UPDATE: What Is Up With This Racist Costume Spotted at the Fremont Solstice Parade?


Which one? The native-Americany one?
Sounds like a real-life troll. What do we do with trolls? Feed or not feed?
CM, I don't see a slight or defamation in the costume. Blinded by my white privilege? Quite possibly.
Sorry, I didn't read the first paragraph thoroughly. I saw the parade early in its route (two blocks in) and don't remember these bad puppets.
I saw this puppet yesterday. Assuming it was intentionally provocative, or even if it was created by someone who's clueless about historical racial imagery in the US...is lavishing attention on it the best strategy? Serious question.
Also - the comments are buggy again in that you can't read them unless you make a new one. Just FYI to admin.
Maybe the first step would be to show a good picture so we could see it because I don't trust your judgment Charles that anything is racist...for you everything is racist… I could say "I prefer not to have fried chicken today" and you could tell me I'm racist.

They give you the important stories huh?
I agree that it is distasteful, but what more does Fremont Arts Council need to do? What can it do? It's a public street that they had a permit to use, they tossed him out of it when they saw it.

It's like the Bible people at the Pride Parade who say hateful things. The organization that runs pride can't do anything about them. The cops stand by to keep things from getting out of control, but that's about all that can be done, isn't it?
Was it snowing?
We are a volunteer driven organization so it took some time to unravel. Please see our facebook book. Thank you for your understanding.

What Catalina said. Assuming this wasn't run by them but just a drop-in. They can and should say "go away, you're not welcome in this parade", but can they legally exclude the guy from the parade route?
It is clearly a blackface puppet... but it's also just a blackface puppet. You can look at terrible old pottery and cookie jars of the same nature in Snohomish antique stores. The FAC doesn't have a responsibility beyond what they did - the person was not causing any harm other than the overblown emotional distress everyone expressed.
@5: No need to apologize. You comment in @1 is totally appropriate until Charles produces images of what exactly was offensive that we can't get from the photo. The puppet's "race" is not racist by itself, so what was it? Was there anything else about the costume we should know about?

It was odd to read

"Nevertheless, the slowness of FAC's response to the public's outcry suggests they did not grasp the seriousness of this incident and the insult."

... just after the letter from FAC saying

"Racist imagery has no place in the parade and we are taking measures to prepare and empower parade monitors to respond more quickly and effectively so something like this never happens again."

Makes me sick to publish stories that are bullshit, You can't really tell what's going on in that photo. And whether it's bigotry or not.

Wait until you can let us see and decide for ourselves before you show what might or might not be true.
I should clarify. Along the lines of @14's first sentence, must our multicultural celebrations forever remain devoid of African American depictions of puppets, costumes, and the like because of the blackface connotations -- when organically such events are an anti-racist celebrations to begin with?

Doesn't time, coupled with awareness, ever heal?
Bunch of white people in Seattle are hypersensitive to their own guilt and see it everywhere.
That's fine but they should go seek counseling and not spread it around as there is real genuine racism in the world and crying wolf doesn't help.
@8 That comment (the part about the fried chicken) actually is as latently racist as the puppet in question. If you don't understand why, spend some more time listening and learning about what racism is and how harmful it is. You are hurting people.
Got to say, I thought it was the yellow-face puppet -that looks like it had the type of hairstyle that young Asian boys used to wear a long time ago. From that picture I couldn't tell that the black puppet was a black-face, rather than just a black puppet. Is that hat racist? I don't mean to offend anyone, just want info, so I don't inadvertently offend or insult out of ignorance.
You know what offends me more than this and other cracker ass bullshit white people to because they're bored and racist? How much of a fucking idiot you have to be to not see the fucking blackface puppet for the blackface it is, THEN to go on and make your problem of being fucking willfully blind or a dimwit nitwit fuckwit everybody else's business, for several more comments. Also, feigned apathy on the Internet is only marginally less stupid and space-wasting. Blow that shit out your ass too.
With all the outright bigots in the world, including the idiot in this blackface puppet costume, can we please avoid the circular liberal firing squad of criticizing the organizers for not responding exactly how you think would be appropriate? The FAC are your allies in the fight against racism. Let's concentrate on the real problem rather than spitting on each other.
I must preface this with the fact that I didn't see/experience the puppet (aside from the poorly taken cover photo), and am going completely off of what the article says. So, first off - there're many Seattleites who need to get off their "holier than thou" mindset that often uses the civil unrest of minorities (generally racial) to gather in the streets with their signs (often overwhelmingly surrounded by other white people - dare I say often hipsters) and use this opportunity to snap selfies for social media. I've even experienced people in these rallies yelling phrases like "racist", "dumb" or "ignorant" at people who were simply bypassing them on the street (for not participating in the rally).
So when it comes to people bitching about how offended about a "blackface Rasta puppet" in a parade (that I'm assuming had many wacky looking characters, as they usually tend to), it astonishes me how some people (particularly in Seattle) are able to manufacture this extreme anger and offendedness towards situations that are the slightest bit distasteful at most (and I don't see this situation as being distasteful in the least.) All the wile, these "social justice warriors" tend to ignore the issues that do directly impact minorities (along with the entire community as a whole) in a very real way - such as investing in instead of cutting funding for education, after school activities, and active community projects in impoverished neighborhoods; setting up rehabs and treating non-violent "drug offenses" as the medical issue that it is instead of locking people in cages (with potentially violent/harmful criminals) and leaving them with a tarnished public record; and perhaps spending more tax money on improving the infrastructure (including replacing fast food resturaunts with affordable healthier food options - as fast food chains are known to be concentrated in low income areas, excluding choices of healthier options; and another major factor to focus on is voting ID requirements and locations of polling stations, which are seemingly overly tedious to create an opstickle making it difficult for minorities and the general "lower-class" to vote.
These are only a subset of the systemic racism and classism issues that I feel the rage over a "blackface Rasta puppet" should be focused on. From my experience being around Seattleite "social justice warriors", it seems to me that their extreme anti-racism montra (generally used in marches that are often sparked by no logical incident from my viewpoint) and obnoxious delivery appear to cause a divide between said groups that marches are for, law enforcement, and sometimes observers who see these protestors acting like immature assholes.
Obviously racism and sexism do still exist on an individual basis - but I think that those ignorant beliefs are very rare and fading in 2017, and only need expenditure of energy in the individual cases that they occurre. Anyways, martching to take selfies and treating these events as a self-righteous social gathering sports event generally does not work, & you certainly won't be changing the minds of the biggots who this is "aimed at." i do not have the single idea on how to change the systemic oppression that exists, although a beginning would certainly be taking money out of elections & ending/not starting new unnecessary wars, therefore creating terrorist groups, and blablabla... point being, if all you ralliers put the time, passion, & thought into these sorts of issues rather than parade puppets - then we might have a chance of improving this incredibly fucked up government/society.
Also, I think it's important to note that it is quite ironic and absolutely fucking hilarious that a "blackface" parade character wearing a rastacapgot kicked out! And then people go on to talk about how terribly offensive it was... (segregation much?) So here's a newsflash: Rastafari is a real religion that orrigionated in Jamaica and is represented by the flag of Ethiopia. Although it has spread throughout other places, I think it's safe to assume that a vast majority of real Rastafarians have in fact been wearing "blackface" since birth, and the rastacap is also a common accessory to practitioners of the Rastafari religion. So, ironically - they kicked out a black cultural/religious symbol & went on to bitch about how it offended themđŸ˜‚
These (social justice warrior) type of Seattalites are so white-washed (and apparently haven't traveled to other countries) that they fail to realize that people from different areas of the world likely have different cultures, beliefs, ways of life, and physical features. So to you "social justice warriors,": maybe instead of always having a stick up your ass about how offended you are & how you need to be "trigger warned in your safe space," consider that people from other locations (or even just life experiences) may look different, behave different, & have a completely different perspective on life. Instead of pretending that's not the case, I find a much more connected & human experience from acknowledging & conversing about our differences - perhaps you might learn something or gain a new perspective for fuck sakes.
A false assumption is made by those who think the puppet represented an oppressed person. And I hear the following regarding the puppet itself... The artist made the at least 20 years ago and has been received well in many different venues, and The Ensemble it was with was representing large puppets of various cultures all celebrating together. I saw at the parade yesterday this Caribbean Festival Style dark-faced puppet interacting with the crowd up close and shaking hands with people and dancing. Truly harmless.

It saddens me the shaming and vitriol is so easily spread. It shocks me the negative is primarily viewed rather than considering other perspectives.

I had a wonderful day dancing in the streets and playing in the parade raising money to support the cause. It's sad to see this rain on the parade It's a Wonderful event. The Fremont Arts Council does a great job. I don't think it should have to apologize or micromanage people's perceptions of what they see.
While I agree that it was a deeply offensive outfit, I'm a little confused by this response: "It was seen by lots of people over the course of the weekend, and it made its way back into the parade over and over again. FAC needed to do more, and it needs to do more now than just claiming to have "tried.""

What more did you want them to do? Tear the costume off him and destroy it? Tie him up somewhere? I'm serious - if it's not something you can get the cops to arrest a person over (and this wasn't) what can you legally do other than telling him to leave and, if he comes back, telling him to leave again? I'm just not sure what you can have
Do you think this is what Charles imagined as he began his career in what he probably thought would be journalism?

Writing poorly edited blog posts about this one parade puppet that some people might think is using racist imagery?
@15: Minstrelsy is an aesthetic, not a race.


Don't be an ignorant asshole.
@21 is exactly what's wrong with Seattle. You actually believe that saying "I prefer not to have fried chicken" is in fact racist? I might not like fried chicken that day or ever and btw fried chicken is not even necessarily a black dish…

That's more my whole point;
that Charles would somehow think that only black people eat fried chicken and if I don't want fried chicken some particular day, I'm being racist.

And that you get up on your mountaintop of moralism and tell me that I should get "woke"… Oh god what an idiot -- thank god don't know who you are and hope to never meet you.

What a dick that guy in the anachronistic African costume must be. It's not 1912 in Belgium! After being told once he should have left. Dick.
>feigned apathy

why would people be pretending to not care? Do you understand the words you're typing?
to #29 - the "blackface puppet" was in no (accurate) way affiliated with the other four giant puppets. Those puppets were part of a musical theater performed during this years Honk! Fest West - and also led their procession from Occidental Square to the waterfront (Saturday, June 3rd). The four musical giant puppets were among the best parade participants - and now are saddled by being captured in a photo with the most distressing. Ah well ... at least it's producing a measure of possibly productive dissonance - however hurtful it may (again) be for some.
There's a lot of white people that never seem to grasp that if a bunch of non-white people get pissed off about something, it's an actual problem, even if the white people think it's okay.
"It's alleged that the person inside of it was not black."

Did this ever get confirmed?
I don't understand all of you assholes telling people to 'relax' about this. It's clearly outrageous and unacceptable. It wasn't clear until later on that it wasn't officially part of the parade. It's ok that people are mad about this. Does that really have to be fucking said? Great, the FAC tried to stop it and they'll hopefully do a better job at in the future, but the point now is SOME ASSHOLE decided to pull this bullshit and he needs to be called out. Let's not blame people for how this made them feel like shit.
@32: Best you can do? Circa 1935?

Please dear, get a grip.

You know it's really hard to have a conversation about a physical object with so few people actually having seen it...
This debate illustrates how we all should take these stories with a grain of salt because the facts aren't there and that in the final analysis this story is too transitory and nebulous to glean anything of substance from.

Blaming people for feeling like shit is the cornerstone of whitesplaining.
What is the difference between a black puppet and a blackface puppet, and who decides? Is any depiction of a black person by a white person racist? What about an AZN or Hispanic person depicting a black person? Is that racist? Are all depictions of people of another culture, regardless of intentions, out of bounds? I'm asking seriously, so please don't discount me as a troll. Please discuss.
I could be wrong, but I vaguely remember seeing that puppet in the past and thinking, "wow, that's a bit much." I would ask that journalists look into whether or not this was the puppet's first parade.
On the plus side, this was the most diverse crowd, and diverse cyclist and parade participants that I've seen in years.
The asian community isn't screaming racism over the yellow puppet because they aren't paranoid
Will the parade not be inclusive next year when nobody dares depict anything possibly black or african?
I thought it was hilarious! We were all laughing when he danced by.

(I guess being stoned on the Rastafarian drug of choice didn't help subdue the hilarity of the moment- maybe he was celebrating the fact Seattlite's can now smoke weed legally?).
I'm impressed with the endless outrage people have over the most trivial issues. And good luck with those ulcers and periods of extended hypertension too.
Quite interesting statement on the wired age we live in here, Charles, when an 8 hr delay in response --on a Sunday afternoon, for an all volunteer-run Arts org with no permanent staffing-- is somehow considered, "a slow response to the public's outcry."

Responding in less than 24 hours would have been considered a "lightning quick response" a just few years ago. Getting back to you on Monday the norm.

(Especially since the day after the parade --and post-parade parties-- most FAC members probably weren't even rolling out of bed (hungover) until 3 or 4 that afternoon!)

The impatience and willful ignorance of time that social media has created, warping our understanding of how long things (real things, IRL -- not emoticon, facebooky, knee-jerk reaction, click-n-pastey things) actually take in the real universe of physical objects, is clearly, if unintentionally, boldly on display here.
All of you closeted White Supremacist commenting on this thread. I See You
Weird, white people don't understand what racism is? It's almost as if that's why we're still dealing with racism. No, that can't be it. Us black and brown must be out of our minds to not want historically racist images paraded around in front of us.
@40: Apologies for you being so piercingly stupid and proudly ignorant that history and context isn't enough to explain... the history and context of the aesthetic being used for blackface.

The issue is not that it happened in the 1930s but racists still fester in society (and slog boards.)
@53: Yeah, they're not far off from wearing the getup themselves apparently :/
Wouldnt a blackface puppet be a white puppet with a black face?