The Black and White Minstrel Show” was also a long running stage show at the Victoria Palace theatre in London. I saw it in, I think, 1970. I don’t recall any public debate about its merits. I was a Sales Rep and it was customary to entertain big customers at Christmas and one of mine asked if he and his wife could go to the show, I was happy to oblige.
It’s a bit of a cop out to say that the mores of the times were different – they were but that doesn’t justify the underlying offensiveness of the “Minstrels”. But in the main that attitude is retrospective. At the time my wife and I were concerned about going to the show because we saw it as down-market ! Intellectual snobbery on our part not racial sensitivity.
The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there. Britain was slow to adapt to the consequences of its post war multiculturalism and in 1970 there were attitudes and behaviours that would be unacceptable today. But let’s not delude ourselves that our present day society is as open and inclusive and tolerant as some would like to think it is. The happenings at Yorkshire CCC and the opposition to some sportsmen “taking the knee” are examples of the fact that we’ve a long way to go.