Transracial Parenting »

The Pussy Handler’s Black Ass

Friends of mine are in Muses, one is a Pussyfooter and her husband is a Pussy Handler. Confused? This is New Orleans. The Pussyfooters are a marching/dance group of women and their partners are called Pussy Handlers because they keep the crowds away and take care of the gals while they are dancing in the streets. The Pussyfooters mainly march in Muses, one of the largest and most creative all women’s Mardi Gras parades — the group also dances at events and marches in other parades to raise money for charity all year long.

On Monday night, my friend was over and we were talking about an incident that happened this past Mardi Gras. He was marching alongside his wife and the parade stopped for a few minutes and he had to go to the bathroom. She told him to go use the portalet on top of the 610 Stompers‘ trailer, so he made his way back there.

The 610 Stompers are new to the Krewe of Muses. They are a group of dancing men who also march to raise money for charity and be part of the glory of Mardi Gras and the great city of New Orleans.

My friend went to the portalet and as he was opening the door, one of the Stompers said, “What are you doing? Get your black ass out of here.”

“I’m a Pussy Handler,” my friend said.

“I don’t care who you are, get your black ass off this trailer now.”

My friend and I were hanging out on my sofa watching 42, the story of Jackie Robinson (worth watching) and Jackie had just gone into a bathroom marked for Whites at a gas station. I asked my friend, “What did you do?” and he said, “I left. I didn’t have anyone there who knew me and if I got into it with him, he had buddies all around, all white.”

I said I wish you would have gotten his name, so we could at least have used the powers of social media to shame him. We discussed a few strategies that in hindsight might have worked to get back at this idiot.

In the end, my friend was mad, and I just got sad. Muses gave the 610 Stompers a break, letting them into their parade, and the Pussyfooters are perhaps the best known marching group in the Krewe of Muses. In the spirit of Carnival, when everyone takes to the streets to celebrate, one white guy in the 610 Stompers had to be an ass, a racist ass, and for one moment in time make my friend feel as if his “black ass” did not belong. But what about the white guys that were standing there with him?

Here’s the thing, there were other people there, people who heard what this ass said, and no one spoke up for my friend. No one. Without allies, without mindfulness, 2013 can still feel a lot like 1946, and that my friends is sad. If you feel the same, the next time you overhear a situation like this one, I hope you choose to be an ally, not a bystander.

610-Stompers-on-Mardi-Gras-parade-route

 

By Rachel Dangermond 

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