Parenthood is all about preparation.
Before heading to the zoo, you fumble through your diaper bag to make sure you’re stocked up on wet wipes. Or if you’re hosting a playdate, you might want to childproof your living room to avoid an inevitable injury should your kid slip and bust their ass.
But there are certain things that are completely unavoidable and that no amount of preparation can prepare you for as a parent—like racism, which is what Nicole Fairconeture of Waveland, Miss., is dealing with right now.
According to CNN, Fairconeture and her family were enjoying a Mardi Gras parade on Sunday in Bay St. Louis when her 12-year-old daughter was beckoned to a passing float by a white man on board.
That’s when shit went left.
The man said he had something for the girl, and handed her an item. Without looking too closely at what she had been handed, she started to run back across the road when the man called out to her again.
“That’s you,” Fairconeture said he told her daughter.
The young girl looked down at the item. It was a stuffed black doll dressed in a red and white gown and an apron—also known as a Mammy doll, a caricature that perpetuates offensive stereotypes about African Americans.
Beads hung around the doll’s neck in the shape of a noose.
“She hung it from her finger and she felt degraded. She felt attacked,” Fairconeture told CNN. “She didn’t even want to stay at the parade. She was ready to go.”
Fairconeture then tried to comfort her shaken daughter, but all the 12-year-old could muster was, “Why me, Mom? Why me?”
The Bay St. Louis Police Department has launched an investigation into the incident and released the following statement:
“On February 16, 2020, at approximately 4:00 p.m., the Bay St. Louis Police Department received a complaint regarding a black doll that was thrown from a float during the Waveland Nereid’s Parade at the 1200 block of Highway 90. [...] The investigation is ongoing.”
Noting that the float carrying the man who gave out the doll had a sign on it that read “Krewe of Family and Friends,” Fairconeture has demanded an apology from the offending party. The Krewe of Nereids, however, claims it has no affiliation with the man in a statement posted on Facebook.
“The Nereids organization does not condone or agree with this behavior and has never approved of or supported any offensive conduct in the past, nor will such offensive conduct and racially divisive acts be tolerated or excused now or at any time in the future,” the organization wrote.
For her part, Fairconeture refuses to allow this incident to break her daughter’s spirit.
“We’re trying to keep her lifted and let her know that this is OK,” she said. “And to let other people know that if this happens to them, they need to say something.”
She also noted that her family has received an outpouring of support; not only from friends and family, but from organizations such as the NAACP, the Boys and Girls Club, the local school district, and a representative for the state.
Fairconeture also made it clear that no matter what her daughter and family face, “we don’t run from trials in life.”
The Bay St. Louis Police Department is requesting that anyone with information that could aid their investigation please contact them at 228-467-9222.