Each year I cringe as the spectacle known as the West Indian-American Day parade gyrates its way into the public consciousness. With this substandard event, complete with the annual shooting/stabbing/fight, are costumes that look like they were glued together on someone’s kitchen table. Adorned in these shiny garments, grown people “wine” like
dogs in heat, the most vulgar presentation of any of the ethnic parades in New York City. One year the “organizers” had to rule no T-shirts, which evidently many of the younger revelers deemed an appropriate costume for the dry humping that they do atop the lurching trucks.
A sad scene, which is duplicated again and again, is of a small crowd of adults egging on a tiny tot as he or she writhes to a salty Calypso. From the cheers of the adults one would believe the tyke was winning the prestigious Westinghouse math and science competition or the Scripps National Spelling Bee, something the community—and the world—could actually use.
The West Indian-American Day parade has become a showcase for misplaced priorities, bad taste and disorganization. I encourage the parade’s hapless “organizers,” who last year complained that they lack the resources to run the parade properly (no kidding), to revamp or scrap this embarrassing spectacle. I know that we in the Caribbean community bring more to the table than this.