Imagine the horror when your child is racially attacked at an event meant to bring the community together.
For the annual demonstration of generosity, dozens of parade organisations referred to as Krewes hit the streets in a parade meant to show generosity in the days between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday.
This season is labelled the Mardi Gras season usually celebrated by cities along the coast. At the parades, masks, beads and other “throws” literally fly through the skies.
It was at a Mardi Gras parade that a 12-year-old was surprisingly given a doll instead of the usual “throws”.
Nicole Fairconeture’s family including her daughter showed up for the Krewe of Nereids parade In Bay St Louis when a white man on a float with a New Orleans Saints jersey beckoned her daughter and handed her “the doll”, CNN reported.
Not paying particular attention to the type of doll that she received, the little girl was about to run across the road to join her family when the white man called out to her again and said, “That’s you,” Fairconeture said he told her daughter.
It was a stuffed black Mammy doll, clad in a red and white gown and an apron. This caricature has offensive undertones as it is a stereotype about African Americans during slavery and the Jim Crow era.
To add to the 12-year-old’s trauma, the doll had beads around its neck in the shape of a noose.
“She hung it from her finger, and she felt degraded. She felt attacked. She didn’t even want to stay at the parade. She was ready to go,” Fairconeture told CNN.
The ordeal left Fairconeture astonished. And when she enquired from her daughter if she was OK, all the girl could say was, “Why me, Mom? Why me?”
The Bay St. Louis Police Department and the Waveland Police departments are investigating the event, as a potential hate crime, cops posted on Facebook.
The organisers of the parade, The Krewe of Nereids also spoke against the incident in a Facebook past as well.
“The Krewe of Nereids was shocked to hear of the incident of a racially offensive item being thrown from one of the truck floats which followed the Nereids’ parade on Sunday,” the organization wrote.
“These floats are not part of, nor in any way affiliated with Nereids, other than parading on the same day.
“The Nereids organization does not condone or agree with this behaviour and has never approved of or supported any offensive conduct in the past, nor will such offensive conduct and racially divisive acts be tolerated or excused now or at any time in the future.”
The entire community of Bay St. Louis and Waveland have thrown their weight behind Fairconeture and her daughter sending goodwill messages their way not only from her close relatives but from organizations such as the NAACP, the Boys and Girls Club, the local school district, and a representative for the state.
The family is also doing their best to keep her spirits high.
“We’re trying to keep her lifted and let her know that this is OK, and to let other people know that if this happens to them, they need to say something,” Fairconeture said.
This incident will not prevent Fairconeture and her family from enjoying future parades. She says regardless of what they face in their family, “we don’t run from trials in life.”