Pre-minstrel syndrome?

November 4, 2009
All de world am sad and dreary,
Ebry where I roam,
Oh! darkies how my heart grows weary,
Far from de old folks at home

Welcome back to our feature, “What Year is it Again?” in which we take a look at photos and stories that make us think it may still be the 20 century, or the 19th, or maybe even the 15th century.

Here we have photos of Belgium’s royal family visiting what the caption calls a “circus.”

Now, I’m not a huge circus fan anyway, but at least I thought you could still visit the big top without stepping back into a Stephen Foster song and finding a bunch of white dudes in blackface makeup.

Before you ask, yes, I do understand kids from underprivileged families were invited to this “circus,” but the fact that children don’t have money shouldn’t mean they don’t have standards or taste.

I mean, this is the sort of thing you might expect to find at, let’s see, perhaps the Oktoberfest?

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Top: Belgium’s Queen Paola (R) arrives with her grandchildren at the Bouglione Circus in Brussels October 28, 2009. About 1,000 children from underprivileged families were invited to the circus by Bouglione.

Bottom: Queen Paola and Princess Astrid (2nd R) talk with Alexandre Bouglione of the Bouglione Circus at the end of a show. Princess Astrid’s daughters Princesses Laetitia Maria (2nd L) and Louise (3rd R) also attended the show.

REUTERS photos by Thierry Roge

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Can you spot the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader?

Posted by K | Report as abusive

The kids look like they’re having a lovely time!

These clowns like children….IN THEIR SOUP…WITH CRACKERS!!!

(Get it? They like to eat children! I crack myself up.)

Posted by K | Report as abusive

…in later years, Willy Wonka and his factory took a disturbing turn. The first evidence of this was the change in the Oompa Loompas. Gone were the days of dancing and songs about candy. The sinister chanting that rose out of the shadows of the chocolate factory struck fear into the hearts of everyone who dared to listen…


Posted by K | Report as abusive

For a moment, before I actually read the post and just by looking at the pictures, I thought this was another fashion designer’s show. Nevertheless, the captions and the post made me wonder if it’s just me who’s missing his dose of medication…

Posted by M | Report as abusive

Everyone needs to calm down. Blackface is not considered to be in bad taste in the EU as it is in the US. More worrisome is the implication of all these white hats!

Posted by GWMC | Report as abusive

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by rbasler: What kind of circus is this?…

Posted by uberVU – social comments | Report as abusive

I just wish someone could tell me why blackface is considered to be socially unacceptable entertainment.

I’m, in my late 30’s so I know I don’t understand because I’m ‘old fashioned’.
Whats the deal? What’s wrong with it?

Posted by SHands | Report as abusive

Ah boys!! Calm down… have some vodka with your medication…. and you will be alllllll fhinnnnnnnnnnnnee!

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive