Performers wearing 'Indian' makeup during the 2013 Mummers Parade in Philadelphia

Video: Mummers Parade Dancers in Redface for 'Pow Wow' Performance


Yesterday we posted a story about a racially-insensitive skit put on at the Mummers Parade in Philadelphia on New Year's Day. 

A tipster has brought to our attention some videos that many readers will find to be more shocking. They depict a string band performance featuring dozens of dancers in faux Indian regalia, their faces darkened with makeup. 

There are several videos of this group online, with quiet murmurs of commentary on the racial aspect. Here's one:

"To the haters posting on all the Quaker City videos, go hate somewhere else, no wants to hear your negative thoughts. This was done for entertainment and was very well researched. No offense was meant so take a hike."

One could go on at length about why such a costume is considered racist, although a common and very effective argument goes like this: If caucasian dancers were to paint their faces brown or black, and wear "African" costumes (no matter how "well researched"), would that be considered racist?

The wearing of blackface in the parade was officially outlawed in 1964. It would seem that redface has not been discouraged in the slightest. This group, the Quaker City String Band, won second place:

Visit for a gallery of photos of the Quaker City String Band in costume.

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Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
Please note that "black face" was intentionally used to degrade blacks and to perpetuate the idea that African Americans were unworthy of basic respect. Black face was meant to justify a pervading hatred for people of color by reducing them to simple idiocy. This Quaker City performance, however, was done out of admiration for our country's founding fathers. It was done out of appreciation. I am sorry to learn that some are offended. I personally thought it was beautiful. I assure you that I would not wish to offend anyone, so tell me... where did I get off track? Obviously, I am ignorant. But I don't want to stay that way! What's the solution? Certainly, it is not to throw angry words like " Fucking white ppl," or " WANNABEE'S." After all, I can't tell what color these people are and who cares? If you're offended, you're offended and it doesn't matter what color anyone is. Better to just make it plain what you wish. No one can read anyone's mind. Native Americans have been pushed aside, trampled and hidden away from the mainstream. How many Americans - white, black, Chinese, Pakistani, or otherwise - do you think have a personal relationship with a Native American? Very few indeed! Therefore, I encourage some peaceful discussion. I am ready to listen. It's a shame that the e whole world is ready to hear what you have to say.

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
To this so called Entertainers-- We are only blinf as we want to be-- MD

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
PC is reversed when the offenders seem beyond ignorant, spit on their bible and u get their attention, scream offensive shite to them and they take notice, when they leave this life, guess whos got a surprise for them.....better think

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
ugly costumes, heavy footed and crude choreography. I actually see no similarities between this junk and my culture. Hey this the best you have??? this cartoonish junk is no threat to any Native culture. Its just stupid...."dance" on, fools!

Jessica Redmond's picture
Jessica Redmond
Submitted by Jessica Redmond on
So you use the sacred culture of someones tribe to entertain people.. I don't like it either.. If you have love and honor for the culture and people then why not have the people represent them selves!! invite them to dance!! Probably learn way more than any research!! I don't feel like my heritage is at all for anyone's entertainment!! If you did not know about the respect and honor behind the outfits and dances the research was only what it looks like, not what its about.. and you see, it means more than this!! So so much more!!

redshoesgirl's picture
Submitted by redshoesgirl on
>>>Fucking white ppl, I tell ya, absolutely no morals, values, or any type of class to speak of. Is their own made-up history to ugly to express or revel in. Let me get something straight, I am not a racist...<<< as soon as you lump all people, no matter what colour or race, under one nasty umbrella you are a racist. if i had said the same thing about indians or african-americans, of course with the qualifying statement "i know many good - whatever race" you are a racist. white people and i am assuming you mean different shades of white, have a culture of mixed heritage . irish, english, italian, german - each with their own rituals and even dances to celebrate with. we are not bereft of culture. do different tribes of native americans have different cultures? or are you all lumped into one. east coast indians, west coast indians, plains indians, are you all the same? just as you are not all the same, neither are all white. and as long as you "fucking white ppl." you are a racist. how do you treat people of mixed blood? white with native?