Spain Abandons Black Face Tradition

Spain Abandons Black Face Tradition

The issue of black-faced whites portraying Christmas characters in parades and seasonal festivities is not limited to the Netherlands. After years of controversy government officials in Madrid say that any future depiction of King Balthazar in Spain will be portrayed by a black person. In years past the part has been played by a white individual with a blackened face. Spanish tradition in Madrid includes a parade in which the three Wisemen are shown.

“This change is much more than just anecdotal,” Socialist city councillor Mar Espinar said on Wednesday. Her party has spent years championing changes to the event. “Given the increasingly large community of colour in our city, it seems absurd that this role continues to be represented by a person with their face blackened.”

Over in the Dutch capital of The Hague meanwhile, the education board said elementary schools would no longer use Santa helpers with painted black faces, another holiday tradition that had caused considerable offence.

The move, which came after the United Nations called last month for the “Black Pete” practice to be modified to avoid reflecting negative stereotypes, is the broadest measure against the practice, and will affect more than 160 schools, Reuters reported.

A majority of Dutch people reject any suggestion that Black Pete, typically played by white people in blackface, is racist. But many others disagree. Starting this year, schools in The Hague will begin phasing out the use of blackface, curly hair wigs and red painted lips, with the changes to be completed within three years. They will be replaced with visually neutral Santa servants.

It would be important to note that while Spain and other Catholic dominated societies enjoy the tradition of Three Kings Day the Bible doesn’t actually mention how many of the Magi there were or what their ethnicity might be. The names of Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar are nowhere to be found in Christian scripture. Many places around the world show the Wisemen at the Nativity but the Bible says they actually did not show until the Christ child was likely more than 2 years old.

Farrakhan Calls for Blacks to Boycott Christmas

Farrakhan Calls for Blacks to Boycott Christmas

A new wrinkle in the lead up to Christmas 2015 comes from the lips of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan who is encouraging black consumers to boycott Christmas claiming “white business” enjoys a bonanza thanks to black consumers.

Quoting Martin Luther King, Farrakhan said, “He said ‘we have to find a way to redistribute the pain,’ He talked about going to businesses that benefited from black dollars and he said, ‘We have to now withdraw our economic support, so that those who give us pain can receive some pain in return.’”

Farrakhan quickly added this disclaimer, “We intend to boycott Christmas, but not Jesus. We think that they have taken advantage of us and our consumer dollars by materializing the respect and honor of Jesus and making it a bonanza for white business.”

This is part of what is being called the “Justice or Else” campaign. ““So the ‘or else’ for us is you’re either going to treat us right or we’re going to withdraw our economic support.”

Farrakhan lamented how “a white man from the North Pole with eight reindeer can knock Jesus to the curb” and even suggested that pastors all across the country shouldn’t even be buying Christmas trees.

This rhetoric is coming at a time when racism has entered the public dialogue about Christmas like no other time in history.

Battle Lines Being Drawn Over Confederate Flag in Roanoke Parade

Battle Lines Being Drawn Over Confederate Flag in Roanoke Parade

In early July we tipped you off to the issue of Confederate flags becoming a flash point for Christmas this year. This has not been hard to foresee given the difficult summer stories of the Charleston black church shootings.

That early July story focused on a Christmas parade in Brunswick, Georgia. Georgia has been mentioned as a target by some activists for the Civil War monuments at Stone Mountain, Georgia.

But we are hearing of a bigger battle brewing in Roanoke, Virginia and their “Dickens of a Christmas Parade”. The annual parade has long featured the Sons of Confederate Veterans and they have long featured the now-controversial Confederate flag.

What all this has to do with Christmas is not the issue.

The issue is race and the appropriate use of the flag in a city-sponsored event, which just happens to be a Christmas parade. Local media tells the story of the controversy, the plans of officials from the Sons of Confederate Veterans not to give in and now a counter protest in the works that will make the Dickens of a Christmas Parade a Dickens of a Mess.

Locals are afraid they will become the lead story on Fox News the day of the parade. It is a valid concern.

Confederate Flags in Christmas Parades the New Racist Issue with Christmas

Confederate Flags in Christmas Parades the New Racist Issue with Christmas

It is not just Dukes of Hazard on TV they want to ban. Now they are going after the Sons of Confederate Veterans for marching in Christmas parades. From Brunswick, Georgia comes the news of what appears to be a new wrinkle in the never ending war on Christmas: racism.

The Confederate flag has been a topic of controversy for some time now, especially during Christmas when members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans walk in the annual city parade with what some say is a racist display. “This is a symbol and a sign of a lot of pain and a lot of anger,” said Pastor Ken Adkins.

That’s why Adkins wrote a letter to several city officials, demanding the flags be taken down across Brunswick, especially during this year’s Christmas parade. “I think really it’s now time to have a discussion here in Glynn County, here in Brunswick,” said Adkins.

“If it offends people, that saddens me and my inclination would be to say it should not be used or displayed where it offends people,” said Jeff Kilgore.

But Jeff Kilgore says despite the controversy, the flag is more than just a piece of fabric, it’s history. “The flag has become controversial unfortunately and has been appropriated by hate groups and has been used inappropriately,” said Kilgore.

“Why didn’t you make the people who were using your flag as a symbol of hate and racism, why didn’t you all who said it’s my heritage, it’s my history, say something then?” said Adkins.

The annual Christmas parade in Brunswick has featured the flag and the Sons of Confederate Veterans for generations.

It has never been an issue in Brunswick — until now.

You can expect this to be just the first of several stories of Christmas parades in America that will deal with the Confederate flag this year.