A black character magnet holding watermelon at a Gretna parade and a black doll with a bead noose in Bay St. Louis have social media buzzing and civil rights activists crying foul.
At the Krewe of Nereids, the Hancock County NAACP says a float rider handed a black girl a doll with a strand of beads tied around its neck.
WWL TV reports that officials are working to determine if it was a hate crime.
“We’re trying to find out who it is to see what intent that person had,” Waveland Mayor Mike Smith told the TV station. “Because, if it was ill intent, then, I hate to say it, he’ll be charged with a hate crime. We can’t tolerate this in our community.”
Meanwhile in Gretna, a man tells The Times Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate that a rider in the Mystic Knights of Adonis parade tossed his young son a small object wrapped in a plastic bag.
He said that inside there was a refrigerator magnet depicting a black charicature holding watermelon.
“I was shocked,” Pablo Reyes told the paper.
Adonis Captain Chad Usea said he first learned about the incident when he saw a social-media post and that is was not acceptable.
“It only took two-and-one-half 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.”