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Previously offended?

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On 26 Oct 2017 at 12:41pm Mr sensitive wrote:
As it seems to be the latest fashion trend...to be offended by everything and everyone, why hasn't anyone been offended and upset by Borough blacking up etc etc, in the past. I mean, what's changed since last year, or 5 years ago or 20 years ago.
Have you complained about other carnivals....Notting Hill for example?
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 12:59pm Yu Yevon wrote:
Try blacking up at Notting Hill and see how long you can go without a beating...

People have been offended by Blackface for years, it's just that now we have social media which makes it easier to speak about and gather support for a cause, whatever that cause may be.
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 1:11pm Billy wrote:
Was anyone offended by Michael Jackson?
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 1:17pm Erp wrote:
"We just want a conversation......but if you don't agree with us we will get an online mob via 38degrees to tell the whole world you evil racists.......pretty please...."
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 1:21pm Observer wrote:
I'm not "easily offended". I don't think Borough are racist, and I recognise that it is a longstanding tradition with noble roots.
The problem is social media and mobile phones. We live in a world of images which can spread globally in minutes. A photo of a Borough member can end up being viewed by millions of people on Twitter with a line about backward racist country folk in southern England.
Longwinded explanations about empathy with Zulus don't tend to spread to millions of people and certainly not in minutes.
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 1:37pm Earl of Lewess wrote:
Remember the hoohah when they burned Alex Salmond? Lots of angry Scots vented their spleen here and called us Tories, until someone pointed out that we'd burned David Cameron a few years earlier. Personally, I'm not that bothered about being judged by the kangaroo court of global social media. If people can be bothered to learn about the background to Bonfire, they'll see that it's not as straightforward as it seems.
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 1:47pm Can't wait wrote:
Will the Borough women start wearing traditional costume - I hope so - although it may offend!
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 1:50pm Phill wrote:
I am not a racist and resent the fact that I'm being seen as one by supporting the zulus. In my opinion just because a handful of ignorant people see something they know nothing about and take it upon themselves to feel offended by it and call it racist doesn't make it so!! Why now, do we have to suddenly decide it's racist when it has never been seen that way before?
Although I am aware that racism does exist and it's disgusting!!! I'd like to think that as a fully grown adult with an open mind that I can tell the difference between actual racism and somebody just wearing a costume!
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 1:59pm The people wrote:
Well done Phil, summed up well.
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 2:11pm snowflake crew wrote:
Sorry Phill, but it seems like you can't tell the difference
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 2:40pm Member of the Public wrote:
Go on then, Phill: what /is/ the difference?

Blackface is profoundly offensive and racist. What is there to "know" about which makes it not so? Where and when it happens, and actually for what reason: all of that is irrelevant. It doesn't matter what the motive of the wearer is; what matters is what any objective observer draws from it.

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On 26 Oct 2017 at 2:50pm Slarty wrote:
Are all actors that have played Othello racist or are they just trying to portray a character? I'm guessing the latter.
So, thinking and not just joining the "I'm offended" band wagon - Are all bonfire Zulus racist or are they trying to portray a character?
If there is a difference, what is it? If there is no difference, why have you not complained to the Royal Shakespeare company (or what was their reply when you did)?
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 3:10pm A Person wrote:
Actually the Othello argument is an interesting one. If you were to try to cast a white actor as Othello, in preference to an equally talented black actor, you'd better believe there would be a hell of a stink.

The reason it's interesting is that 40 years ago you could have argued that there were no black actors capable of portraying that role to the same standard as Lawrence Olivier (for instance). And the counter argument would have been that the very fact that it was considered acceptable AT ALL to black up to portray someone of a different race prevented many black actors from ever having a career at all.

It's much the same as the current argument about disabled actors. If you allow able bodied actors to play disabled people you prevent disabled people from being able to work.

It's slightly peripheral to the blackface Zulus argument, but it does suggest that the basics of what constitutes bigotry (of which racism would be a subgroup) are simply not understood. Dressing/making up to mimic a racial characteristic which has been the subject of prejudice and discrimination is simply not acceptable. Wailing that it's "traditional" is neither here nor there - so was lynching and sending children up chimneys. We don't do that any more because it's unacceptable.
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 3:51pm Phill wrote:
Like I said, just because you believe it's racist, it doesn't make it so!! let's put things into persective here, ITS A COSTUME!! It's not done to ridicule or cause harm to anybody. Im not going to explain racism to you because it's clearly not going to be what you want me to say. I am confident in my mind what is real ridicule, harm, distress and Indeed racism. I can respect the fact and sympathise that maybe you suffer a lot from racism so therefore it consumes the most part of your life and you become obsessed with irradicating it, so end up seeing slights where fact they don't exist. I'd call it paranoia. Sorry no offence intended but feel free to be offended why not it's seems to be the name of the game!!
I am vertically challenged and am regularly ridiculed by my height but I I haven't become obsessed/paranoid about it, and don't feel the need to shout from the roof tops about how hard done by I am if people kneel beside me to have a photo taken, cough onto my head whilst standing in a queue etc and I certainly don't want to get a petition going to raise awareness for my plight because I'm well aware that there are far, far worse things that happen to people regardless of colour. I'd suggest you go out to find something that makes you happy every day and spend less time worrying about a COSTUME!!
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 4:12pm Slarty wrote:
IMHO, there is a BIG difference to "blackface" and wearing black makeup on your face. If the Zulus had big red (or white for some reason) lips like a historical "blackface" then I'd support the racist argument 100%. But they don't.
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 4:18pm Stupid boy wrote:
"just because you believe it's racist, it doesn't make it so!"
Do you know what? It really does. If a whole lot of people, including a whole lot of black people, think it's racist then it probably is. That you're a shortarse is absolutely nothing to do with it.

Some of the far worse things that happen are slavery, racist killings and lynchings, statistics which PROVE that black people fare less well in every sector educationally, socially, economically: in every way. The law protects those whose race puts them at risk of bigotry, and this is what this is. Blacking up endorses racism: it is RACIST. If people are telling you - the white men who black up to parody Zulus - that it's racist, then actually it is. Particularly, actually, people who haven't lived all their lives in this comfortable overwhelmingly white smug little town!

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On 26 Oct 2017 at 4:29pm Phill wrote:
Oh yeah and did you know that the borough have real actual African zulus walking with them on the 4th??
Ironically they're not even remotely offended in fact quite the contrary they are positively delighted.
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 4:37pm Clever boy wrote:
Yo Stupid boy, youíre really living up to your name aren't you!
If you donít like it donít come, its all about freedom of expression, tradition and celebrating history, something outsiders like you know nothing about.
Bye bye for now.
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 4:38pm Stupid boy wrote:
Says Phill bouncing round the playground with his fingers in his ears shouting ner ner ner.

I couldn't care less if they've got actual Martians in the procession. It's racist. If Borough's Zulus actually intend to be racist then they're going about it in just the right way.
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 4:42pm Henry wrote:
Very true Phill they have they wouldn't be marching with borough if they thought there was any racism involved what about the old days when the smugglers blacked their faces out so the police couldn't reconise who they are is that called racism
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 4:46pm Confused.com wrote:
Look how much collective offence is being taken at the suggestion that a dozen or so people refrain from putting black face paint on their ugly mugs?
No-one is actually asking these few people, representative of just one bonfire society of many, to cease wearing their carefully manufactured Zulu costumes. Streams and streams of bile and vitriol to protect the 'rights' of a few out of touch white people to put on occasional face paint.
Who needs to get some perspective here? It's simple maths: a dozen or so prats in blackface, representing one bonfire society out of seven in Lewes town, part of an event comprising thousands of participants, in a town inhabited by thousands more.
Itís all justified though, because guess what, not all black people are offended by the same thing! And not all the women in Hollywood ran from Harvey Weinsteinís hotel room...
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 4:56pm Observer wrote:
The comparison with being Short reminded me of this skit from Stewart Lee.

Watch the video »
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 5:08pm Impressed wrote:
That's the most sensible post on the subject so far from confused.com. It's a shame that virtually nobody will read it properly or understand it. So sad that people need this explaining still.
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 5:23pm Rob wrote:
Seriously missing at least one of the points, some people are. It is completely unacceptable for the so-called 'smugglers' to wear blackface because of the undeniably racist implication that this characterisation makes about the respect for the law of the land that people with black faces are presumed to have. A lot of people not necessarily from Lewes have recently become aware of this interpretation and will be making a very big fuss about this to the law and justice authorities from tomorrow morning onwards. It taints the whole parade in addition to the religious hate.
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 5:31pm And thats a fact wrote:
Load of tosh really it gave Diversity lewes the chance show they are not diverse or tolerant of anything. just a self opinionated load of rabble rousers, wait till they jump up and down in the high street on bonfire night they will look a right load of twerps protesting about racism in front of some real live zulus who haven't got black on their faces, probably they are catholics who havnt worked out the no popery does not apply to them and they feel left out and thats probably a fact
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 5:35pm Billy wrote:
Same debate raging in New Orleans regarding the "Zulus" in their Mardi Gras - on a much bigger scale though.
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 6:00pm Eric wrote:
All this cr@p being spouted about Zulu costumes being racist leads me to one simple conclusion: There are some right feckin know-nothing idiots about.
And that's an undeniable fact.
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 6:11pm @Stupid Boy wrote:
Consider three things. You are so politically correct, or so you think, yet you still think itís ok to be abusive to people who donít fit your idea of normal. Using the word Ďshortarseí as an insult to somebody is totally unacceptable.
You are talking about people Ďblacking up to parody the Zulusí, which is totally missing the point. You need to understand the meaning of the words you are throwing around before using them. Nobody is being parodied, that is just the point.
Lastly, you have the arrogance to say that just because you and a handful of others say something, it makes it true. In that case, right back at you, it isnít racist, as many people have told you.
There is a picture going round on Facebook currently showing black Americans dressed as Zulus for Mardi Gra. They are not connected to Zulus any more than you or I, yet this is acceptable I presume? They even have the white eyes and mouth!
I am not a LBS member, I am not black, but I am totally offended by your attitude and overinflated opinion of yourself. The truth of this matter lies in whether the people who Borough wish to dress as are offended themselves. If they are not offended, then there is no offence given, and thus no racism. Not for you to say though, unless you yourself are a Zulu.
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 6:21pm Nevermind wrote:
It's just a costume!
But why can't the costume be worn without blacking up?
To continue to insist on blacking up demonstrates a lack of sensitivity and ignorance of how this practice is viewed through the lens of historical context.
I'm sure that 99.9% of those who have traditionally blacked up are not racist and don't intend to be offensive. But just because offence isn't intended doesn't change the fact that many people do indeed find blacking up to be an overt expression of racism and an explicit reminder of white supremacy and black suppression. Saying people are being oversensitive doesn't change this fact. It just serves to highlight ignorance.
Yes, I know that the Borough Zulu tradition is not the same as the demeaning history of black and white minstrelsy and that intentions are arguably different. BUT it is impossible to escape the connotations that blacking up shares with the sordid past of white people dressing up as black people to entertain, belittle and demean and the impact that this had on how generations of white people have viewed black people.
Why then, in the face of so much evidence that blacking up IS offensive, do good people still insist upon doing this? Why is it so difficult to not to just be like, "Oh, ok then, I'm a decent human being, in understating the historical context of why some of my black brothers and sisters are offended by blacking up my face, I'll just wear the costume and leave my face as it is..."
Seriously, why is this so difficult to comprehend?
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 6:33pm Enigma wrote:
This debate perfectly encapsulates the difference between doctrinal and consequentialist morality.
The first says "x is wrong always with no exceptions" whereas the second looks at consequences first. And by consequences I mean real ones, not just "offence", a declaration of which seems to be all doctrinalists seem to think they need to make to win an argument.
The first makes for an easier life for those who just want their moral standards spoon fed to them. Even better if there is an excuse (white privilege in this case) for actually not nuancing your thinking.
The second, however, requires a bit of thinking and research. Things that all too many people who think they are clever don't seem to bother with these days.
As for Bonfire? It will weather this just as it has weathered every other moral panic that has been flung in its direction. It used to be pope burning. Now it's this.
C'est la vie.
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 6:34pm So... wrote:
By Phill's logic, would it therefore be ok for a white guy to use the word n**ger in public if he didn't consider himself a racist and had a some black friends who were ok with it?
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 6:42pm Ffs wrote:
Zulus are black people. Not white. How else are you meant to dress as a zulu without 'blacking up'? Surely not wearing black face paint could be considered more racist. Borough dress as zulus out of respect and want to portray them how they truly are. Surely if they stay white and refuse to 'black up', that can be considered racist as they could be suggesting they'd be better off as white?? Phill was right, it's a costume. Racism is when you see a race as weak, or you mock them for what they are. All I see is admiration and a huge amount of respect
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 6:44pm @So... wrote:
That would have to depend on whether he was reading out an extract from 'Of Mice and Men'. A book that uses the word a lot.
See? There are always exceptions.
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 6:51pm @Ffs wrote:
The trouble is a lot of people just want to be able to judge things according to their pre conceptions. Bonfire is so unique that it is spectacularly easy to misunderstand it and misrepresent it. Which some people seem to delight in doing.
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 6:59pm Also @FFS wrote:
The people dressing as Mongols manage to do it without drawing slanty eyes on their faces. You're missing the point that blacking up has wider connotations outside of Bonfire, it's something that used to be acceptable 50 years ago but in wider society is now completely unacceptable. It literally doesn't matter what the motivation is, it matters that people see it and their instinctive reaction is to assume it's racist. Those people aren't going to bother researching it or trying to understand it, they're going to follow the widely held cultural perception that a white person blacking up is racist and therefore the people doing here must also be racist.

You can have the good intentions in the world but if what you're doing is considered, by modern cultural standards to be unacceptable, don't expect people to be ok with it.
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 8:11pm @mr sensitive wrote:
Ahahahahaha! You honestly think anyone "blacks up" at carnival? Seriously? At an event first launched - by a Trinidadian - as a positive response to the Notting Hill race riots? Do you understand that you're talking about a carnival founded by the Afro-Caribbean community - I dare you to take your "blacked up" face to Ladbroke Groge next august. People admonish others on this thread for not knowing the history of bonfire in Lewes. You evidently don't know anything about anything outside of this town
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On 26 Oct 2017 at 8:21pm Pitchfork wielder wrote:
Ah the Argumentum ad baculum. The noblest of the fallacies.
I think bikinis should be banned because if you walked around Riyadh in one......etc.
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On 27 Oct 2017 at 8:17am Jeff wrote:
Reasoned debate from both sides of the argument!
The Lewes Forum at it's best.
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On 27 Oct 2017 at 1:43pm Please tell me wrote:
What have you lot have got against Zulus, that makes trying to look like them so offensive in your mind? Just wondering, because I always thought that paying tribute to someone was a good thing.
You have made this into an issue that neednít exist, by your obsessive compulsion to be offended on behalf of people you have never consulted, and your determination to enforce your opinions on everyone else.
You can be offended as much as you like, thatís your prerogative, but donít pretend to tell me what I should be offended by.


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