The Harmful Impact of Racist Carnival Displays: A Call to Stop Stereotyping and Discrimination


Racism and Blackfacing at the Carnival Parade in Saxony

The recent display of four carnival dancers parading through Bad Schandau in Saxony was met with widespread condemnation as racist and offensive. Dressed in African-looking attire and carrying a sign that read “The long snake from the savannah,” the dancers were painted black, wore curly hair wigs, and had exaggerated red lips. This incident is not isolated; previous years have seen the carnival in Bad Schandau provoke controversy with its offensive displays.

In 2020, a carnival float displayed a severed papier-mâché head of Greta Thunberg. Last year, participants featured a Rainbow Man at a torture post and a dance performance by a character resembling Winnetou at an “asylum ranch.” The use of traditional African dresses, gold jewelry, Afro wigs, and even imitated the outdated imagery of “Negro kisses” packaging further perpetuated the racist stereotypes associated with blackface.

Blackface is widely considered racist as it trivializes the identities and experiences of black people by treating them as a costume for white people to wear and discard at will. Furthermore, the participants also carried posters with derogatory messages about politicians, including Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. The depiction of Baerbock with rats along with negative slogans was deeply offensive. These actions were met with widespread criticism and condemnation from those who believe that such displays are harmful to society and should be stopped immediately.

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