By Lawrence Lee on Jan 20, 2014 in Overheard in Duluth
1. The kid who wore blackface to Pizza Luce’s Halloween party two years ago was hired for marketing at Global Village.
2. Every person at Global Village has misconstrued hipness for racism.
3. The Target hacker has a deep vendetta against Global Village.
4. Or LPOE does.
I’m appalled by what, to me, feels like the real story here. The degree of self-righteousness and resentment present deeeep within the misreading and subsequent backlash by our fellow white midwesterners is despicable and borderline hateful.
People have every right/reason to speak out against members of our community who are promoting/condoning hateful/destructive activity, but a whimsical (albeit slightly contentious) sale concept on a day that they (and I know there are exceptions) probably don’t even observe because they are simply too- well, white??? Come on people. This brand of “standing up for Dr. King and civil rights” is downright shameful and completely misguided. If you spent half as much energy on researching the life/work of MLK as you do lambasting this local business owner on social media, you’d realize what hypocritical scapegoatism this is. I implore you to look deeper within yourself and find some positive way to commemorate Dr. King’s legacy.
Um, at a minimum this is a teaching moment. But, this is so offensive, stupid and wrong on so many levels. From what I’ve read elsewhere, some tried to use this as a teaching moment, but were pushed back by Global Village staff and then hung up on. Sad and shameful.
It strikes me that the uproar is due to the sense of entitlement it would take to put up a patently offensive sign while believing that one’s motive somehow makes it okay.
That about sums it up, Bret. That’s a huge part of privilege -- when you do something wrong and get called on it, you paint yourself as the injured party instead of just listening and apologizing.
It amazes me that trying to call out GV on something like this would be seen as “despicable and borderline hateful.” LOL, are you serious? I admit to not having not followed this story very closely -- has someone firebombed GV or something?
Coming up: Happy Cinco de Mayo, 25% off all brown items.
Happy Chinese New Year, 25% off all yellow items.
When the MLK celebration thing took root in the late 1980s, my white friends would take me out for “my day.” We were making fun of the desperate need to feel good about not giving a shit the rest of the year. We were also acting out on what was heard in several speeches in town Monday, not that anyone bothered to attend or read about them. Racism is ignorance in most cases. And the fact that we still talk about race in this country is limiting us. This isn’t some post-Obama enlightenment, it’s from 80 year olds who are sick and tired of all this prissy dancing around and making assumptions about people. The Global Village sale is in poor taste, like an off-color joke at a party that just doesn’t fly. There might be some ignorance thrown in there, but abject racism? No. Save your indigancy for social change. And be glad you live in a city where opportunities to do so are bountiful and accessible.
First off, I don’t represent Global Village in any way. I’m just a dude who thinks when someone does something wrong and it is clearly unintentional (and they apologize when given the opportunity), they should be cut some more slack than this. The point (Global Village has dishonored MLK and the black community with its insensitive sale concept) has been made … about 176,000 times. What Global Village did was in poor taste, etc, etc. We get it. What’s nuts to me is that it wasn’t intended to be offensive and it definitely wasn’t meant to dishonor MLK or black people.
“LOL. Are you serious?” Put yourself in the shoes of the owner of Global Village for five minutes, then go read the Facebook page posts/comments. The number of people who suggest firebombing the store (and other hateful/destructive actions) is insane. All I’m saying is: what about taking a minute to think about how to respond in a constructive way? Or what about giving someone a break in the name of compassion? It’s not like Global Village has a history of being culturally insensitive and racist. So, why the proverbial firebombing?
I invite those who are waving their shame finger so vehemently to please sum up why this sale is so offensive, and how long it took to jump on Facebook to tell the world how outraged they were. I wonder if the readings of this sale are as redundant and short-sighted as the bandwagon-hopping buffoons who love a good reason to jump all over someone else for being wrong, especially when it’s a party atmosphere. Honestly, do you think this is the kind of thing Dr. King was fighting for?
This is why I’m so crushed:
Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.
-- Dr. Martin Luther King
Here is the Duluth News Tribune‘s coverage of the story, for those of you who missed it:
Downtown Duluth store’s ‘Black Sale’ offends MLK Day marchers
Rachel Mock did issue an apology early this morning on the Global Village Duluth Facebook page. If you read through the angry comments to the store’s post about the sale, the initial lack of response from the store really seemed to propel the dissent. It had only been a few hours, but the impression was already being felt that the store was incredulous. That’s just the way social media moves — there were over 200 comments in half a day.
Rachel’s apology — which came in a separate Facebook post — is already being criticized, although she has a few people in her corner now.
Rachel doesn’t deserve the vicious attacks. I know her and she is a wonderful person. She does deserve to be told plainly that her store’s promotion was offensive, and hopefully she will develop in time a better understanding of why it was offensive and will issue a less defensive apology.
I am willing to bet that if MLK saw this sign he would not be happy, but he also would not be publicly tarring and feathering the business for putting it up.
Being hyper-sensitive to racial issues is the opposite of what MLK was trying to achieve.
I am reminded of a horrible movie called The Animal. Actually, it was not a terrible movie, but it is a Rob Schneider movie so take it for what you will. One of the characters was a friend of his who complained throughout the movie about reverse racism. He would do these outlandish things that would get a normal person in trouble, but because he was black they let him have a pass.
It also reminds me of the South Park episode dealing with the South Park flag. Chef saw it as racist, the town saw it as historic and the kids didn’t see anything wrong with it because they didn’t see a difference between black and white in the first place.
The key to solving the race issue is to not treat people of different races as different. That includes not overreacting when we come across issues that are race sensitive.
The business owner has the right to promote her business however she sees fit. I think it was a clever promotion that has now turned into some pretty good guerrilla marketing. Anyone who boycotts or shames the Global Village for being a productive part of downtown should be ashamed of themselves. Where’s the backlash at Macy’s or Younkers for their annual “White Sale”?
Are you serious? A “White Sale” refers to towels, not the color of a person’s skin!
The main issue isn’t that Global Village posted a racist sign, it’s that they held a sale based on an idea that was clearly questionable, then stuck to their guns when the issue was pointed out to them.
A store sale implies that most of the staff were told of the idea, and presumably none of them found anything objectionable about it. Then when confronted about it, they didn’t take the sign down, instead stuck to a business decision that was clearly pissing their socially progressive customer-base off.
The sale was certainly shocking, but more shocking was that it was Global Village -- a store which I used to have more respect for.
I for one am sick of her and her defenders saying this is the fourth year they have done it and the first year of outrage. Wrong is wrong. You didn’t get called out before so that makes it OK? I don’t think so. The other issue of white sales, Black Friday, etc., have been addressed somewhat, but to reiterate, they aren’t based on skin color or racial stereotypes. There is no comparison. I wholeheartedly believe in freedom of speech. Freedom of speech does not mean you are protected from the consequences of said speech. Intentions mean nothing. Perception is everything.
I think DaVe’s comment about the yellow/brown sales perfectly points out the issue. So (virtual) thumbs up to you on that one!
In the north, there’s a town called Duluth,
Where the people protect their dear youth
From downtown store signs
And from poor-people lines
And from anything else that’s uncouth.
This was just a faux pas by a good-hearted person, so it doesn’t deserve a great deal of outrage. Still, it’s good that stuff like this is questioned, and not because it’s uncouth, but because it’s racism , however unintentional.
Hog pile! Hog pile! Hog pile! Back to self-entitlement / obliviousness.
White people are funny.
I don’t understand what I’m supposed to be outraged about.
White and black are considered socially acceptable ways to refer to specific races by the approximate color of their skin. ‘Yellow’ and ‘brown’ are always slurs, however, so those statements are way off.
Wow, you guys are so white…
Made it to Flipboard -- I think the ‘unfair campaign’ did as well. Duluthians need to stop looking like wing nuts.
In poor taste? Yes. Willful racism? No. Now those “my indian name is ‘crawling drunk’” T-shirts from I <3 Duluth a few years ago … those were good old-fashioned racism.
Just how out of touch with reality is this Rachel? I mean this goes beyond the pale on so many levels -- PR, marketing, bigotry, provincialism. And this woman owns a shop called Global Village?
The Greater Downtown Council and Chamber of Commerce should run her outta town! If this ad doesn’t go viral (and I’m in London) then Rachel should count her blessings.
As if I need to point out the obvious — the ad reduces Dr King’s legacy to something akin to gettin’ down with the homies. I mean this is breathtaking ignorance!
I was embarrassed to have even read it thinking how could anyone in Duluth have let this slip through the net! Enough said!
I didn’t really understand of the problem with those drinking shirts, either. I suppose it somehow supposed to tie into to the stereotype of Native Americans as having alcohol problems, but if you read the shirt… It’s claiming the wearer has an alcohol problem.
If someone started making shirts that said “in Hermantown they call me a filthy drunk bum!” I wouldn’t be offended, thinking that it suggested that people in Hermantown were filthy drunk bums. It would actually make it seem like we’re not, since that person stands out and has a special label for being one.
It did give the News Tribune a chance to publish an “offended local residents looking at the camera” picture. Isn’t there an ongoing collection of photos like that around here?
While you’re right in the fact that the shirts were meant to reference the wearer, if the shirts weren’t trying to make light of the drinking/drunk stereotype attached to Native Americans, why mention “Indian names” at all? Why not just have shirts that said “This person is a raging alcoholic?” Because the implied stereotype is supposed to be “funny.”
That, and an Indian name, also known in our culture as a “spirit name,” is of deep spirital significance. It’s supposed to be what Gichi Manidoo (God) and the spirits call us. It is our real and true name divined through a spiritual process and is meant to outline our path in life. To assign such an offensive joke to it is also insulting. I actually go exclusively by my spirit name these days, Makoons, which means “little bear” and has a spiritual dream/story behind it beyond just its Ojibwe translation.
My reason for bringing up the T-shirt incident was to contrast that incident with what occurred at Global Village. The T-shirts were meant to be insensitive. The Black sale at Global Village, while in bad taste, was not riddled with cultural stereotypes or offensive meaning. It was just a little off-color and something that I think Duluthians should put into perspective.
Let’s go back to B-Mans post for a second and examine it more closely:
“As a rule, white people strongly prefer to get offended on behalf of other people.It is also invaluable to know that white people spend a significant portion of their time preparing for the moment when they will be offended. They read magazines, books, and watch documentaries all in hopes that one day they will encounter a person who will say something offensive. When this happens, they can leap into action with quotes, statistics, and historical examples. Once they have finished lecturing another white person about how it’s wrong to use the term “black” instead of “African-American,” they can sit back and relax in the knowledge that they have made a difference.”
Now let’s talk about Dr. King’s legacy of how he cheated on his wife so many times as to almost best JFK at his own game, and see if a photo of him playing pool is actually more demeaning than that. Maybe you all need to get out of town for a while, go to Mexico and see what real poverty and struggle looks like if you’re looking for something tangible to worry about. Maybe bring a few gallons of water to the Arizona boarder while you’re at it.
This whole thing reminds me how in Germany this very moment, they’re making little three year old school kids watch what their great grandparents did to the Jews, before they’re even old enough to talk. And beating it into their soft little heads over and over again how wrong it is to kill millions of people in one sitting. If Americans taught their kids about all the shock and awe they’ve perpetrated to a fraction of that level, instead of the bunch of sanctimoniously politically correct, yet socially-stunted flag-sucking tarts we’ve become, maybe we’d actually be proactive enough to deal with some of our real problems instead of cooking up imaginary ones.
Has anyone here ever been to Southpark? The town it’s based on hasn’t changed much since 1890 where they used to hang people of all colors. Black men and white men, indians and mexicans and probably a woman or two thrown in for good measure, all hung equally in the eyes of God. Funny how this modern version goes something like a South Park episode, lynching the nice old hippy lady who runs the Global Village for being racist. How very Mel Brooksian of you Minnesota!
Hey, how about Columbus Day? Where were all you protestors for that? You know, the sadomasochist that Americans commemorate every year? Wait, where were all you for the previous three years of this sale? Pretty incriminating none of you including Mayor Ness didn’t notice this for three years running? My excuse is I hardly ever go downtown, and when I do pass the Village I’m concentrating on driving and not hitting some homeless guy crossing the street. Any of the rest of you who live here have no excuse for not calling this out three years ago and are now implicated in this crime and possibly others as you prepare to face charges. Chief Gordon Ramsey, I authorize you to arrest Paul Lundgren and Mayor Ness on grounds of racial inferiority and civil ignorance this instant!
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