In the small town of Bad Schandau, Saxony, four carnival dancers paraded through the streets on Saturday, dressed in bright red wigs and oversized lips, with their faces and hands painted black. The group held a sign that read “The long snake from the savannah,” an obvious reference to refugees from Africa. However, this display was not meant to be funny; it was seen as pure racism.
Despite protests from various organizations, this year’s carnival featured a pattern of controversial and offensive behavior. Last year, they showcased a Rainbow Man on a torture post while Winnetou danced on an “asylum ranch.” In 2020, the carnival float displayed a severed papier-mâché head of Greta Thunberg. This year, the participants engaged in Blackfacing by putting black paint on their faces.
The Foundation Against Racism condemns Blackfacing because it treats the identities and experiences of black people as a costume. The group also wore traditional African dresses, gold jewelry, Afro wigs and depicted black cartoon people on posters and in their costumes, including an outdated print of a chocolate kiss packaging when they were still called “Negro kisses.”
In addition to these displays, the group also left a lot of room for interpretation with their portrayal of German politician Annalena Baerbock by disguising her as rats next to her with a message that said “Annalena dreams of a green life but only the rats stick to her glue pot.” These actions have sparked outrage and condemnation from various groups who continue to call for an end to racially insensitive displays at carnivals.
It is important for individuals to recognize that these types of displays are not only offensive but can also perpetuate harmful stereotypes about different cultures and communities. It is crucial that we work towards promoting inclusivity and respect for all people regardless of their race or ethnicity.