The annual Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana this week was filled with offensive costumes, banners, and other displays of racism and sexism. The parade, which took place this past weekend, included floats and images mocking the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the deaths of Black men who have been murdered at the hands of police such as Eric Garner and Freddie Gray.
The parade, which celebrates Mardi Gras and is known for it’s insulting humor, included a float with a banner reading “Pink Lives Matter.” Depicted on the banner was an image of a flamingo being beat up with police batons and wearing a sign that said, “I can’t breathe.” Mocking the last words of New Yorker Eric Garner, who was killed when NYPD used an illegal choke hold to subdue him. This flamingo is the parade’s mascot.
The gathering also featured rainbow colored Confederate flags, a “Pink Lives Matter” float and a float with a joke about “Freddie Gray Goose”, mocking the life of Baltimore police brutality victim, Freddie Gray. The group characterizes their antics as satire but not everyone is laughing.
Many bloggers and activists feel that the entire event was racist and distasteful. Gary Chambers, the publisher of a local magazine who wrote about the float, said he thought it went too far—especially during Black History Month.
“They make fun of everybody but when you go to the point of mocking an unarmed African-American man who lost his life in the streets of this nation, I just don’t find that funny,” Chambers said. “Every year they do this… and we’re supposed to be ok with it.”
Each float is organized by different groups, and it’s not clear who was behind the “Pink Lives Matter” float.
What do you think of this parade? Is it just satire or racist and offensive? Leave your comments below.