I remember the time a homeless man said to me, “Just because someone only answers to the name Bob Marley, and just because that person starts speaking in a Jamaican accent, mon, and just because that person will only respond using lyrics from Bob Marley’s songs, doesn’t mean, mon, that the person thinks he is Bob Marley.”
“Yes,” I replied, “but you can see how people might get confused.”
Here is an image from a black face minstrel show.
And, here is the float from the Norfolk parade.
Now, just because a town has a history of xenophobia and racism and uses an image that comes from a historical tradition of racism, and they cheer wildly when they see an image that is associated with historical racism doesn’t mean that they are racist…but you can see how people might get confused.