Father disturbed when his two-year-old catches racist figurine during Mardi Gras parade
GRETNA - The Advocate reports that when a man and his son attended a parade in Gretna this past Saturday, the man was shocked by what he saw when he took a look at one of the items his two-year-old son caught.
Pablo Reyes told The Advocate he and his son were enjoying themselves at the Mystic Knights of Adonis parade, which he'd believed would be a family-oriented event, when the eight or ninth float rolled past and his son caught a small refrigerator magnet figurine that disturbed Reyes.
It was a caricature of a black man, holding a watermelon, an image that is generally viewed as a racist trope.
A man is shocked after his son caught a refrigerator magnet with a caricature of a black man holding a watermelon, a racist trope.— NOLA.com (@NOLAnews) February 18, 2020
The krewe's captain said the krewe doesn’t sell any such objects to parade riders, nor does it condone the behavior. https://t.co/UeFASWKk3t
"I was shocked," Reyes told The Advocate. He went on to say he snatched the magnet from his son and "threw it right in my pocket."
Reyes said he wanted to speak with the parade's officials and get some sort of explanation, so he called the telephone number on the Adonis website.
A krewe representative told him he felt the incident wasn’t acceptable and would talk to the krewe's captain about it.
But when The Advocate spoke to Adonis Captain Chad Usea on Monday, Usea said he didn't learn about the incident until he saw it mentioned on social media earlier that day.
Usea also emphasized that Adonis does not sell racist objects to parade riders or condone the behavior.
He said riders typically throw regular beads and said he's working to find out exactly who threw the racist object.
Meanwhile, the disgruntled father of the child who caught the object told The Advocate that a label on the back of the figurine says: "Hand Painted, Made in China."
This is not the first time Mardi Gras celebrations have been tainted by upsetting incidents surrounding prejudice.
During the controversy surrounding the removal of New Orleans' Confederate monuments a few years back, individuals reported catching Confederate flag-motif beads from individuals in the Nyx, Thoth and Carrollton parades.
Reyes said the experience was disturbing, but it won't stop him from enjoying Mardi Gras.
“It only took 2½ years for my son to experience racism,” Reyes said. “It’s not going to make me stop going to parades; it will just make me more observant.”
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