On Monday, professional poker player Shaun Deeb was in Atlantic City for the Borgata’s Winter Poker Open 2015. And while there, he noticed a special Martin Luther King Day menu at the Borgata’s Metropolitan restaurant, which included fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, sweet potato casserole and a slice of pecan pie for $24. So he took a picture and tweeted it to his nearly 20,000 followers with the hashtag #isitracist:
Not surprisingly, response to Deeb’s question has been mixed. But after thousands of tweets about the controversy, the casino has issued a statement from Borgata senior vice-president Joe Lupo.
“Our general manager of the restaurant is an African American female who wanted to come up with the menu to celebrate and honor Dr. King,” Lupo says. “We allow our managers to run their restaurants. She did research and came up with an authentic recipe. It’s very clear that these were his favorite foods.”
The Borgata also points out that some of its restaurants offer other holiday-specific menus, like Mexican food on Cinco de Mayo, Irish food for St. Patrick’s Day and Chinese food for Chinese New Year.
Scene from last Wednesday’s protest march (top); detail from a controversial post on the Facebook page of a Central Bucks West guidance counselor.
As a 29-year-old woman, this is how my Facebook feed tends to look: baby picture, wedding picture, baby-at-a-wedding picture, Supernatural spoiler (that last one might be my own contribution).
But over the past couple weeks, I’ve noticed an even less appealing trend: racist rant, thinly veiled racist rant, confusing meme that I suspect is a racist rant.
To clarify, I’m from the Northeast.
This is not, necessarily, to say that my hometown is any more backward than your own hometown. (Unless you’re from Amherst — you guys are pretty squeaky clean.) There’s an ugly, dumb contingent in every group of humans, and most of the time, I love that place. But post-Ferguson, I find myself rethinking my Internet relationship to the (Often, But Not Always) Great Northeast.
The image seen here is a depiction of the way that slaves were transported on ships. And a Lancaster newspaper decided to use these deplorable conditions to illustrate how crowded airplanes have become. And so did Stephen Colbert, in the same week. Can you guess which one apologized? Read more »
UPDATE 8/25 1:10 pm: The newspaper editor responsible for the Asian slurs has been fired. For the full story, go here.
In the August 21st print edition of the Philadelphia Public Record, the free weekly tabloid published by former Philadelphia City Councilman turned federal inmate Jimmy Tayoun Sr., current Philadelphia City Councilman Mark Squilla is pictured at an event in Chinatown with, among others, “Chinky Winky,” “Me Too,” and “Dinky Doo.” Read more »
Back in May 2013, 59-year-old construction superintendent James Staab, who is white, thought it would be funny to tease a black subcontractor by waving a noose over his head. And, well, you just can’t do that. Read more »
Last week Philly party producer Josh Schonewolf drew sharp criticism from the community when he released a flyer promoting his latest event, “Once You Go Black.” The artwork drew criticism from local bloggers, who panned it as racist because of its minstrel-style theme and questionable language, like calling its African American performers “sparkly.” Schonewolf reached out to G Philly to see if he could post a response about the controversy. He has since decided to cancel the performance, and, instead of taking a defensive position, seems to be owning up to his mistakes. A smart move if you ask us. His response here:
After careful consideration, I have decided to cancel “Once You Go Black,” at L’Etage on August 2nd.
I made mistakes with this event, that I have to admit have been eye-opening and immeasurably helpful. I never should have used the wording I did on the flyer, and I understand now that the title of the event itself was offensive. When the criticism came, I should have listened instead of trying to back up my intentions. I never should have become defensive. I made a mistake.
The experience taught me so much. It has inspired conversations that probably never would have happened if it weren’t for my missteps. I made a mistake in publishing that flyer. I offended people. I am sorry. I realize that simply apologizing is not enough. So the event is canceled.
Thank you to everyone who voiced their disfavor. You opened my eyes to my mistakes—mistakes I’ll know not to make again. My hope is that our community can come together even more by having these types of conversations. Open dialogue and connectivity is important in building a united community. I know it’s taught me a thing or two. Thank you to every person who has reached out to me to express their concerns about “Once You Go Black.” I’m sorry to anyone who was offended.
Lantern Theater Company is in the middle of a run of Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar at St. Stephen’s Theater. The setting is medieval Japan.
The City Paper didn’t like it. Inquirer critic Toby Zinman wasn’t much of a fan, calling the show “intriguing and frustrating.” And now Philadelphia theater artist Makoto Hirano, a native of Japan and samurai descendant, has deemed the show “racist.” Read more »
As hip-hop legend Jay-Z announced a live two-day Philly music festival for Labor Day weekend on the steps of the Art Museum yesterday, he also took time to talk about same-sex marriage and President Obama – and why discriminating against LGBT people in America is no different from racism.
“I’ve always thought it as something that was still … holding the country back,” the rapper said. “What people do in their own homes is their business and you can choose to love whoever you love.”
We’d also like to know if Mayor Nutter serenaded the hip-hop mogul with “Rapper’s Delight.”
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