Duck Duck Jeep craze spreads joy with inclusivity

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By Daryl Moore
Special to the AFRO

With so much polarization in the world, there is finally something to unite us: Duck Duck Jeep.  Duck Duck Jeep is a fairly new craze where Jeep Wrangler owners go around “ducking” other Jeep Wrangler owners by taking a rubber duckie and placing it on the Jeep’s door handle, hood, or tire, with a colorful note. The Jeeper that has been ducked then posts a picture of the ducking on Facebook and/or Instagram via designated pages. 

Deborah Ford of the Facebook group Black Jeepers of the DMV said, “I have been ducked twice, and both times I was so excited.” Ford said several weeks after she received her second duck, she met the woman who’d given it to her and they both jumped up and down with excitement.  Ford said, “I think ducking is awesome and I ordered ducks and labels to spread the joy.”

LaRell Morrison, of the Facebook group Melanin Jeeperz, said, “I think it’s great. I don’t know of any other car enthusiasts who have traditions like, ‘ducking,’ or, ‘Jeep Waving,’ like we do.” 

Note: The “Jeep Wave” is a longstanding tradition of Jeepers waving at one another, usually while driving.  

“These traditions are great because they take very little effort to participate in and cross all gender and color lines,” Morrison said.

Tee Williams, admin for Melanin Jeeperz, uses her ducking adventures to further a cause important to her. “My thought process was to use this as an opportunity to shed light on breast cancer, as I’m a breast cancer advocate.” To that end, Williams gives out bright pink ducks with a pink tag attached that say, “You’ve been ducked – now don’t forget to check your Ta-Ta’s.” 

As cool and as fun as this craze is, its origin is even more interesting. 

Early June 29th, 2020, Allison Parliament, Duck Duck Jeep originator, was assaulted in her silver 2018 Jeep Wrangler Sahara, named Cana Bama, over a COVID concern. 

The 32-year-old Parliament had been traveling from Alabama, where she resided for work, to her hometown of Orillia, Ontario. In her Jeep for 15 hours, she stopped for gas in Woodstock, Ontario. There, a guy walked up to her and tried to force her back into her Jeep.  Apparently having seen her Alabama license plates, he yelled at her that she was just another [expletive] American spreading Covid and wasn’t welcome there. 

“He kept pushing me into my running boards,” Parliament said. “I was terrified.”

Luckily, Parliament eventually escaped.  Though she was shaken up, rather than perpetuate the violence she had just suffered, Parliament instead decided to break the cycle through kindness.  

Her chance to spread joy came a few days later, on July 4th, 2020, while Parliament was at a small shop in downtown Bancroft, Ontario. 

“I saw a bag of rubber ducks,” Parliament said, “and I got an idea.” 

Parliament had spotted a military green, two-door Jeep Wrangler outside with its doors and freedom panels off.  She wrote on one of the ducks, ‘Nice Jeep.’ 

“I knew another Jeeper was going to at least be nice to me,” Parliament said. 

So, Parliament ducked the Jeep: the very first Jeep ducking. 

And the rest is history.

The fellow Jeeper saw Parliament putting the duck on his Jeep Wrangler and thought it was the best thing ever.  Parliament posted about the incident on Instagram later that day, then created a Facebook page a few days after that. From there her story went viral. The Facebook page quickly grew into the group @ Official Ducking Jeeps Est 2020, with an official website following soon after.  

Duck Duck Jeep is still going strong. “We have over 400,000 members in 37 confirmed countries,” Parliament said. She even got a duck tattoo last January.

To add substance to the flair, Parliament started an organization called, “Ducking Jeeps For Teachers,” which takes the profit from sales of their shirts and decals and buys classroom supplies for teachers, as well as helps teachers with students who may not be able to get books and supplies they need. 

“I’ve seen teachers struggle with bills and supplies,” Parliament said. “And I figured since we’ve done good with the ducks, why not turn that good into something that could help?”

I myself, owner of a black 2016 Jeep Wrangler Black Bear, (no I have not named her), just recently ducked another Jeep Wrangler for the first time. In fact, I bought out the whole stash of Disney ducks at a local Target store so that I could duck fellow Jeepers. Unfortunately, I have not yet been ducked. 

Stacey Jenkins, from the Facebook group, Black Jeepers of the DMV, said, “Like you, I have cleared out a Target Disney duck bin to duck my fellow Jeepers. I have been ducked several times, but only during Jeep events, never just randomly at the grocery store or whatever.” 

To clarify, although the Facebook group is called ‘Black Jeepers of the DMV’, the page specifically states the group does not discriminate: “This group serves the community of local Black Jeepers in D.C., MD and VA. The purpose of this group is to connect like-minded Jeepers of color and give us a safe space to find local meet ups, trailing excursions and discussions on mods. Our goal is to help each other and participate in Jeeping Events! Although the group is called ‘Black Jeepers of the DMV’, we will not show prejudice or hate towards non-melanated members.”

Jeep ducking is also inclusive when it comes to ducking other novelties besides rubber duckies. Brooke Walker of Melanin Jeeperz ™️ said, “I’ve been ducked a couple of times. Each time has immediately put a smile on my face. I bought ducks and started ‘ducking’ months before I was ever ducked for the first time. I think it is a great way to brighten up people’s days. However, it’s evolved into even more. I’ve seen people ducking with keychains, vinyl decals, and ducks that were knitted or crocheted. It’s crazy what it’s becoming, but the positive message behind it is nice.”

And it doesn’t stop there.  Some Jeepers give inflatable ducks, or during “Shark Week,” for example, some Jeepers give away rubber sharks instead of ducks.  The list goes on and on.  

Raven Matthews, member of the Facebook group, Jeep Lovers Of Color, said, “I get so excited when I get ducked – it brightens my whole day. I normally showcase them on my dash. I even got ‘super ducked’ once with a goody bag full of Jeep gear, which included a t-shirt, bag, duck, and a poem. It made my whole week. I also get excited to duck others, especially when we’re Jeep twins.”

Even so, the adage, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” also applies to Jeep ducking. 

“To be honest,” Jenkins said, “I have more fun ducking than I do receiving.” 

Speaking of having fun while ducking, Shavar Morgan of Melanin Jeeperz, took it to the next level. “I have had a great time ducking people and even did a contest at my restaurant with larger ducks. It was a fad for me because I got tired of keeping up with ducks. It was fun.” Morgan said his contest featured categories like, “Youngest Jeeper,” and “Who Drove The Farthest.”

Others enjoy ducking similarly, as exemplified by this story from Courtney Beamon, Jeep Lovers Of Color: “I finally got ducked while visiting my hometown. We had the top off and a lady and kids pulled next to us and tossed it over through the roof.”

Nevertheless, Parliament said Duck Duck Jeep has had its ups and downs. “It’s changed my life in good ways and bad, to be honest. I have met amazing people who I am blessed to call friends. I’ve listened to people who needed a friend; hugged families who have lost loved ones; talked to a ducker who is dying, but is fighting to make it to Duck Duck Jeep invasion in October because it’s given her a reason to live. The bad part is there have been online wars over Trump ducks – which we don’t allow – or Bible quotes on the back of tags that can set others off.” Parliament was quick to point out that these subjects are off limits not because she has an issue with them, but because she said, “those are topics that cause strife and hate.”

“These topics can make people forget we are all people,” Parliament said, “and make us only see the differences. Many can’t see past the differences.”

In the end, Jeep ducking is really about inclusion, fun, and joy.  As Parliament said, “This was about making others smile and stopping division.”

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