PLBC statement on Mummer’s Parade

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 3 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus released the following statements after seeing reports of racist behavior at the Mummer’s Parade:

“The issue we are seeing here is a history of controversial characters and portrayals,” said state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila, chairman of the PLBC. “The actions of those involved was intended as a form of comedy, but many viewers on the outside of the event believe it was in poor taste. We want to work on educating the public about how these actions can affect those around them, and how we might be able to better work for the future by working together on this parade as a whole community. The PLBC will continue our fight against acts of racism and fight for non-discriminatory legislation that updates the laws to help combat racism and racist behavior. Even if we cannot defeat it altogether, we should have better laws in place to discourage hateful practices and better educate the public.”

“It doesn’t matter if it’s blackface or a black face, racial insensitivity has no place in Philadelphia,” said state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., former chairman of the PLBC and House Democratic Whip. “Sadly, this Parade has a tradition of racial insensitivity at best and racism at worst. It’s high time the sponsors and all others involved take a deliberate look at the messages being put forth by the parade. I look forward to joining other leaders to address these issues.”

“The Mummer’s Parade has a controversial history, particularly when it comes to the portrayal of the black community,” said state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila, vice chairwoman of the PLBC. “Though not blackface or as offensive as past Mummer Parades, it is another example of poor judgement and misguided humor. These images subliminally reinforce racial stereotypes. I hope that we can take advantage of this incident for open and honest dialogue about diversity.”

“The parade in the past has featured culturally insensitive acts by various participants which does not reflect the rich diversity that exists in the City of Philadelphia,” said state Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila. “Although the event is not funded with local tax dollars, it is indirectly supported through other City services, which should be something we examine in the future.”

“Engaging in this behavior not only propagates racist ideas, it also denies racism by trying to portray it as a joke. This is not an issue of the past because the implications of blackface are intrinsically embodied in our culture. Whether or not it was blackface, it was in poor taste and highly offensive to the Black community. I condemn these acts and I encourage everyone to reflect and take action if we really want to push back against the ways in which racist narratives and practices are becoming increasingly normalized in our day,” said state Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila, chairman of the Philadelphia Delegation.


CONTACT: Daniel Bixler
House Democratic Communications Office
Phone: 717-787-7895 ext. 6221