Racists smear Mummers Parade

(A portion of this story has been retracted. See later post.)

Audiences were sparse at Wednesday’s Mummers Parade — the largest spontaneous folk celebration of American racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and peanut allergies.

What I just wrote is sarcasm, directed to those, mostly among the young(er), who have been taught to see offense in everything and anything. What I have written in seriousness about the Mummers is this: “That the parade is well over a century old and remains the largest spontaneous folk celebration in America speaks to Mummers’ spirit.”

Wednesday was the 120th edition of the unique parade that is permitted by the city, but not sponsored by it. In the opinion of someone — me — who has been a Mummer (Landi Comics) for a decade and who has reviewed the parade for a quarter-century, 2020 was an artistic success, offering some excellent musicianship, costuming,  choreography and makeup among some low comedy offered by the Comics and, yes, some drunkenness from the Wenches and because there’s always one, at least one asshole who smeared the other 10,000 Mummers.

Racist dumbass on display

The picture, naturally, hit social media and Mayor Jim Kenney reacted to it. It appears to have been taken in front of the University of the Arts, it appears to be legitimate and the dimwit holding the sign is wearing a Froggy Carr suit. 

The sentiment is perfectly acceptable. That the dumbass holding the sign appears to be in blackface is not. I have learned there might have been another offender from Froggy Carr, which has been disqualified. 

Blackface has been banned for more than 50 years. At last count, Froggy Carr had some 800 members and the Wenches are the least organized of Mummers’ traditions.

I marched with them one year. All you need to march is a suit you get at headquarters New Year’s morning along with a badge. No one checks to see what you are carrying and makeup can be put on later. Along the parade route are Mummers’ and city officials who are authorized to remove banned images and makeup.

This stupid act has given the Mummers a black eye, no pun intended. It gives reflexive Mummers haters more ammunition. While I don’t normally like group punishment, I’d be OK with the city banning the Frogs from the parade for one year. (Without a doubt, they would still march in their South Philly home turf.)

Banning the Frogs would send a message of the seriousness of the offense to them, and convince the Frogs that everyone marching with them has to be responsible for the person on their left and right.

Back to the Good News: The temperature was good, breaking into the 40s by mid-day and (the few) spectators were happy.

They could have been happier.

How?

More interaction between the Mummers and their fans. Like this guy is doing.

Mummer reaches out to a young fan

Not to brag, but to make a point, my Landi Comics group, King Kazoo, made a point of giving away stuff to spectators, to thank them for coming out so early to see us Comics. We gave away cheap novelties.

One year it was plastic combs that tied into our theme. My favorite — supporting a Russian theme — was a giveaway of raw potatoes. We would hand a potato to someone, and say, “It freeds six.”

As I recall, the “free stuff” idea came from me (I was ahead of Bernie Sanders) and I stole the idea from Mardi Gras, where the clubs (called krews) toss plastic necklaces and other gifts (called “throws”) to the crowds.

People in N’awlins loved their throws and so did Philadelphians.

Most Mummers understand they are performing for Philadelphians, but they sometimes forget to interact with their fans. 

Consider this a reminder to my fine feathered friends — and also to be ready to eject those who bring shame on them,.

29 thoughts on “Racists smear Mummers Parade”

  1. I have to wonder some times if these guys aren’t planted to do stupid things so that politicians can claim the high ground. I wonder if politicians don’t thank heaven for their enemies who make the points for them to comment on. What ever the point is, this clown comes out the loser and the mayor and district attorney he attacks become the heros in their responses. You would have to clean this act up seventeen or eighteen times just to get it to rise to the level of stupidity.

    1. In light of the update, I withdraw my comments. I should have known better. Even photographs can be misleading, and when two differ, one truly does not know what to believe. I was wrong to pretend I knew something I did not.

      1. It’s not Blackface! So why write in something that isn’t true? You called him a racist dumbass and he isn’t even wearing black makeup. Not cool Stu.

          1. Agreed. The asshole may have been using a dark green to provide for plausible denial or to thinly veil the intended message. If it wasn’t blackface, it was close enough for government work.

  2. I’ve given thought Stu to you suggesting punishment for the one airhead with the blackface, esp. you not liking group punishment.

    First, there will always be one AH. Second, nothing PO’d me off more in grade school then when Sister So ‘n So punished the classroom for the class clown’s antics. He (btw, always a he) , would do it again. And if not him someone else. Yes, we were just children, but some people never grow and mature. Why then, in this case punish 799 others? Besides, isn’t blackface breaking the law? I’d love to hear his defense!

    These are my thoughts, but I will stand corrected.

    Didn’t know your a Mummer. My son goes each year to see and take pictures of his cousins, mostly stringers. I was just talking to him said he had a great time!

      1. Okay. You did explain.

        But now that I’ve looked at the photo closer it doesn’t appear to be black. I only assumed it was. It does look green.
        We’ll see.

      2. His face is green. You should apologize for posting incorrect information and trying to embarrass a great man. You should receive some kind of punishment for this. Posting incorrect information just to gets “likes” may have not worked in your favor.

        Happy Nee Year you may want to make an appointment to get your eyes check

      1. The man in the picture face is GREEN!!! There is another article showing 2 other men with BLACK FACE, again, this is a green face.

  3. Over the years, the New Year’s parades have significantly deteriorated. Enormous crowds used to turn out to enjoy family-friendly entertainment that emphasized Philadelphia traditions. The annual event’s declining attendance is no surprise. A once-respectable celebration has evolved into a display of exhibitionism and debauchery. Broad Street has become Broadway.

    1. Dave,
      With all due respect, I saw no exhibitionism or debauchery.,And
      the only thing I see as “Broadway” is the elaborate presentation, which doesn’t come through on TV. Personally, when it comes to the String’s I miss the old strutter tunes…..loved to hear more banjos! more “Golden Slippers, Ain’t She Sweet, Five Foot Two, Heart of my Heart, etc.” Keep it simple!!
      Best wishes
      Tom

  4. The only dumbass is the one writing this article. Since you are now an expert on the different colors of green, and you are basically suggesting that this person is a racist for wearing a color of “Green” . So what colors are we allowed to wear??? Yes, I’m fine with the banning of blackface makeup, and all but 2 out of 800 + followed that rule, but for you to attack this man, who I know personally, and he’s been making these signs for as long as I can remember, and yes they are funny, is a total disgrace. And no, I’m not a one-day Mummer, I’m an actual dues paying Member of Froggy Carr since 1990. Just sick and tired of being lumped in as a whole because of 2 dumbasses in black face, and one dumbass creating something out of nothing about a GREEN face, because you say it’s Not Frog Green!!

    1. If you read my piece, which I doubt, you will see I said how hard it is to ride herd on 800 people. I did NOT blame Froggy Carr for the offense but it will suffer the consequences because the offenders wore Frog colors.

  5. His face is clearly green man, pick on the two dopes who did wear black face and the many videos all over the internet showing it, not this guy you should take this down and apologize.

  6. HAPPY THURSDAY !!!
    Pallie,
    By any chance, are you a first responder ?!? (sic) Once again, you have managed to make sure that Philly’s heart is still beating. Loudly and proudly I would say .
    Tony

  7. Stu you may need stronger readers, as his face is clearly green regardless of what “the city” says. While I applaud your article’s anti-racist sentiment, to single out and post a photo of someone NOT in blackface and say he is is frankly just reckless. You owe this man a retraction and an apology.

  8. If the city members jumped off the bridge would you follow! So do you always agree with what someone says just to protect your blatant error! Since when does DARK GREEN = BLACK. Are you so starved for readership that you create fake news? So are we free to judge someone? The only dumbass I see in this case is you!

  9. Wow! Such sturm und drang over black versus green! In my opinion (and that’s the one that counts to me), the use of face-darkening of any color (operative word: darkening) is too indicative of past bad times. Ergo, one should certainly and always be aware of how such an action will be perceived.

    The truly important questions are (1) why is it called a parade when it’s clearly not? A parade doesn’t stop for 10 minutes so sets can be erected and a performance put on for judges. And (2) if drummers drum and hummers hum, do mummers mum?

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