The Cost of Racism

Money

While historic events were happening last Saturday, while so many marched on Washington, and many more watched, an incident came up on the social media radar that really angered me. This had happened a few weeks ago, and was only now, and interestingly on this particular day, starting to make headlines. Headlines such as these:

Black Patrons Refused Service Because White Customer Felt “Threatened”.

African American Family Denied Service After Diner Felt “Threatened”.

~*~

I feel a lot of things about this incident, and I’ll try to coherently express some of them here today. The one thing I want to make clear is that there always, always needs to be a price paid for racist actions.

I’m encouraging everyone to boycott Wild Wings Cafe, which is a nationwide restaurant chain. There are three locations right here in my town.

Their Facebook Page is where this “conversation” is on-going about this incident.

Here is their corporate website. Here they are on twitter. You can contact them to express your own feelings, join the conversation, whatever.

You may think that I’m going overboard, that this is just one incident caused by one racist customer backed by one employee. No big deal, lets just move on.

I think not. Because it is oh so much bigger than this. Because this isn’t just a Mom & Pop restaurant. Bad if enough this happened at all, and wherever it happened. This is a corporate business operating nationwide, all over this country. That manager was a representative of that corporation.

That person felt it was just fine to cater to the needs of a racist, to put the corporation she worked for in a bad light, and at the same time, incur a significant financial loss (there were 25 people in that dining party) for that establishment.

~*~

So I’m all for making it extremely financially unwise to run around practicing racism, to allow for employees to exercise their racism at their jobs, and also to make it impossible for everyday racist people to exercise their racism and have it backed by the same.

We saw this same thing happen with the swastika tattooed father who didn’t want any Black nurses caring for his sick newborn. I do believe that hospital was sued and settled for around $200K. Along with the payout it looks like there were policies and procedures put in place to have them not ever again cater to the whims of a racist.

A Pennsylvania swim club denied paying minority students access to their pool and ended up being sued, going bankrupt, and having the remainder of assets – over 1 million – being given to the claimants in the suit. All that was handled by the U.S. Justice Department.

Discrimination being highly illegal and whatnot.

~*~

That manager at that Wild Wings Cafe restaurant called said they had the right to deny service to anyone. I don’t pretend to know what the legal aspects are around that. If there is a difference in the law between a private restaurant and a corporate restaurant chain.

All I do know, is that in this country, money talks. You hit someone or or a business or a corporate entity on their Bottom Line in order to get them to stand up and take notice.

Again I call for a boycott. If you are a regular or semi-regular patron of Wild Wings Cafe – stop going. If you’ve never been to one – don’t start now. Spread the word, encourage all in your networks, family and friends to do the same.

I know we as a people stopped patronizing Denny’s restaurants back in the day and discrimination lawsuits, coupled with that won the day. I know many of you recently stopped going to your favorite restaurant chains because of what their CEO’s words and actions over Obamacare. Keep up the good work. Add Wild Wings to your list of No Go. Spend your money elsewhere.

~*~

People can keep being racist if they want to. Have at it. But understand there is a price to pay for it.

I want corporations to think twice about hiring known racists. I want corporations to move swiftly to fire those that practice their racism on their jobs. I want it to be financially unacceptable for businesses to back employees who express their racism on their jobs.

I want places of businesses to include sensitivity training or whatever they call it now across the board. They will have to if they want to keep raking in that dough. A lot of that sort of training and awareness is merely lip service, and put in place if it is at all, in order to “look good” from the outside.

The hospital that catered to that racist has the most multi-cultured website I’ve ever seen. Their TOS/Mission Statement reflected that too. But guess what they did when faced with the choice to discriminate or tell Mr. Swastika to take a hike?

Guess they had to learn the hard way.

~*~

Understand. African-Americans have over 1 Trillion in buying power. Yes, Trillion with a T.

We have immense power in that. Unfortunately we do not turn it towards ourselves. We aren’t worth that one Trillion. We SPEND that 1 Trillion, and mostly outside of our communities.

So spend it wisely. Take away the profits from those who foolishly think there isn’t a price to pay for racism, catering to racists, and allowing racists to represent them.

One day we’ll wise up and turn our money towards ourselves and be WORTH that Trillion. But until then, exercise that buying power carefully, and put a hurt on the Bottom Line of those who richly deserve it.

~*~

Black Business Network.

African American Connection.

Businesses should be wooing us, catering to us, not kicking us out and catering to racists. Use those two links above to start your journey in spending in better deserved areas, and help keep our dollars within our own communities.

~*~

Lastly, before I go.

Please understand that “I Feel Threatened” is code for allowing racism and discrimination to happen, and to excuse it after the fact. It allowed for GZ to walk free. It allowed for this cop to open fire on two unarmed women with children in the car. It allowed for this man to shoot and kill Jordan Davis.

Think about it for a minute.

One customer told the manager at a restaurant that they “felt threatened” and 25 Black people were kicked out of a restaurant.

They had been waiting over 2 hours, peacefully, just chilling like normal people do. One person saw a group of Black people and immediately felt threatened. That right there is fine. If you want to buy into society’s media-backed hype about how threatening Black skin is, then that is on you. Go for it. Live your life that way.

But this person took it that one step further, that then put all of this into play. They felt privileged enough to make their private feelings publicly known. They had enough confidence, that they figured the manager would back their racism. They were right. Because that is exactly what happened.

And now the price for those privileged and racist actions must and will be paid.

______________________________________________

And SMH at the nopology and offering of a free meal. Like the guy said, they weren’t there for a free meal.  A party of 25 is a nice windfall for a restaurant. Those people were there to spend money.
They wanted to celebrate their friend at a place they regularly patronize, and be treated like normal human beings going out to dinner.
It must become extremely unprofitable for businesses, companies and corporations to practice racism, have employees practice their racism on their jobs, and to be viewed as racist entities.
End of Story.
Boycott Wild Wings Cafe.
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About Awake BW

Black Celibate Buddhist Nun Insomniac Wordsmith iDance Francophile Womanist Domme Dyed In The Wool Democrat iRead Incognegro Our Lady Of The Two Black Cats Educated Bodhisattva Silver Glitter Nailpolish Is My Crack Not on SlaveBook TWiB Addicted Ain't I A Woman.
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17 Responses to The Cost of Racism

  1. Amira K. says:

    So, while I agree with you 100% about the nature of this incident and I will now forever be boycotting this Wing place (not that there are any in my area, but if I ever have the opportunity to go there, I will pass) I wonder about the statement you made, ‘Please understand that “I Feel Threatened” is code for allowing racism and discrimination to happen, and to excuse it after the fact.’ I wonder about this because there have been many times in my life as a female where I’ve had to ask men to back off on the grounds that, whether or not they were doing anything ‘wrong’ per se, I’ve felt threatened by their behavior and I feel that that should be respected. So I guess what I’m saying is that, while I agree that IN THIS INSTANCE, ‘I feel threatened’ was totally a way for these people to express a racist and discriminatory sentiment, I don’t think that the statement ‘I feel threatened’ ought to be disregarded or disrespected generally. Does that make sense?

    • Awake BW says:

      The people in the incidents I mentioned, and in plenty others I could list, after committing an act of racism – some ending in the death of another human being – said either word for word, or in so many words or basically: “I felt threatened, and that is why I did what I did.”

      Like those people who at first blame a Black perpetrator on crimes they have done themselves – that white woman who drowned her kids, that white couple who shot and killed their infant and told the press Black youths shot their baby in the face – they had every reason to know that their stories would be believed.

      Because why? Because the social narrative in America says Black skin is threatening. Says Black males are scary. Says Black people – especially in groups – are scary. Because just existing, standing, walking, breathing, driving, walking into a restaurant, going about my day: A racist might be able to cause me harm if they have believed that lie. I could die over a lie. My son could die over a lie. My brother could die over a lie.

      It is unacceptable to have things as they are. Nobody got killed over the incident in question, but “I felt threatened” and laws built around that phrase have been used to excuse everything from discrimination to murder of Black people and POC in general for far too long, and I’m tired of it.

      This wasn’t a post about misogyny, rape culture or the discussion of an incident of gender based discrimination, although I blog about that just as much as I do racism, being a Black Woman, I experience plenty of both. The context were this phrase is used, and why it is considered racial code talk was I think made pretty clear.

      The point is. Actual dangerous situations, with actual threats are fine to be spoken of as making someone feel threatened goes without saying. (I thought). Black people sitting down waiting to be seated at a restaurant are not actual threats, yet were easily deemed so, and subsequently had an act of discrimination perpetrated on them because of it. That is the difference between the examples you gave, and the discussion at hand. Two different things entirely.

      • Amira K. says:

        That’s true. I agree with everything you said and I agree that the notion that people are discriminated against on the basis of ‘feeling threatened’ because of skin color is horrifying and should not be condoned. ‘Black people sitting down waiting to be seated at a restaurant are not actual threats’ – this definitely in my mind goes without saying, although obviously in our society, this is not true.

        I apologize for trying to bring up a situation that wasn’t on subject – I just wanted to discuss the nuance of the phrase. I agree, though, that in a racial context, the phrase ‘I feel threatened’ is in fact code for discrimination and oppression, and I’m glad your post brought that to light. The way black people are treated as objects to be feared is wholly unacceptable, and too often ‘feeling threatened’ is code for much more malicious sentiments.

  2. mstoogood4yall says:

    great post, I think I’ve never heard of this restaurant, but I think we shouldn’t be eating out as much anyway. just look at all the incidents from dennys, cracker barrel, dominos, and papa johns and countless others. imagine what they do to our food. here’s a link talking about how we must control our money http://racismws.com/2013/08/22/counter-racism-economics-stop-1-stop-spending-your-money-where-you-are-not-respected/

    • Awake BW says:

      Ohhh! Thanks for the linky!
      I really don’t do fast food/diner type food, for health reasons, but on occasion I will partake. So I also try to be aware of where I spend my money. This is America, you have a plethora of choices where to satiate your wings, fries, burger or milkshake cravings.

  3. DesiBjorn says:

    As always you are on so on point with catching the overlooked nuances that allow racial discrimination to prevail. You made a good point in stating that “I feel threatened” is discriminatory code when used in reference to Black people. People use these terms and pretend that they are just words and just expressing a universal feeling that anyone including Black people might feel. However, the context is the key to exposing the truth. The situation, how the words are used, and the actions they are used to incite make all the difference.

    And I love the call to action.

    • Awake BW says:

      Thanks! My new motto is: Make Them Pay.
      Individuals, corporations, business owners, employees, everyday people etc, will now have to make a choice. They can keep on being racist. But there is going to be an actual PRICE – with real cash money dollars – to pay for it. Or stop their racism and remain solvent. Its that simple.

      Until being a decent human being comes back in style, I’m going to do everything and anything to Make Them Pay. And when the legal institutions that are supposed to be there to help me mete out Justice fall down on their jobs – I’ll find ways to make them pay too until they come correct.

      This is prolly the result of my quotient of Empathy being fast depleted. But Whatevs. This is how I’m rolling these days. Thanks for the reblog!

      • DesiBjorn says:

        No doubt. I’m a fan of your writings.

        And I like what you’re on right now. You oughta get shirts made…no really lol. I’m feeling inspired by your little rant here. Send me an email so we can correspond. I would to do a cross posting series with you, if you’re interested.

  4. DesiBjorn says:

    Reblogged this on The Angriest Black Man in America and commented:
    Must read call to action. Respect.

  5. Pingback: The Cost of Racism (From “Awake Black Woman”) | African-American Culture 101

  6. revmatthews says:

    Read this blog from “The Angriest Black Man in America” (Thanks for the pingback, my son), and reblogged it on AA Culture 101. “Make Them Pay” would make a nice T-shirt, as well as a great dialogue starter when patronizing businesses, don’t ‘cha think?

    I enjoy discovering new young Black writers, especially the ones who really have something significant of import. At my age/stage in life, I’m hoping to help pass along old school insights into young minds. Between you and ol’ DesiB there, as well as many others, my Black soul takes courage; the battle for recognition/implementation of equality @ all levels will not be lost.

    After I cut-paste one of Angry Black Man’s postings on my Sunday School newsletter, this one is next (with permission/credits, of course); I like to expose my congregation to minds other than my own.

    Good Job, Black Woman!

    • Awake BW says:

      Merci Beaucoup! You may share my words as stated with credits etc – that would be wonderful :)

      Hmm and yes… Make Them Pay T-shirts…
      I’d have to hook up with whoever did the Dream Defenders tees – because all of those were excellent and completely on point.

      I’d say also to make this an effective, ongoing and permanent campaign for Black people/POC, we need to remember to point our dollars – as much as we are able to – back into our own communities. Support Black owned businesses, make wiser decisions/pay attention to our spending habits.

      For example, right now – ongoing for years actually – I’m trying to eradicate anything from Unilever from ever appearing in my shopping basket. It is HARD. They own just about everything. But they are the parent company to Ponds who markets those skin whiteners to brown countries around the world, and I’m done with them.

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