In the town of Bad Schandau, located in Saxony, an incident involving four carnival dancers has sparked controversy. The dancers, who had their faces and hands painted black, wore curly hair wigs and bright oversized red lips as part of their costumes. The women among them were dressed in garments that appeared to mimic traditional African attire, while a man in the group held a sign that read: “The long snake from the savannah.” This display, which can be interpreted as a reference to African refugees, was deemed not amusing but an overt act of racism.
The quartet took part in a carnival procession with around 400 other participants in Bad Schandau on Saturday. Unfortunately, this is not the first instance in which the town’s carnival festivities have been marred by scandalous displays.
Previous Controversial Incidents
In the previous year, participants enacted a scene where a man, referred to as the Rainbow Man, was tied to a torture post while another participant, dressed as Winnetou, danced on an “asylum ranch.” In a shocking display in 2020, a papier-mâché replica of the severed head of Greta Thunberg, the young environmental activist, was paraded on a carnival float.
This year, participants found humor in the practice of Blackfacing – a term used to describe the act of white people painting their faces black.
The Foundation Against Racism condemned the act, stating: “Blackfacing is considered racist because it trivializes the identities and experiences of black people by treating them as costumes that white people can casually put on and take off.”
Further Controversy: Blackfacing and the “Negro Kiss” Poster
Adding to the controversy, the carnival participants donned traditional African dresses, gold jewelry, and Afro wigs. They also displayed a poster featuring the outdated image of a chocolate kiss packaging, which was previously referred to as “Negro kisses.” The participants painted their lips in a bright red hue, similar to the caricatured images found on the chocolate box.
Further adding to the spectacle, participants dressed as rats were seen next to a figure representing Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (43, Green Party). Their costumes were emblazoned with the words “ARD”, “CSU”, “FDP” and “The Left”. A message on one of the posters read: “Annalena dreams of a green life, but only the rats stick to her glue pot.” The display seemed open to a variety of interpretations.