RACE + MARDI GRAS
Confederate Flag Beads Say "Pride" But Spread Anti-Black Hatred
Last Friday, Mardi Gras parades started rolling in New Orleans. After taking a COVID hiatus, many locals feel excited to get things back to normal. But, sadly, any sense of normalcy in the South comes with a side of racism. But, before you can understand how a Confederate talisman found its way into parage goers' hands, you need to know a bit about the Mardi Gras Tradition. Sure, tourists come from all over the world to party in the streets, but for locals, Mardi Gras means something special.
Each year, we come together with our families during this season, sharing food, stories, music, and dance. Schools contribute by sending bands, dance teams, and Reserve Officers' Training Corps groups to march in between the floats. For instance, St. Augustine is a private, Black school for boys. The St. Augustine Marching 100 made an appearance on 60 Minutes and is arguably one of the best bands in the South. While some tourists see entertainment, many see their family members and feel a sense of pride. But, it's much different than the "pride" White Southerners often claim.
The text read “Southern Pride,” but for Black people, the Confederate Flag is just as insidious as the Nazi’s Swastika is for Jewish people.
So, understand that Mardi Gras Parades are more than opportunities to drink for locals. Ahem. In New Orleans, we can drink any time of day, so for locals, Carnival Season is an opportunity for so much more. So, from the youngest baby to the oldest, join in on the fun. Even my 93-year-old Grandmother refuses to miss Zulu on Fat Tuesday. If you're lucky, you can find Mardi Gras Indians and take a picture with a "Big Chief." And while you may have the time of your life in the Crescent City, you should know that Mardi Gras also comes with a slice of racism.