longstanding and unbroken folk tradition.

While some excellent revival sides have traditionally blacked up, some have recently taken the decision to stop. Shropshire Bedlams, one of the first sides in the border revival and arguably the inventors of the modern border "tradition" as we know it, have recently taken the decision to wear masks instead. The roots of the practice are probably fairly moot, to be frank; the fact is, we live in a culturally diverse society and, in a post-Brexit climate, a little extra sensitivity and kindness can't really do much harm. While disguise is essential to the mystique of many dance sides, some have found methods which avoid the use of blackface: Pig Dyke Molly and Boggart's Breakfast, for example, look fantastic, and the element of disguise is very effective indeed. There are many colours which could be employed, and many creative responses to an issue such as this.

So we do not see this as a case of tradition being threatened, but of tradition evolving in response to the conditions and the society in which it finds itself. This is surely the definition of a living tradition, and it's the approach that we at FAF support.
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andyjohnson0 - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to toad:

Thanks for posting that Toad, and for the interesting historical context.

Living tradition. Creative responses. Sensitivity and kindness.
Michael Hood - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to toad: What a stunningly reasonable and well articulated position.

deepsoup - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:
> But in this case that is not the argument. It is that the tradition does not originate from anything to do with race.

That sounds to me exactly like "it's not racist, it's traditional".

You may argue that the tradition does not originate from anything to do with race, I think when things go back more than a century or two it's rarely that clear whether it does or not. The origins of folk traditions are rarely well documented, and often they come out of a coalescence of several different things. If you could travel back in time and ask two different people on the spot "what's this about then?" you might get two entirely different answers. History is murky.

I'm not for a moment suggesting that the morris side in the OP are racist, btw. I started to write more, but there's no point - toad's post above makes the same point I was about to try to make much more effectively than I could.
Postmanpat on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to deepsoup:

> That sounds to me exactly like "it's not racist, it's traditional".
>
Really?? it's a very simple difference but if you can't see it so be it.

> You may argue that the tradition does not originate from anything to do with race, I think when things go back more than a century or two it's rarely that clear whether it does or not. >
>
I'm not arguing what the tradition originates from. I am arguing that if one accepts andyjohnson's premise that "It's clear that there was no racist motivation in this case: the dancers weren't caricaturing black people." then it is not the dancers who should back down.

If the andyjohnson's premise is wrong then obviously the the appropriate action for each side will be different.

11
JayPee630 - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

Nine pages of discussion on this political forum so far. Some good points. Some not so good...

https://www.urban75.net/forums/threads/blacked-up-morris-dancers-forced-to-flee-during-performance.3...
1
gethin_allen on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to andyjohnson0:
...> 6. But if its Morris dancers vs contemporary culture then the Morris dancers are unlikely to prevail.

I don't know, a lot of them do carry big sticks.

TobyA on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to toad:

I don't know much about Morris Dancing, but that response makes me think I should learn some more. Cheers Toad. There is a long history of radicalism, including radical socialism of various flavours, in the English (and probably Welsh and Scottish) rural history - so its no surprise that a tradition so strongly linked to that rural tradition would have modern spokesmen like these chaps (and chapesses?).

I love the idea of Folkies against fascism!
Postmanpat on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:
> If the andyjohnson's premise is wrong then obviously the the appropriate action for each side will be different.
>
Any of you dislikers want to explain your point? Or maybe give a precis of mine?

Taken at face value, it would appear that you are in favour of stopping a practice on the basis of a misunderstanding of that practice, weird.
Post edited at 18:28
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Lusk - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

Look at all these coloured (or whatever the correct term is today) people: http://www.face-painting-fun.com/cultural-face-painting.html
Some are painted white, would anyone call them 'Racists'? Of course they wouldn't!
This Morris dancer furore is just same old tired nonsense from the offencerati on behalf of others.
You hear that when we go abroad, or whathaveyou, we should learn about other peoples' cultures and traditions so that we don't appear as ignorant 'Little Britain' tourists, maybe these idiots should learn some home culture/traditions before embarrassing themselves.
8
Hugh J - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Any of you dislikers want to explain your point? Or maybe give a precis of mine?

In fairness Pat, you probably have some serial dislikers! Not me BTW. Don't worry about it too much. I very rarely use the dislike button and only when people have been particularly offensive. Though it's peculiar how many likes are drawn when people are deliberately offensive.
Postmanpat on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Hugh J:

> In fairness Pat, you probably have some serial dislikers! Not me BTW. Don't worry about it too much. I very rarely use the dislike button and only when people have been particularly offensive. Though it's peculiar how many likes are drawn when people are deliberately offensive.

I've no doubt I do and that's fine, but not normally six so I'm intrigued as to what they are actually thinking, or what they think I am saying.
Trevers - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

Because intention and perception don't always equate, and just because "blacking up" here isn't racial in origin and isn't intended to cause offence, it doesn't mean it won't be perceived as such by people who may have experienced racism.

Nobody so far on this thread has mentioned Black Pete, a Dutch and Belgian Christmas tradition. There are several different theories on his origin including that he was a chimney sweep, but most likely the origin was racial. Although most people in those countries don't regard him as a racist character, in ethnic communities many more do. Why should their sensitivities not be considered in higher regard than the average white Dutch or Belgian? In many places initiatives are being taken to change the tradition.

A quick glance at Wikipedia suggests that it's not clear cut that the origin of blackface in Morris dancing isn't racial in origin. Either way, it seems to me that those who continue the tradition should have a duty to understand the history of it, understand that it may cause offence, and seek to educate their audience as to why it isn't in fact racist.
Doug on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Trevers:

> Nobody so far on this thread has mentioned Black Pete, a Dutch and Belgian Christmas tradition. There are several different theories on his origin including that he was a chimney sweep, but most likely the origin was racial. Although most people in those countries don't regard him as a racist character, in ethnic communities many more do. Why should their sensitivities not be considered in higher regard than the average white Dutch or Belgian? In many places initiatives are being taken to change the tradition.

At 10.51
"The Dutch have an annual debate about this stuff that may interest you. Zwarte Piet (Black Peter) is the servant of Santa Claus, and culturally much more mainstream than the sub-culture of a sub-culture that is black-face morris dancing. I think his days in his 'traditional' form may be numbered, no doubt the Dutch being the Dutch will reach a reasonable compromise eventually:"

Trevers - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Lusk:

> Look at all these coloured (or whatever the correct term is today) people: http://www.face-painting-fun.com/cultural-face-painting.html

> Some are painted white, would anyone call them 'Racists'? Of course they wouldn't!

> This Morris dancer furore is just same old tired nonsense from the offencerati on behalf of others.

I'd say that equating the two practises shows a complete lack of context.
Trevers - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Doug:

Oops, my bad, I skimmed that post.
Postmanpat on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Trevers:

> Because intention and perception don't always equate, and just because "blacking up" here isn't racial in origin and isn't intended to cause offence, it doesn't mean it won't be perceived as such by people who may have experienced racism.
>
So you are arguing that even if the perception is completely misplaced, that perception should be the overriding factor?

5
Trevers - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

> So you are arguing that even if the perception is completely misplaced, that perception should be the overriding factor?

I don't think that perception is necessarily "completely misplaced" if the practise appears very similar to other practises that are definitely racial in origin and, as andyjohnson0 pointed out, is almost exclusively carried out by white people.
Postmanpat on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Trevers:

> I don't think that perception is necessarily "completely misplaced" if the practise appears very similar to other practises that are definitely racial in origin and, as andyjohnson0 pointed out, is almost exclusively carried out by white people.
>

I'm not clear. Are you arguing that in actuality this practice may have origins in imitating black people (well, Arabs actually) and can therefore be interpreted as offensive,? Or are you arguing that even if that were completely not so ie. that the origin was something else entirely, it should be stopped because people misunderstand it?
3
Trevers - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

> I'm not clear. Are you arguing that in actuality this practice may have origins in imitating black people (well, Arabs actually) and can therefore be interpreted as offensive,? Or are you arguing that even if that were completely not so ie. that the origin was something else entirely, it should be stopped because people misunderstand it?

1) Well after a brief wikipedia browse, it's not entirely clear to me that the origins aren't in imitation. And yes, I'm a city boy with very little exposure to more rural traditions, but that's the same level of understanding as the average shopper in a street in a crowded city.

2) Assuming that the origin is completely innocent, and I absolutely believe that none of those involved are intending to bring up racist connotations, it still seems pretty clear to me that without any supplied context it's begging to be misinterpreted.

Would you be against modifying the practise to remove ambiguity? For example leaflets and posters to explain it. If the origin is from mining, then the use of coal dust instead of blackpaint.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-38571150

Watch the video here for example. Ok, we don't know what's already been said, but the guy saying "No it's not" isn't doing a great job of explaining that it's not mimicry. But the damage has already been done, and the guy complaining is clearly very upset already. If there'd been some context provided to the display in advance, then that might've been avoided.
Postmanpat on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Trevers:
As I've explained several times through the thread, I am starting from the premise, which appeared to be andyjonson's, that the practice does not have a "racial" origin, and asking how it should be treated in that case.

So my question is how far people who are being, or claim to be, offended by a practice because they misunderstand the practice, should be placated. Or should they be educated instead?

In reality it seems that the origins of this practice are ambiguous (which changes the whole debate) but that is not the thing that I am discussing.
Post edited at 20:16
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SenzuBean - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Or are you arguing that even if that were completely not so ie. that the origin was something else entirely, it should be stopped because people misunderstand it?

You seem to believe, that if the origin of something was 'innocent' - that alone is enough to excuse that thing from any further judgement, because further judgement would be "misunderstanding" it.

Just to use a recent example... There apparently was an early internet thing where you would surround someone's name with ((())) - and that was a hug for that person. Well that's innocent right? As long as you do it with kind intentions, and explain to those that it's their fault for misunderstanding you - that's fine right?

Well it's not fine. That symbol now means something else entirely, and no amount of explaining about your innocent intentions will override the new meaning. The neo-nazis have ruined internet hug symbols for everyone.
Big Ger - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

> If the blacking up of Morris dancers is not racist, in that it is not caricaturing black people, why should the dancers back down in the face of what is actually misplaced and ignorant bigotry on the part of the protesters? Surely it behoves the protesters to educate themselves?

Bugger, beat me too it.

> 1. White people "blacking up" to imitate black people is widely regarded as offensive,

> 2. Context matters. It's clear that there was no racist motivation in this case
3
andyjohnson0 - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:
Please stop using what I wrote to justify your assertions. I don't agree with you.
Post edited at 20:47
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Big Ger - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to toad:

If Lummox had had his way, you'd not have been sharing that.
Trevers - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

> As I've explained several times through the thread, I am starting from the premise, which appeared to be andyjonson's, that the practice does not have a "racial" origin, and asking how it should be treated in that case.

> So my question is how far people who are being, or claim to be, offended by a practice because they misunderstand the practice, should be placated. Or should they be educated instead?

I'm happy to go forwards with your assumption.

However, I think you're failing to look at it in the context of those who were offended. You're out shopping and you see a group of men, performing a well-known rural English tradition, with their faces painted black. It's begging to be interpreted in a racial context. My first thought would be "Hey, that looks kinda racist". And it might set me wondering whether Morris dancing was linked to some more sinister older tradition with racist connotations, which had generally been phased out, but in this instance was being practised by purists.

At this point someone explains to me the history and that it's not intended as imitation and I think "Ok, that's fine then, just some harmless tradition".

However, we're also ignoring the fact that to a black person who has experienced racism, there's a strong emotional response to the perception of racism directed towards them. It's too little too late to try and explain that it isn't to someone who's already deeply upset.

So yes, I think the organisers should have been aware of how it might've been perceived, and a bit more sensitive in their presentation.
Big Ger - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to deepsoup:

> I'm half surprised the OP stopped short of moaning that political correctness has killed off the Robinson's Jam Gollywog.

Maybe that's because the OP is a wiser man than you? ;-)
3
Big Ger - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Trevers:

> However, we're also ignoring the fact that to a black person who has experienced racism, there's a strong emotional response to the perception of racism directed towards them.

How were the dancers "directing racism towards a black person"?
5
Postmanpat on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to SenzuBean:

> You seem to believe, that if the origin of something was 'innocent' - that alone is enough to excuse that thing from any further judgement, because further judgement would be "misunderstanding" it.
>


> Just to use a recent example... There apparently was an early internet thing where you would surround someone's name with ((())) - and that was a hug for that person. Well that's innocent right? As long as you do it with kind intentions, and explain to those that it's their fault for misunderstanding you - that's fine right?

> Well it's not fine. That symbol now means something else entirely, and no amount of explaining about your innocent intentions will override the new meaning. The neo-nazis have ruined internet hug symbols for everyone.
>
So we should all cave in to the neo-nazis and let them misappropiate our language.
(PS. What do the brackets now mean?)

In some ways it should be done on a case by case basis. After all, it is not polite to offend people, but nor is it wise to allow one's behaviour to be wrongly constrained by the misplaced ignorance and offence taken by others.

1
Ian McIntosh - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:
> If the blacking up of Morris dancers is not racist, in that it is not caricaturing black people, why should the dancers back down in the face of what is actually misplaced and ignorant bigotry on the part of the protesters? Surely it behoves the protesters to educate themselves?

>Bugger, beat me too it.

Aye, but it turns out - as was pointed out very well above - this tradition of 'blackface' has, to say the least, a very ambiguous history, so the protesters in this case may well be legitimate in viewing the practice as offensive and dismissing claims that it has a non-racist history. It could be that it is the Morris dancers who need to educate themselves about the tradition they are upholding.
Post edited at 20:40
Duncan Bourne - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to andyjohnson0:

Currently the morris community is split between those who feel that they should be free to black up because they believe that there is no racist intent and that it is an erosion of tradition to suit political expediancy. And those who feel that it is not that important, that traditions change and have always adapted to the times. They tend to use another colour (green being quite popular)
1
Ian McIntosh - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:
> Currently the morris community is split between those who feel that they should be free to black up because they believe that there is no racist intent and that it is an erosion of tradition to suit political expediancy. And those who feel that it is not that important, that traditions change and have always adapted to the times. They tend to use another colour (green being quite popular)

And presumably an awareness that it was, at least in some part, racist in its history and intent; [from Toad's post above]'Many morris dancers will cite the "traditional" aspect of blacking up, as well as its roots in disguise, as morris dancing in the wintertime was seen as a form of begging, which was illegal. However, if you study the roots of blacking up in morris dancing, there are very clear and demonstrable links to minstrelsy. Blackface minstrelsy came over from America in the middle of the 19th century, and was hugely popular, influencing many areas of culture. In Shropshire, the practice of border morris was referred to around this time as "going niggering", and the repertoire and instrumentation were clearly drawing on minstrelsy'.
Post edited at 20:47
1
Moley on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to deepsoup:

> The Dutch have an annual debate about this stuff that may interest you. Zwarte Piet (Black Peter) is the servant of Santa Claus, and culturally much more mainstream than the sub-culture of a sub-culture that is black-face morris dancing. I think his days in his 'traditional' form may be numbered, no doubt the Dutch being the Dutch will reach a reasonable compromise eventually:


In Delft before Christmas we were told we may see this one evening, saw a few people wandering about town blacked up but nobody appeared to pay much attention. Just tradition and they got on with it, perhaps the Dutch are more laid back than us?

1
Ian McIntosh - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Moley:

> In Delft before Christmas we were told we may see this one evening, saw a few people wandering about town blacked up but nobody appeared to pay much attention. Just tradition and they got on with it, perhaps the Dutch are more laid back than us?

Nah, there is big hoo ha about this every year in the Netherlands.
Duncan Bourne - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to mac fae stirling:

To be honest it is just as spurrious as the "disguise" reason. Truth is no one knows the origin of blacking up and it is likely to have many possible origins
Ian McIntosh - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> To be honest it is just as spurrious as the "disguise" reason. Truth is no one knows the origin of blacking up and it is likely to have many possible origins

I don't know, hasn't there been some detailed historical work on this? I am not sure that constitutes the truth, but I wouldn't dismiss it as spurious.
1
Moley on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to mac fae stirling:

> Nah, there is big hoo ha about this every year in the Netherlands.

We were probably in a nice middle class bit of town, it was just like no interest at all.
ads.ukclimbing.com
deepsoup - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Moley:
> perhaps the Dutch are more laid back than us?

In many ways they probably are, but there's no question that Zwarte Piet's black face make-up is somewhat controversial these days and there have been protests.

No doubt the morris side mentioned in the OP and others like them also usually just 'get on with it' without such problems or they wouldn't still be doing it.
Duncan Bourne - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to mac fae stirling:

fair point.
Certainly minstral singing (and blacking up) was popular back in the 19th century and could well have influenced morris.
Timmd on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to mac fae stirling:

> Nah, there is big hoo ha about this every year in the Netherlands.

Yes there is, because of them being 'Black Peters' - in some quarters meant to be not very bright or are a bit clumsy, or not as bright as Santa.
1
deepsoup - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Moley:
> We were probably in a nice middle class bit of town, it was just like no interest at all.

Might be an element of that in the story in the OP too with morris sides from various different places, nice middle class places quite probably, coming together on a special occasion to perform in the middle of Brum city centre.
SenzuBean - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

> So we should all cave in to the neo-nazis and let them misappropiate our language.

> (PS. What do the brackets now mean?)

The brackets mean you're a jew, and should be trolled/flamed, and ideally told to burn in eternal hell. :/ I only found out today. But yes, I think they've ruined it unfortunately.

https://psmag.com/the-new-blood-libel-5fd5f8cca136

> In some ways it should be done on a case by case basis. After all, it is not polite to offend people, but nor is it wise to allow one's behaviour to be wrongly constrained by the misplaced ignorance and offence taken by others.

I agree, we should defend the correct meaning - and we should be careful not to offend (especially when it's no big deal to change our own behavior). Misplaced ignorance shouldn't be allowed to continue.
But at some point - it's a lost battle to fight an overwhelmingly "incorrect" usage. The new meaning is now correct, and the old one is now incorrect. An example I gave in another thread - would be trying to defend the old meaning of the word 'gay'. Everyone now agrees what it means. But on the way to its current meaning, was perhaps a turbulent time where people argued that it actually meant really happy like a jolly old fairground atmosphere - and that anyone getting offended by it was just a sissy.
It's kind of a grey area when to let go of the traditional usage - but in my opinion, blackface needs to be let go in most cases, unless you are blatantly dressed up as a chimney sweep.
toad - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> To be honest it is just as spurrious as the "disguise" reason. Truth is no one knows the origin of blacking up and it is likely to have many possible origins

I think we need to remember that a lot of Morris has its roots not in the pre industrial idyll, but in the 1970 folk revival. More fairport convention and the wicker man than Thomas Hardy. As a consequence there's been a fair bit of reinvention after the fact. And border Morris is even more tenuous than Cotswold (the hanky waving stuff) - Cotswold was the form that mostly has some continuity, most border teams are "new". As a consequence the recent evolution of border Morris to disguise rather than blacking by younger, edgier ( for a given value of "edgy") teams is An equally valid development- younger dancers are uncomfortable with black face. In the main this change is coming from within the community not from external pressure.

For the record I do not now, nor have I ever danced the Morris, but you can't choose your family...I've been in the pub with old border Morris dancers and whilst they tend to be old fashioned socialist 1970s NUT members who would be shocked and offended to be thought racist, some of them can be a bit parochial and inward looking. I also know young folkies who dance border without blackface. Generally they aren't just more socially aware, they are much better dancers!
deepsoup - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:
> Maybe that's because the OP is a wiser man than you? ;-)

Touché. Have a 'like'.
andyjohnson0 - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Thanks. My comment was primarily about the motivations of the present-day dancers - which I think it's fair to say is unlikely to be racist in intent.

My thoughts about the _tradition_ were mainly based on various poster's comments about its origin being in disguise and hiding - again innocuous. But after reading Toad's FAF cross-post and a quick dive into wikipedia, I accept that its origin is less defensible. I don't think that contradicts my view of the motivations of the present-day dancers though.
Gordon Stainforth - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> Certainly minstral singing (and blacking up) was popular back in the 19th century and could well have influenced morris.

This is quite useful:
http://black-face.com/minstrel-shows.htm


ThunderCat - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

We've just moved to a place which is a bit less urban and apparently has it's own morris dancing troupe.







That is all.
Big Ger - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to ThunderCat:

You joining it?
Big Ger - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to deepsoup:

Thanks for taking it as offered, have one in return.
Big Ger - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to mac fae stirling:

> so the protesters in this case may well be legitimate in viewing the practice as offensive and dismissing claims that it has a non-racist history.

So the intent behind the black face Morris is indeed racist, is that what you are saying? Where is the evidence that any blackface Morris was done to impersonate or mock black people in that case?
5
ThunderCat - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

I'll be honest, not knowing anything about Morris Dancing, I always assumed (without even bothering to look it up) that the "Morris" in "Morris Dancing" was in some way a nod towards "Moorish"...some weird tradition that has cascaded down through the generations where someone went abroad and came back with stories about men with dark faces, and everyone started performing bizarre dance-based rituals with bells, clogs, hankies and jogs to ward off the strange foreign heathens...and that the blacking up (being an integral part of the original routine) has persisted.

Because as you know, the one thing that Moors hate is having hankies waved (and bells jingled) right in front of them.

Just like the rest of us, as it happens.
ThunderCat - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

> You joining it?

Not sure matey. It's a toss up between that and the local brass band.

It really is that Northern.
ThunderCat - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

> You joining it?

Is that a dare?

http://mossleymorrismen.weebly.com/


Wanted Men with Bottle 'Don't Let Mossley Morris Men Die'

The Good news is that despite our lack of numbers Mossley Morris Men haven't folded and are still dancing but we still need new recruits, we cannot attend many invitations, but Im glad to say that we will be dancing out this year, for further details see below, as you may be aware the Highland Laddie has now closed, we are now practicing at the Church Inn Stockport Road on the following dates start time 08.30 pm
Stuart (aka brt) - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

> So the intent behind the black face Morris is indeed racist, is that what you are saying? Where is the evidence that any blackface Morris was done to impersonate or mock black people in that case?

Learn to read. It's not what he is saying.
1
Ian McIntosh - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

> So the intent behind the black face Morris is indeed racist, is that what you are saying?

Nope. But rascist intent, crude and insensitive mockery and stereotyping, may have been part of its origins and taking offence at it should not be easily dismissed as being an overreaction to something which is wholly innocent.

1
Postmanpat on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to toad:

> I think we need to remember that a lot of Morris has its roots not in the pre industrial idyll, but in the 1970 folk revival.

> For the record I do not now, nor have I ever danced the Morris, but you can't choose your family...I've been in the pub with old border Morris dancers and whilst they tend to be old fashioned socialist 1970s NUT members who would be shocked and offended to be thought racist, some of them can be a bit parochial and inward looking.
>

Thanks, you've confirmed my long held belief that Morris dancing was in fact invented around 1960 by a few pissed up members of CAMRA after being kicked out of the pub and with no wives to go home to. Doesn't explain the blacking up but maybe they coopted a few equally pissed miners?


The New NickB - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to ThunderCat:

> I'll be honest, not knowing anything about Morris Dancing, I always assumed (without even bothering to look it up) that the "Morris" in "Morris Dancing" was in some way a nod towards "Moorish"...some weird tradition that has cascaded down through the generations where someone went abroad and came back with stories about men with dark faces, and everyone started performing bizarre dance-based rituals with bells, clogs, hankies and jogs to ward off the strange foreign heathens...and that the blacking up (being an integral part of the original routine) has persisted.

> Because as you know, the one thing that Moors hate is having hankies waved (and bells jingled) right in front of them.

Some troops claim Moorish connections and that as one of the reasons they black up. The Britannia Coconut Dancers of Bacup claim that Moorish sailers ended up working Cornish mines and as mining developed in Lancashire, Cornish miners moved north bringing their expertise.

Could be bollocks, but that is what it says on their website.
1
ThunderCat - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to The New NickB:

> Some troops claim Moorish connections and that as one of the reasons they black up. The Britannia Coconut Dancers of Bacup claim that Moorish sailers ended up working Cornish mines and as mining developed in Lancashire, Cornish miners moved north bringing their expertise.

> Could be bollocks, but that is what it says on their website.

It's not a massive leap to get from "Morris" to "Moorish" I suppose, so I guess that's why I made the assumption. Never really sure whether it was 'too' obvious a connection though (and never really had the urge to look into it)
Dave the Rave on 10 Jan 2017
Big Ger - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to mac fae stirling:

> Nope. But rascist intent, crude and insensitive mockery and stereotyping, may have been part of its origins and taking offence at it should not be easily dismissed as being an overreaction to something which is wholly innocent.

Yes, and my aunty may have had balls, in which case should I call her "uncle", just in case?
5
Ian McIntosh - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

> Yes, and my aunty may have had balls, in which case should I call her "uncle", just in case?

If you think s/he has lost his/her balls you may be better to call her/him an ambulance.
2
Lusk - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

Would suggesting our racist prancing friends wash themselves to whiteness with 'Black soap' be construed as racist?
1
deepsoup - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:
> Yes, and my aunty may have had balls, in which case should I call her "uncle", just in case?

Of course not. Whether she's pre or post-op, you should respect your aunt's wishes in how she chooses to express her gender identity. Jesus man, have we liberal snowflakes of UKC taught you nothing!?
Post edited at 23:37
1
Timmd on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:
> Yes, and my aunty may have had balls, in which case should I call her "uncle", just in case?

What's that got to do with Morris men blacking up and any offence it might cause?

Where is the caricaturing element in things?
Post edited at 23:45
3
Mr Lopez - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to mac fae stirling:

> I don't know, hasn't there been some detailed historical work on this?

There you go http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/4181/1/MPhil_upload.pdf
Hugh J - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

What I would like to know is, where do we stand when it comes to pots and kettles nowadays?

Would this be OK?

"That's like the pot calling the kettle a kitchen utensil of colour."

I just can't keep up.
Big Ger - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to Mr Lopez:
Lovely thanks for that.

> Hopefully, as racism gradually becomes less of an issue in society, as memories of the Black-and-White Minstrel Show recede and instead the identification of blackened faces with disguise becomes established, as the cultures of England grow ever more diversified but the traditional culture of England becomes more greatly valued as one amongst many, the continuation of this centuries-old practice will cease to be problematic for anyone and will become just another of the weird and wonderful features of the English year.

But not if the SJW brigade hold sway. ;-)
Post edited at 00:24
1
Hugh J - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

Who's a bad boy now Ger?

Apparently, the "SJW brigade" have banned the term SJW !
2
FactorXXX - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to Hugh J:

Apparently, the "SJW brigade" have banned the term SJW

Only in certain circumstances...
1
Vector686 on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

> attack people for carrying out traditional festivities which involve blacking up?

Because Birmingham...


2
captain paranoia - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to Trevers:

> I'd say that equating the two practises shows a complete lack of context.

This whole issue is about context.
captain paranoia - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to SenzuBean:

> The brackets mean you're a jew, and should be trolled/flamed, and ideally told to burn in eternal hell. :/ I only found out today. But yes, I think they've ruined it unfortunately.

I suppose that's relevant if you hang around with neo-nazis. I don't, and haven't encountered this 'new' use. I'm not even sure I've ever used the 'old' use, but I'm tempted to start. The neo-nazis can just f*ck off.
Ramblin dave - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to Hugh J:
> Who's a bad boy now Ger?

> Apparently, the "SJW brigade" have banned the term SJW !

They haven't "banned" it, they've tried to engage you in critical debate because they think it's odd for someone who claims to be generally liberal-minded to borrow terminology and the associated worldview from a campaign that tried to browbeat people into silence with online abuse, death threats and rape threats for daring to suggest that there might be some amount of sexism in computer games and gamer culture.
Post edited at 17:24
SenzuBean - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to captain paranoia:

> I suppose that's relevant if you hang around with neo-nazis.

No, it's relevant too if you hang around with Jewish people. I happen to have a large number of Jewish friends, many in the US, most very digitally connected - because I worked at a summer camp on the East coast once.

> The neo-nazis can just f*ck off.

I think we can all agree on that.
Ramblin dave - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to SenzuBean:

An even more obvious example is the swastika - sure it's a fine traditional good luck symbol that appeared on all sorts of artifacts before it picked up its unfortunate association with genocidal maniacs, but these days it'd be reasonable to expect someone to step carefully if they were planning to use it as a decorative motif.
Hugh J - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> They haven't "banned" it, they've tried to engage you in critical debate because they think it's odd for someone who claims to be generally liberal-minded to borrow terminology and the associated worldview from a campaign that tried to browbeat people into silence with online abuse, death threats and rape threats for daring to suggest that there might be some amount of sexism in computer games and gamer culture.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_justice_warrior

The term was adopted as a pejorative term in 2011 during the "Gamergate" controversy, but it's origins are much older. It has now been re-adopted in response to the idiotic protests occuring in North American universities, where extreme lefties have deplatformed people like anti-Islamists such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Bill Maher (lefties being against people who point out the wrongs of Islamism - FFS) and attacked people like Jordan Peterson for standing up for freedom of speech.

As for engaging in debate, that's rich! They (or is it zie or zem or ve or peh?) are not exactly known for engaging in debate, but rather just shouting people down.

And besides any of that, it was a joke.
Post edited at 18:09
1
Ramblin dave - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to Hugh J:


> The term was adopted as a pejorative term in 2011 during the "Gamergate" controversy, but it's origins are much older.

But you're using it as a pejorative. So you're aligning yourself with the Gamergate wordview, rather than that of the earlier users.

> It has now been re-adopted in response to the idiotic protest occuring in North American universities, where extreme lefties have deplatformed people like anti-Islamists such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Bill Maher (lefties being against people who point out the wrongs of Islamism - FFS) and attacked people like Jordan Henderson for standing up for freedom of speech.

There's a lot of complicated issues around deplatforming, and a lot to criticise in the way that some people try to apply the idea. But I'd rather talk about that with some degree of nuance than lumping it all into some "SJW" bogeyman, particularly when that same bogeyman is simultaneously being used as justification by a lot of genuinely nasty people.
Hugh J - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> But you're using it as a pejorative. So you're aligning yourself with the Gamergate wordview, rather than that of the earlier users.

No, I'm aligning my self with the likes of liberals such as Jordan Peterson, Bill Maher, Sam Harris and Gad Saad who have reclaimed the term for their own use. I think their definition is now the new accepted meaning for the term.

> There's a lot of complicated issues around deplatforming, and a lot to criticise in the way that some people try to apply the idea. But I'd rather talk about that with some degree of nuance than lumping it all into some "SJW" bogeyman, particularly when that same bogeyman is simultaneously being used as justification by a lot of genuinely nasty people.

So would I. However, as I pointed out, nuanced debate is hardly a trait of the "SJW brigade". It must also be point out some people readily bandy around the term "neo-Nazi" to describe people who are anything but neo-Nazi. But I suppose, two wrongs don't make a right. I have said elsewhere that I will now only use the term SJW when it is truly deserved, rather than as a collective pejorative for the (overly) liberal left.
Post edited at 18:41
captain paranoia - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to SenzuBean:

> No, it's relevant too if you hang around with Jewish people.

That's a good point. Assuming they're also familiar with the 'new meaning'.

Don't your friends know you're sending hugs, rather than wishing they burn in eternal hell?

As with the morris thread, context is important.
toad - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to captain paranoia:


> As with the morris thread, context is important.

This is the morris thread, it's just gone a bit UKC

captain paranoia - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to toad:

Oh yeah, so it is...
Moley on 12 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

And now we have a white actor, Joseph Fiennes, playing Michael Jackson in a film of his life.
That will cause ructions.
Fredt on 12 Jan 2017
In reply to Moley:

> And now we have a white actor, Joseph Fiennes, playing Michael Jackson in a film of his life.

> That will cause ructions.

At the time the film is set, MJ was white.
A black actor would have had to put white makeup on.
galpinos on 12 Jan 2017
In reply to Fredt:

> At the time the film is set, MJ was white.

> A black actor would have had to put white makeup on.

Maybe, but why is he dressed up like a cross between Worzel Gummidge and a character in the Detectorists?
Moley on 12 Jan 2017
In reply to Fredt:

> At the time the film is set, MJ was white.

> A black actor would have had to put white makeup on.

Exactly, both sides will argue and argue ( should he be black, white or something strange in between) and the film will have months of free publicity. Everyone's a loser ...,,....Except the film makers!
Andy Hardy on 12 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

Surely anyone engaging in Morris dancing has done enough to warrant relentless ridicule without the need to black up?
jkarran - on 12 Jan 2017
In reply to captain paranoia:

> The neo-nazis can just f*ck off.

If only. Still, it's a fine sentiment!
jk
2
captain paranoia - on 12 Jan 2017
In reply to Moley:

> Exactly, both sides will argue and argue ( should he be black, white or something strange in between)

"It don't matter if you're black or white..."
Hugh J - on 12 Jan 2017
In reply to captain paranoia:

> "It don't matter if you're black or white..."

That was my thought when I saw this post this morning, but I refrained.

It certainly seemed to matter to him!
sebastian dangerfield on 12 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

> Is it more racist to black up, as has been done for centuries, or to attack people for carrying out traditional festivities which involve blacking up?

Equally not at all racist.

sebastian dangerfield on 12 Jan 2017
In reply to SenzuBean:
> The brackets mean you're a jew, and should be trolled/flamed, and ideally told to burn in eternal hell.

Now this is proper disgusting racisism. But, I must admit, on first reading my main feeling was surprise at discovering PMP is Jewish. He always struck me as more CofE.
Post edited at 21:37
Moley on 15 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

In Bristol: Whiteladies Road turns into Blackboy Hill at the top end. Apparently named after pubs and Charles 2nd who was known as the black boy due to his black hair. Stuff on wiki about it and the belief the names are connected to the slave trade are considered an urban myth.

So is this a racist street name or should it be retained on historical grounds?
This came up in conversation with friends today, nothing to do with this forum, but thought I would chuck it in for comment.
Big Ger - on 15 Jan 2017
In reply to Moley:

In Penzance there is a "Market Jew Street", which as raised the ire of many SJW's in the past. Unfortunately for them the name's origin is quite innocent.
1
Ashford - on 15 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

I am unfamiliar with Morris groups as an American but doesn't the article say they do it for protection, not for the representation of a race?
Big Ger - on 15 Jan 2017
In reply to Ashford:
> I am unfamiliar with Morris groups as an American but doesn't the article say they do it for protection, not for the representation of a race?

Indeed, that has been the long standing reason. Morris dancers have performed with black face make-up since the origins of the dancing tradition in the 16th century. One theory is that it started when impoverished 16th century farm workers had to conceal their faces to avoid being recognised while begging during winter, as asking for money was illegal.
Post edited at 23:27
John W on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:
That's disgusting!! "A group...were"? Doesn't anyone know the difference between singular and plural these days?

Yours in despair, JW
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

Do you have a link to support that? It's a different origins story to the ones mentioned up thread.
1
The New NickB - on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> Do you have a link to support that? It's a different origins story to the ones mentioned up thread.

I'm sure there are links, as it is a view propagated by many in the folk / Morris community, but it does seem to have been pretty comprehensively debunked.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to The New NickB:

yes- i thought Toad's contribution upthread pretty much answered the question, i'm surprised that the thread is still going.

though on a second's reflection, maybe i'm not...
FactorXXX - on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to The New NickB:

I'm sure there are links, as it is a view propagated by many in the folk / Morris community, but it does seem to have been pretty comprehensively debunked.


A link to a detailed analysis of the topic was provided by Mr Lopez earlier in the thread. Here it is again: -

http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/4181/1/MPhil_upload.pdf

I've had a quick read of it and there's no doubt that you could use it to support both sides of the argument.
However, to say that it has been pretty comprehensively debunked would be stretching it a bit...
MonkeyPuzzle - on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to FactorXXX:

So, with some pretty considered people on this thread, with the benefit of a few days, we can't seem to agree whether it's origins are racist or not. To test that theory out, cold, in Birmingham city centre on a Saturday afternoon may not have been the wisest course of action.
The New NickB - on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to FactorXXX:

As I said, you will find plenty of links to support the myth.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to The New NickB:
to be fair, the link is to an MPhil thesis- so comes with considerably greater weight than most links would....

but that, along with the contribution from Toad, who gives credible testimony from close association with participants, would imply that there is room for doubt, and that a bit of sensible caution in deciding on the context of performances wouldn't go amiss...
Post edited at 09:51
The New NickB - on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

For me it's more about questioning the perceived history, I think the thesis gets this wrong, largely because it relies on the testimony of participants, who are so strongly influenced by the mythology of the revival, rather than the actual history.

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.