Some traditions die hard and in Britain a 150-year-old troupe of dancers who celebrate the arrival a spring in black face are the focus of a media firestorm.
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Labour Parliamentary candidate Will Straw has defended a photo he shared online which shows him with a pair of Morris dancers with their faces painted black, after their makeup was called racist.Continue reading ►
But anti-racism campaigners maintain that so-called "blacking-up" is "out of date" and "unacceptable in modern day Britain," after Twitter users rallied against the photo.
The 32-year-old Labour candidate for the marginal seat of Rossendale and Darwen, and son of former Home Secretary Jack Straw, was pictured with the Britannia Coconut Dancers of Bacup, Lancashire, on 19 April after their annual Easter Saturday Beating the Bounds performance.
During the ritual, which celebrates the arrival of spring, the 150-year-old troupe dances for ten hours from one side of the town to the other, dressed in black face paint, turbans, kilts, clogs, and with coconuts tied to their hands and knees.
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