62K sign online petition demanding a black man play role of Balthazar in Madrid's traditional 12th night cavalcade

By James Badcock in Madrid
The Three Kings - Melchior, Balthazar and Caspar – in
Madrid’s traditional 12th night procession. Photograph: Alberto Martin/EFE
SPAIN---Tired of seeing white politicians “black up” for a children’s post-Christmas street parade, almost 62,000 people have signed an online petition demanding that Madrid council choose a black man to play the role of Balthazar in the city’s Three Kings cavalcade next week. Arguing that “it is senseless and unnecessary in this day and age for the king Balthazar to be a white man painted black”, signatories of the petition on change.org have criticised what they see as an offensive and anachronistic practice. Madrid city hall insists the choice is not racist but simply traditional. Since the return of democracy after the death of Franco, the right to be one of the Three Kings has been decided by city councillors drawing lots. [link]