The extreme leftists in New Orleans have been reinvigorated with a new cause: changing the Zulu parade. The Take Em Down NOLA group will hold a press conference today outside of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club on Broad Street demanding the parade end its 110 year tradition of masking with blackface.
Race-baiting, transplant columnist Jarvis DeBerry quoted Malcolm Suber of Take ‘Em Down NOLA saying, “Anybody who knows the history of blackface knows that it is one of the most important symbols of white supremacy, and this was done to ridicule black people.”
The Krewe of Zulu was established in 1909, which qualifies it as a Jim Crow era parade. The krewe members, almost entirely consisting of black men, dress in a costume of grass skirts, paint their face in blackface, wear woolly wigs, and throw coconuts. This is the definition of Jim Crow mockery that became controversial.
After Mitch Landrieu and Take Em Down started the push to remove four historical New Orleans monuments in 2015, The Times Picayune and New Orleans Advocate have, and continue to, routinely refer to the four as “Jim Crow era monuments.” The vague label of “Jim Crow era” covers a time period generally ranging from 1877-1955. Zulu started parading in 1909 and added floats in 1915. With those qualifiers the record is quite clear, Take Em Down NOLA has labeled the Jim Crow era parade as racist.
Of course, referring to monuments as “Jim Crow era” is simply a convenient and lazy slur which, if the media applied it consistently, could be used to cast negative views on anything from 1877-1955. Is the poor boy sandwich a vestige of Jim Crow? Is the automobile a vestige of Jim Crow? For the sake of consistency, the local news agencies should refer to Zulu as a “Jim Crow Era parade.”
Unfortunately, the local black community remained silent as transplanted residents championed the removal of public landmarks that each existed in New Orleans for more than 100 years. No one spoke out in support of preserving history, tradition, or heritage. By uniting with out-of-state interests, foundations, and being complicity silent regarding the defense of New Orleans monuments, the local, native black population mortgaged their good will with the native white families of the city. The mindset that “they will come for you but give me an exemption” cost the native black community an opportunity to show civility and respect to those who would be eager to ally with them in this conversation regarding the preservation of traditional black New Orleans customs. Alas, another path was chosen.
While serving as mayor, Mitch Landrieu rode horseback in Zulu. Pictures show Landrieu laughing with people dressed in blackface. His protectors, the New Orleans media, have yet to get Mitch to state his position on this controversy. Of course it’s stickier because the Landrieu family has spent its time in New Orleans trying to conceal their black heritage. So a man who hides his biracial genetic makeup, ultimately sending the unspoken message that he prefers his white genealogy, annually laughed it up with people in blackface, a costume being widely condemned, and no one has made an issue of it.
A Zulu spokesman said the practice will continue. He stated that its blackface is actually black makeup, and needs to be taken in context. When monument supporters repeatedly made the argument of historical context about the monuments, it fell on the deaf ears of Mitch Landrieu and the New Orleans Fake News media.
“Some individuals used it the wrong way,” the Zulu spokesman told WWLTV. “And when they use it the wrong way, it gave it a different meaning. To us it didn’t mean anything; it was just a mask.” Many many Southerners descend from Confederate veterans and view the Confederate flags to have an historical meaning, yet Leftists and the media disregard that entirely.
Consider the argument against the monuments applied to Zulu. It sends the wrong message. Or better yet, apply celebrated quotes from Mitch Landrieu’s heralded speech after the removal of Robert E. Lee’s statue. “There is a difference between remembrance of history and reverence of it.”
“This is, however, about showing the whole world that we as a city and as a people are able to acknowledge, understand, reconcile and most importantly, choose a better future for ourselves making straight what has been crooked and making right what was wrong.”
“It is an affront to our present, and it is a bad prescription for our future.”
“Centuries-old wounds are still raw because they never healed right in the first place.”
“We have not erased history; we are becoming part of the city’s history by righting the wrong image these monuments (parade?) represent and crafting a better, more complete future for all our children and for future generations.”
Or use Mitch’s written words from his book promotions. “They cast a dark and repressive shadow over my city and, in a way, held us back. It took most of my lifetime to see this.”
“A thought kept gnawing at me — how badly we had been taught about the Civil War, how little about slavery or Reconstruction, or Jim Crow, for that matter. Also how the ingrained racial attitudes I encountered in youth and through adulthood in a city with such a wonderful mix of humanity reflected in the music and cuisine, the balls and parades, nevertheless had a cold, dark underside.”
Mitch’s own comments fit Take Em Down’s opposition to the Krewe of Zulu. They place a symbol of racism up on high and celebrate and revere it. But do not misunderstand, this is not advocating for an end to Zulu’s century-old tradition. Now it is New Orleans’ black community who needs to realize something they care about can be stereotyped in a racial manner, even when they have contradictory perspectives. This piece is written to emphasize the error of those whose narrow vision led them to either sit quiet or support the removal of monuments. It’s written because the preservationists long warned that the removal of monuments to Confederate figures was only the beginning. The slippery slope is real. The Democrats and Alt Left will not stop until they scrub out all things they dislike, things that provoke thoughtful discussions.
Unfortunately the real problems plaguing New Orleans are violence, crime, drugs, the welfare dependent population, and homelessness. Yet self-appointed black leaders ignore violence and instead they focus on trivial issues like historic landmarks and carnival costumes.
The cultural marxists are back because they were appeased. New Orleans natives had the opportunity to silence the removalists, but those who spoke out in support of history and heritage were labeled racists. The Zulu nation should be thinking, First they came for Liberty, and I did not speak out…