An issue escalated very quickly after a video posted on Facebook showed several black and brown teens pushing a float carrying a white pop star in a Montreal parade.
The organizers of the St. Jean Baptiste celebrations have issued an official apology upon realizing the error of their ways in allowing this questionable scenario to take place.
Singer Annie Villeneuve performed on top of the float that was being pushed by young men of color in beige, dingy-looking uniforms while a crowd of white choir members wearing all white clothing trailed behind them.
On the surface, the spectacle appeared to be a depiction of American slavery, however, parade organizers insist that the disturbing imagery was unintended.
"Certainly, the team never intended to relay a racist image," organizers wrote in a French-language statement released on Monday, according to CTV News.
"We are very sensitive to the fact that people who saw this out of context were shocked. We would like to reiterate how sorry we are for how the events unfolded,” they added
Apparently, the young men pushing the float were athletes from a local high school who volunteered to help execute the parade’s initiative to be more environmentally friendly by relying only on manpower to move the floats.
To explain their dingy attire, the organizers said they were chosen to match the color of the pages of the giant book that decorated the float.
“That said, we understand perfectly and are extremely sensitive to the fact that people who saw this video out of context were shocked,” the parade committee noted in their statement. “That’s why we want to reiterate how sorry we are at the unfolding of events, of this sad series of circumstances that, yes, escaped us.”
While this seems to have genuinely been an honest mistake, the fact that egregious blunders of this nature are even getting passed the planning stages is a shock in and of itself.
It’s troubling that none of the organizers, no one from the choir, or Villeneuve had a second thought about how this would come across visually before moving forward with the idea.
Any remotely socially conscious person can see that this imagery, without context, comes across controversial and racist, yet there was no one involved in this parade who noticed. This serves as a lesson for the parade committee that they should look into diversifying their members to avoid these racially-insensitive gaffes in the future.