PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The men who wore blackface during the Mummers Parade on New Year’s Day have been expelled and banned from future mummers events. The two men were associated with the Froggy Carr Mummers Club.
The mummers banned the use of blackface in 1963.
“It’s horrible,” Charles McKenna, president of Wench Association, said. “It’s a bad mark for the city, a bad mark for the clubs.”
Wench Association oversees Froggy Carr.
Philadelphia city leaders are upset and reaching out to their legal counsel to see if there are any possible punishments after the two mummers dressed up in blackface.
“The fact that we do have to issue a permit gives us some leverage in terms of ensuring that this doesn’t happen again,” Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke said.
Froggy Carr was disqualified from the mummers competition. The club’s theme was Gritty and the Flyers, whose colors are orange and black, but the two men who spoke to Eyewitness News reporter Matt Petrillo made it clear they knew they were wearing blackface and not just sporting the Flyers’ colors.
“Cause I like it. Yeah, why not? I know it’s a shame to be white in Philly right now. It’s a shame,” Mike Tomaszwski said.
“It has nothing to do with being racist to the black person or the white person or the yellow person. It’s our tradition,” Kevin Kinkel said.
Philadelphia NAACP President Minister Rodney Muhammad says blackface is a tradition that is steeped in racism and must go.
“When you do things like blackface at a time like this, you help to stoke unfounded fears about people of color and we have to push back on it every chance that we see it cropping its head,” Muhammad said.
Representatives for Froggy Carr and the mummers spoke in attorney George Badey’s office.
“We’re going to approach the other divisions and make sure these people don’t ever march in the Mummers Parade again,” Badey said. “It’s totally unacceptable.”