Whether it really was a joke or simply bad marketing in an attempt to garner in publicity, the owner of the Colorado restaurant Rubbin’ Buttz BBQ & Country Cafe has decided to rescind the establishment’s White Appreciation Day drawing in a mass of criticism, anger, and outrage on restaurant’s Facebook page—as well as a bomb threat last Friday—over what many consider to racist & insensitive among the owner considering the current climate regarding race relations within the country.
Prior to removing the planned event, upon the barbecue restaurant’s window a sign was prominently placed and read: “White Appreciation Day! June 11th. Because all Americans should be celebrated!!” Along with the special day, the restaurant also offered a 10% discount only to the white customers visiting the establishment on that day.
According to the owner, Edgar Antillon—who was born to Mexican parents—his intention for his restaurant’s White Appreciation Day was to do what Black History Month & Hispanic Heritage Month does for Blacks & Latinos.
And to further dig himself a hole, Antillon added: “The least we could do is offer one day to appreciate white Americans.”
While his intention may be…noble—solely in his state of mind—the idea that White-Americans need a day of appreciation considering Latinos & Blacks individually have a month is Ludacris. Although Black History Month & Hispanic Heritage Month are months where we acknowledge the contribution and hardships Blacks and Latinos have experienced in this country, the months of celebration are typically overlooked and not given much thought by the white community.
Also, to give some attention to White Americans since other Non-Americans may have designated months of celebration is the equivalent to removing the blanket off of freezing children in the cold to place upon children resting indoors before a roasting fire. It’s not required to provide White Americans their own day of appreciation because they do not endure the racial injustice or have ancestors who have had to overcome racial hardships in this country.
“It’s a perpetuation of racism,” said Ricardo Romero, a civil rights activist. “It’s wrong. If you’re going to give a discount, give it to the whole community.”
According to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, what Antillon has done is open himself up to a lawsuit had he gone through with this day. If the restaurant choose to only provided a discount to White customers while shunning others, anyone who felt discriminated against could have filed a complaint against the BBQ establishment which would have led to an investigation.
But alas the day will never happen.
After receiving a massive amount of angered responses to the restaurant’s Facebook page as well as a bomb threat, Antillon has decided to forego the White Appreciation Day and make it a day to appreciate all customers regardless of their racial background.
However, despite changing the day and seemingly trying to amend for his error Antillon does not seem think that what he did is wrong nor is apologetic for it.
“We need to end the white guilt because they’re included in this American history,” said Antillon, in the aftermath of anger his appreciation day attracted.
White Americans aren’t generally at fault for the current intense climate regarding race relations in the country. However, they are also not exactly innocent. After Michael Brown’s death the seemingly accepted White privilege while the continued oppression and harming of Blacks in this country came under view.
In the days following Brown’s death at the hand of police officers, a movement began known as Black Lives Matter. The movement was to bring attention to the countless of Black Americans who died or were severely harmed by members of law enforcement and the crimes against them seemingly forgotten due to a lack of concern for the lives of people of color.
In response to Black Lives Matter, non-Blacks or non-Latinos started saying “All Lives Matter” which is insensitive considering it is an attempt to draw attention away from an ongoing situation that has already very little attention in this country. What Antillon did with his establishment’s appreciation day, and what his views are on the current situation regarding Whites, is similar to that.
Whites aren’t to blame, per se, but they are the majority that has permitted the continued disadvantage and harming of non-whites. Those who make up this country’s system, those in “charge” are largely White or cater solely to the well-being of the White community as opposed to the community at large. It is present in the systematic racism that is seen daily when you compare the actions of a White individual to that of a non-White individual and see the former is given special treatment while the other is left to fend for themselves. So the guilt is very much well placed. Something that Antillon, and many others do not seem to get.