Is it racist or just a mere anti-littering message?
That's the question that has been the basis of contention since a Hispanic group complained about signs forbidding piñatas that are posted in Harris County Precinct 4 parks. County officials say the prohibition is strictly an anti-littering measure, and also bans other messy party favors, such as confetti eggs and silly string. But according to this KHOU report, Hispanic activists believe the signs are targeted specifically at Houston's large Latino population.
"'Piñatas Prohibited' is not a synonym for 'Do Not Litter,' it's a synonym for 'No Mexicans Allowed,' " said Tony Diaz.
"'Pinatas Prohibited' is not a synonym for 'Do Not Litter,' it's a synonym for 'No Mexicans Allowed,' " Tony Diaz, the leader of a group called El Librotraficante, told Channel 11 reporter Doug Miller. "It's almost as if all the signs that talk about the speed limit were to say '20 mph for your low-riders.' "
The policy was adopted six years ago and only applies in Precinct 4, which stretches over a wide area of northwest Harris county. County officials decided to take another look at the policy after Diaz complained about the signage.
"We don't want to hurt anybody's feelings," said Mark Seegars, a spokesman for Harris County Commissioner Jack Cagle. "The signs are coming down while we review the best way to put the message out to people that we need their help in keeping litter out of the parks."
Both sides have suggested alternatives to the solution, but for the moment, piñatas are still banned in Precinct 4 parks.
Watch KHOU's full video report: