Noose
Nicole Fairconeture said that her 12-year-old daughter was given a black doll with beads forming a noose around (Credit: Nicole Fairconeture)

A 12-year-old Mississippi girl got a jarring lesson on racism last week that she won’t soon forget and now local authorities are investigating it as a potential hate crime.

According to CNN, Sunday, Nicole Fairconeture and her family were enjoying the Krewe of Nereids parade in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, from their usual spot on the sidelines like they do every year.

READ MORE: Black swimmer suing police after being handcuffed and gun pointed at head

Attendees are always encouraged to enjoy food and drinks while they listen to music as they watch the floats go by. And just like at Mardi Gras in New Orleans, if someone from a float invites you to walk over, it usually means they’re going to give you a special gift,

So when a seemingly friendly white man called Fairconeture’s daughter over to a black float decorated with New Orleans Saints jerseys, she assumed it was to hand her a prize of some sort. This assumption was only further substantiated when the man confirmed he had something for her and handed the 12-year-old what looked like a toy.

READ MORE: Black model says ‘No’ to wearing racist accessories at N.Y. Fashion Week

Without even looking down at the present, the child started to run back across the road to her parents when suddenly the stranger called out to her again and told her, “That’s you.”

Upon hearing that, the little girl finally looked down to examine the toy, only to realize it was a stuffed black doll dressed in a red and white gown and an apron, commonly referred to as a “Mammy doll.”

READ MORE: Syracuse University suspends students who were protesting white supremacy hate crimes

These dolls are always intended to be seen as over-exaggerated caricatures based on racist stereotypes about Black people, but in this case, the doll also had beads hung around its neck in the shape of a noose.

“She hung it from her finger and she felt degraded. She felt attacked. She didn’t even want to stay at the parade. She was ready to go,” Fairconeture told CNN, noting that when she asked her daughter if she was OK, all the child could respond was, “Why me, Mom? Why me?”

Monday, the Bay St. Louis Police Department released a statement confirming that the department is investigating the incident along with the cooperation of the Waveland Police Department and the organization that put on the parade.