Blackpool Illuminations Face Racist Complaints

Blackpool Illuminations Face Racist Complaints

A 60-year old light display in the seaside town of Blackpool in Lancashire, England, is getting another look following an uptick in complaints that a section of the display is culturally insensitive—even racist. The town council is reviewing a part of the Blackpool Illuminations display that depicts six men wearing headdresses with a totem pole. The council will determine which parts of the display, which first debuted in the 1960s, are appropriate for 2022. 

A council spokeswoman said the panel was “designed many years ago and intended to be a celebration of different cultures.”

Times are Changing

She said council officers had been “in constructive discussion with two people of Native American origin, who raised concerns about the tableau”.

“We have explained the background to the historic elements of the Illuminations display,” she told BBC. “[We] assured them these were designed and created many years ago and intended to be a celebration of different cultures.”

Unflattering and offensive depictions of Native Americans are being met with more and more opposition. The Cleveland Indians recently agreed to change their mascot to the Guardians, following the conclusion of the 2021 season. That move followed the Washington Football Team dropping their own offensive “Redskins” moniker. The Kansas City Chiefs are similarly under fire to drop their name and logo.

In the U.K., rugby union side Exeter Chiefs decided to retain their name and logo, but did retire their “Big Chief” mascot in 2020.

The council spokeswoman said the Blackpool Illuminations are “one of the U.K.'s most enduring family attractions,” but that they never wanted them to contain “anything intended to cause offense.”

Given that Blackpool was hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, the town is extending its Illuminations by two months in an effort to help recoup lost tourism money. After January, the council will determine the future of the display.

Featured Image Credit: SWNS/Blackpool Gazette


3 Comments on “Blackpool Illuminations Face Racist Complaints”

  • Avatar for Juan G Ramirez

    Juan G Ramirez


    Who were the complaints made by? Why is it only NOW after 60+ years someone is complaining? Considering this is one of the few public displays actually meant to honor
    Native Americans, and our diverse Nations. I believe there are much bigger issues to tackle, than a long standing display on the other side of the ocean.
    Something like, I don’t know, the 500 treaties never honored, the lack of representation
    for our people, the neglect of our cousins on the Pine Ridge Reservation. We MUST stop following the popular trend of “hurt feelings” being set by those who negelct the genocide, theft and mistreatment of our nations.

  • Avatar for Ralph



    Yes! One more thing.the sound you make when your foot hits the ground,is the same sound that the bison make when they run.the old one’s here told use and show use.that the bison huff has a bone in it that is between it’s leg and the huff.they took this bone an placed in the heel of there dance shoe.theirs a dance in mexico on one has done it scene 1952? Where one would dancebup the temple of the sun.I watched this Indian do it that day and said I wanted to do that ,I was 100 yards away from him and he turn and look at me and smile yes!h He dances the English alphabet and then 9876543210 and your at top I think it’s two steps per-letter.we all spoke English once.that was before god got piss.and know we speak what every! Yours truely I dance.

  • Avatar for Ralph dixon

    Ralph dixon


    No! No! Do not let them take down that sign!!! That sign is the same as if it was on a rock wall printed 2million years ago.I felt the same way when I was six and had to go to Cherokee nation were my grandmother and grandfather are from to learn north American dance.and I learn all of it.I was one of the last ones to do the ghostdance.and I won the international folklorico dance competition in ireland.the trophy is in mexico.I had to learn the same Indian dance that I saw on Saturday morning cartoons.yes! The same one pictured above.its called the first step.they are about as sacred as it comes.I had plans to bitch about you.but I. Really did not know who to speak to.all the dance are doing the lady step to the jingles dance.I’ve only seen one guy doing it right.and he was opening up the pow wow like he was supposed to.I’ve seen them open with the flags,that one goes before the that dancer….he tells the great spirit that a pow wow is beginning.I don’t remember all of the the first three are four me don’t remove that sign.I don’t care what you have to do.don’t let them do that!my knees are shot, so it hard for me to get Mexico they ask me to teach that to the national ballet company of mexico, I didn’t speak if you are saying Mexico what do they know!when I was six they used to have weekend dances from 7pm to2am and then go and set and wait for morning water?ring -a-bell…! That’s right in Mexico they dance a peyote meeting.WOW! But this dance was in San antonio,Texas it use to be great here.have you seen these guys from peru.Playing El condor dorado orchestra🤗 Ralph Dixon 210 222-2036

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