Blackface Is Big in Germany

Joel Stonington, Vocativ, February 13, 2014

Despite a growing backlash against it, blackface is still popular in Germany, where people insist they aren’t racist.

With Karneval ready to kick off later this month, many in Germany are picking out their festive getups and preparing to drink as much Hefeweizen as humanly possible. Unfortunately, some of the costume ads—like this one, eloquently titled “Gaylord Afro Wig, Wet Look for Men”—invite revelers to dress up in blackface.


Despite a growing backlash against it, blackface remains common in Germany. It has a long history in this country of roughly 82 million, where Nazism is banned, but pockets of racial prejudice still hold strong. “It’s horrible that black people are being portrayed as clowns and funny-looking people,” says Tahir Della, spokesperson for the Initiative for Black People in Germany, an anti-racism group. “It’s degrading.”

Mockery, if not total degradation, is part of the history of Germany’s Karneval. Though the holiday itself goes back further, the tradition of wearing costumes developed during the 1800s in the western part the country. At the time, the Germans were under French rule, and they used Karneval as a chance to mock their foreign overlords.

In the modern era, the mockery has moved into other realms. It’s all supposed to be in good fun, but it often crosses the line. One advertisement for a costume on Amazon features a white actor in blackface with cartoonish red lips, a minstrel-like smile, a spear in one hand and a bone in the other (the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment). Another costume on Karneval-Megastore, a site run by the German company Kultfaktor, features a man in blackface wearing a grass skirt with a bone through his nose.


After I called Kultfaktor and asked about the costumes, the company apologized, saying it had returned them to the manufacturer, and expressing “regret and dismay” that anyone would think these outfits were racist.

“Karneval is all about having fun,” says the Kultfaktor spokesperson. “Of course we play with clichés, but this fact also applies at Karneval to all categories of people. We also have costumes that take light-skinned people for a ride, and this may be overlooked.”

For light-skinned people, however, that ride is different. The history of blackface dates back hundreds of years to American minstrel shows, which popularized some of the most harmful stereotypes about black people: That they’re lazy, stupid, brutish and subhuman. These bogus ideas—commonly used to justify slavery—soon became the images of blacks that spread across the Atlantic. (Sadly, some of them are still hanging around, both in the U.S. and abroad, albeit in different forms.)

In Germany today, many have tried to claim that minstrel shows were a uniquely American phenomenon with little or no history on the continent, but that’s simply not true. If anything, blackface is now widely shunned in the U.S., though there are some glaring exceptions.



Germany’s blackface problems go far beyond costumes or candy. German Chancellor Angela Merkel posed with children dressed in blackface last year for an official event.

German Chancellor Merkel speaks with carol singer dressed as Balthasar at Chancellery in Berlin

Two years ago, a German theater chose to feature actors in blackface—a decision that sparked online backlash. At the time, some argued that there weren’t enough black actors in Germany. But Della says this was just an excuse used to justify the practice. Few, he says, were willing to take a real look at what dressing in blackface really means: That on some level, we’re giving credence to the ideas behind the shoe polish.


So why is it still acceptable in Germany? Part of the problem is that racism here means Nazism, according to T. Vicky Germain, a filmmaker and activist in Berlin. If you try and explain why something’s racist, people will often give you an annoyed look and say they aren’t Nazis. “That’s a serious problem,” says Germain.

Just two months ago, nearly 7 million people tuned in to ZDF, a major, publicly funded German TV station, when the program presenter on Wetten, Dass…? (Wanna Bet That…?) dared the audience to come dressed as two characters in a well-known children’s book. For one of the characters, the presenter suggested audience members use “coal or shoe polish” to blacken their faces.


The studio audience complied, and so did the mayor of Augsburg, a city of in southern Germany. After the incident, the network refused to apologize, and the local newspaper argued that the incident could not be called racist because audience members were dressing up like a “bold, adventurous and sympathetic hero.”

As one Reddit user, whose name has since been deleted, writes: “I bet that about 99 percent of Germans could not tell you what a minstrel show or blackface is. [The children’s character] has a positive image here and this has nothing to do with a minstrel type black caricature at all.”


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  • Oil Can Harry

    “It’s horrible that black people are being portrayed as clowns and funny-looking people.”

    They portray themselves as clowns, with blacks in Africa having plates in their lips and bones in their noses and US blacks wearing baggy pants with their underwear showing.

    • wildfirexx

      Well said Oil Can Harry! lol

  • Truthseeker

    I think blackface is ugly. I don’t care about people getting offended by it, I just think it’s an aesthetically displeasing alteration to good white faces. If European people want to do it though, I say let them.

    • BonV.Vant

      they are mocking their “overlords”. Or the people that the real overlords have put directly over white people.

    • NeanderthalDNA

      Hey, if it ticks off blacks and crypto-Marxists, let the Germans have some fun…

      There is yet much hope in the fatherland…

      • Erasmus

        More people need to start doing anything that makes our “PC” overlords angry and raises their blood pressure. We’ve been at war for decades now, and more on our side are finally starting to realize it.

        • NeanderthalDNA

          “For light-skinned people, however, that ride is different. The history of blackface dates back hundreds of years to American minstrel shows, which popularized some of the most harmful stereotypes about black people: That they’re lazy, stupid, brutish and subhuman.”


          Actually not quite two hundred years, but what to expect from a crypto-Marxist shill?

          • Erasmus

            Yet I see very little from mainstream black leaders that doesn’t confirm the stereotype.

    • Fr. John+

      Yeah, but seeing Judy Garland and/or Bing Crosby in older films in Blackface, make you realize how ‘right’ it is to see only Whites on stage… compared to today.

  • IstvanIN

    If there were no blacks in Germany, and there shouldn’t be any, this wouldn’t be an issue.

  • BonV.Vant

    oh lawdy, cry me an old man river

    • NeanderthalDNA

      Everyone get into the act!

      • Michael Samuel

        we all know what she really Wants…..hehehehe.

  • Garrett Brown

    Schwarzes Gesicht macht die schwarzen Gesichter verrückt!

    • Extropico

      Ausgelassen und treu.

  • Spartacus

    “That they’re lazy, stupid, brutish and subhuman.”


    • Erasmus

      Nothing insults black people as much as telling the truth about black people.

    • NeanderthalDNA

      The antidote to this parasitic infection…

  • D.B. Cooper

    No one said anything about this, did they?

    • SaggyGenes

      It’s not the same! Whites have a long history of oppressing blacks. Now, if black men raped over a hundred white women in the US every day, then this might be problematic…

  • So CAL Snowman

    “The history of blackface dates back hundreds of years to American minstrel shows, which popularized some of the most harmful stereotypes about black people: That they’re lazy, stupid, brutish and subhuman.”

    Yes the history of Africa suggests just the opposite.

  • Truth Teller

    The costumes and satire appeared long before the 1800’s French occupation. In medieval times Germans and other Europeans dressed as bishops, Popes and royalty and cavorted about in sarcastic skits and plays., making fun of authority figures.

  • Spartacus

    Germany has bigger problems than this… There are politicians there who openly claim the German people must be exterminated, and that you’re a “nazi” if you say otherwise :

    • IstvanIN

      Is this true, does this broad really want to destroy her own people?

    • curri

      It’s great that they’re so open about it. They’re openly declaring that they favor genocide. US/UK globalist scum use doubletalk to fool the masses.

    • RisingReich

      I pray that someday the German people wipe ‘people’ like this off the earth forever.

    • wildfirexx

      These disgraceful anti-white party leaders should be dealt 10 lashes, before being exiled to darkest Africa.

    • Erasmus

      Hand her a revolver and demand she put her money where her bull-dyke mouth is.

  • Rhialto

    I agree that Blackfacing is undesirable. Blacks are dangerous enemies. It’s not wise to pretend that Blacks are comical and harmless .

  • Katherine McChesney

    But, I remember hearing that German women sought out black U.S. soldiers for relationships.

    • Spartacus

      It was the other way around. And you’re confusing “relationships” with “rapes” .

      • Katherine McChesney

        You’re right of course. I misspoke.

    • Massif1

      Black “soldiers” actually choose to stay in Germany rather than go back to America. Yes, they choose to stay with the evil whites instead of going back to their beloved ghettos that they’ve created. Most German women that choose to mate with them are overweight and have issues.

  • CelestiaQuesta

    The Dutch have Black Pete for Christmas why not Germans for Karneval.

    • Allan477

      In parts of NW Germany they do have Schwarzer Peter. But it is not as wide-spread as it is in the Netherlands.

  • Erasmus

    You go, Germany. Give the PC terrorists a big “Up yours!”

  • Bernie Grey

    Al Jolson should get a BET life achievement award.

  • Spartacus

    By the way – Given the date, why no article about Dresden ? I’m pretty sure that’s more important than these idiot critters’ whining…

  • sbuffalonative

    Minstrel Shows and black face are verboten for no other reason than blacks say they should be.

  • For a minute there, I thought they meant black faces are popular in Germany.

  • Fighting_Northern_Spirit

    …popularized some of the most harmful stereotypes about black people: That they’re lazy, stupid, brutish and subhuman. These bogus ideas…
    Interesting that the writer goes out of his way to say these ideas are harmful and bogus. If they were self-evidently false, there would be no need.

  • JDInSanD

    The Germans are being heavily indoctrinated into black worship. I visited last year and took many pictures. Here are a few examples. The first is a public service propaganda piece from a trolly stop showing a single German mom with her black child, but no dad in sight. The caption says “We want you as you are.” The second picture is from a reality show showing a cool black kid literally placed on a pedestal while the feminized German dork boy looks on. The third shows another reality show where a white guy had been bowling with 4 hot German girls until a black girl comes in, starts making out with him and pulls him out of the bowling alley. The white girl who was with him was then shown crying.

    • IstvanIN

      How can anyone think that thing is attractive?

      • JDInSanD

        And take note of the size and angle of his forehead versus hers.

      • Kenner

        Looks like a tranny.

    • Dutch

      The caption says “We want you as you are.”

      It would be silly if they wants you as someone else, why isn’t that obvious.

  • Einsatzgrenadier

    The more ethnic diversity there is, the less representative democracy and laissez-faire capitalism we have. The more ethnic diversity there is, the less freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of thought and freedom of association we have. The greatest enemy of human freedom is ethnic diversity.

  • Caucasoid88

    Dave Chappelle did white face a whole bunch on Chappelle’s Show. I found it funny. Why can’t these negroes?

    • dd121

      I didn’t see it, but I’m sure it’s not funny. I bet it was meant to ridicule whites.

      • Caucasoid88

        No, it was funny. It’s impossible to ridicule whites. There’s nothing we should be ashamed of. A little light-hearted roasting is always welcome in my book. Being offended is admitting defeat.

    • Erasmus

      Why do we find it funny when blacks do white face but blacks (and Latinos) don’t when we do black face?

      For the same reason we don’t get insulted when someone calls us YT: We come from a race of which we can and should feel rightfully proud.

  • lily-white

    “It’s horrible that black people are being portrayed as clowns and funny-looking people,” says Tahir Della, spokesperson for the Initiative for Black People in Germany, an anti-racism group. “It’s degrading.”
    No Tahira… its actually the reflection of a culture…

    • LACountyRedneck

      Odd looking phone. Don’t axe me what he’s sayin’ with that shuffleboard puck inserted.

  • William Allingham

    why should they apologize? apologize when you do that in Africa.

    in their country they can dress however they want (and if someone doesnt agree that someone can move out to africa or central america) Germany IS NOT A BLACK COUNTRY and if whites see blacks practices as undesirable they can shun them however they like.

    I declare that its our human right to reject people who hurt us or we simply dislike.

    do we have to call it “a crime against humanity” in order that whites are allowed to express themselves as they truly feel?

  • Massif1

    Old traditions vs 21st century correctness. Did you know that African tribes burn albinos alive? That sounds like racism to me – burning a human being born white (different) in the middle of Africa. I’m glad Eastern Europeans are still making fun blacks by putting on black faces and having good fun.

    • Erasmus

      Yet for a white to point out the cruelty and barbarism of an African is the height of cultural imperialism. The left can try to shove political correctness down our throats all they want, but because they’re running counter to what’s natural, they will ultimately fail. In the end they’ll finally have wasted a lot of time and energy, and the saddest part of all is that they’ll make a lot of good people suffer.

      (BTW, I am glad the gloves are coming off and that we’re finally starting to openly protest the lunacy and juvenile behavior of the left.)

    • Guest

      many albinos are protected .. they use there bones as witch craft

  • 2eRep

    Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

  • Michael Samuel

    She’s got more qualifications than you I see and more exposure to European culture, you hicks will believe any tripe the right wing says. Remember its Ronald Reagan that allowed the 4-5 million Mexicans to stay and live in the USA in 1987 “Amnesty” how’s that working out for you?

  • Michael Samuel

    That’s the dumbest thing I’ve read so far in here….