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Annual Spanish Town Parade Mocks The Deaths of Eric Garner and Freddie Gray

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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.

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Da'Von Dorsett February 10, 2016 at 9:13 am

OK I blame the officials who DID NOT geta proper vetting of what displays were going to paraded through the streets. The city Council of Baton Rouge should have known what floats were going to look like and at that point should have said NAY or YAY…

Dia S. February 10, 2016 at 9:08 pm

Regardless of which of Bigots and Racists, there was someone who was in charge of OK’ing the floats. They say nothing. wrong, because they arenalso bigots and racists. Never a shock to see. Ignorancenin charge, act like fools!!!

Barbara D. Curlin February 12, 2016 at 2:51 pm

Definitely racially OFFENSIVE!

Marzzupial September 5, 2019 at 10:38 am

I hope that before future parades, there will be an inclusive community forum, possibly hosted by clergy and/or district representatives, to discuss what should be acceptable and what should be off limits. Then the parade organizers should be ready to reject any racist and racially insensitive or disrespectful floats, as these two floats clearly were. To ignore this pattern is to allow for deeper divisions between communities that should be celebrating, supporting and enjoying events together.


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