Mummer's Skit Causes Controversy
Is it racism or political correctness going too far? That's the question surrounding a controversial performance at the 2013 Mummer's Parade. The 3 minute skit was performed by the Venetian New Year's Association from Northwest Philadelphia. The act titled "Indi-Insourcing" featured men dressed in traditional Indian costume working as operators at the "New Delhi Call Center". Other brigade members danced around a teepee dressed in traditional native American costume.
The performance sparked a swift response on social media.
Some comments on Twitter included "So that's the side of the Mummer's Day Parade they don't want to show on TV" said @JSNace.
Another Tweet from @MPcherkowsky said "The #Mummers parade has to (be) the last acceptable bastion of drunk white people pretending to be Native American. #Racist.
"It was a skit. It was designed to poke fun. It was a satire on a very timely political issue which is job outsourcing to India" said Mummer's spokesman George Badey.
Badey says political satire and pop culture parody has been a part of the Mummer's for more than 100 years. He says in 1964 the Mummer's banned the longtime use of black face. And in 2010, Geno's Cheese steak owner Joey Vento came under fire for a controversial skit on illegal immigration.
"It's what they're supposed to do as Mummer's as comics in the Comic Division they're supposed to poke fun" Badey said.
FOX 29 showed video of the performance to a dozen tourists and locals in Center City.
"I think it was just done in bad taste but I mean they have a right to express their opinions" said Sherria Watts of South Philadelphia.
Most people we spoke with say the performance is all in good fun and the controversy may be a case of political correctness going too far.
"I can see why other people would be offended. Me personally? Not so much" said David Boyd of Texas after watching the video.
Badey says they received no complaints about Venetian's performance.
The Mummer's Parade is believed to be the oldest folk festival in the United States dating back to 1901.