Blanchardville community argues whether border wall parade float was racist or a joke

A homecoming parade in the small town of Blanchardville has quickly turned to controversy after a float designed like the U.S./Mexico border wall was called racist.

While the Pecatonica School District doesn’t sponsor the event, administrators released a statement that it “strongly condemns the racist float” and it “does not represent the school district, its current student body, or its staff.”

The woman who took the original picture of the float that gained a lot of attention on social media told News 3 Now she was shocked when she saw it in the parade.

“I was just stunned that grown adults would think that that is OK and they don’t see the racism behind it. To me it’s just so obvious,” she said.

The homecoming parade, put on by the Blanchardville/Pecatonica High School Alumni Association, happened ahead of the Pecatonica/Argyle football game vs. Southwestern.

Blanchardville community argues whether border wall parade float was racist or a joke

The controversial float had a fence down the center with men dressed in ponchos and sombreros on one side, and men in football jerseys on the other side.

“The men in the ponchos were trying to jump over the fence or climb up it, basically just trying to get to the other side and the men in the jerseys were pushing them down, one of them was kind of punching one of the men in the ponchos, pantomiming it,” said the woman who took the photo.

While others on social media agree that the float was a bad choice, many in the village of Blanchardville think it was a joke.

“I just thought it was a joke towards the president, you know? He wants to build this wall and no one else wants to build it, you know? ” said Blanchardville resident Douglas Fahrney. “People are taking it the wrong way and they’re blowing it way out of proportion.”

Village Board President Mark Emberson commented on an article about the float, saying it is “such a nonissue. I have seen much worse over the years and never heard anyone complain.”

He continued, “Someone is trying to make a issue about nothing.”

The village clerk said because the alumni association organizes the parade, the village government does not have a say in what floats appear in it.

After this float appeared in the Blanchardville/Pecatonica Alumni Association’s Homecoming parade, the group says they can’t comment on what they will do, if anything, to change the way they approve floats in the future. The school district “strongly condemns the racist float.”

— Amanda Quintana (@AmandaQTV) September 23, 2019

The alumni association told News 3 Now that “the alumni committee has not yet had the opportunity to meet since these events transpired to thoroughly discuss this issue.”

The organization could not comment on what they’re going to change, if anything, to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again in the future.

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