Seriously, if there is one thing that scares the bejesus out of white folks with racism lodged in their hearts, it's the idea of black folks invading their neighborhoods. That fear, which has provoked riots, lynchings and all manner of non-violent discrimination, pays no respect to the the class, education or predilection towards violence of black folks.
It only cares about skin color.
Here is the latest manifestation of that irrational fear. Hat tip to the lovely ladies at Racialicious for hipping me to the newest saga in the fight against white fear.
As the article states, Lola, a new restaurant that caters to black folks with disposable income and a love of baked chicken and overpriced drinks, is trying to open up in a part of New York that has typically been fairly vanilla in flavor. In order to continue helping educated black folks drink away the sorrows they've accrued after a day on the plantation, the restaurant is trying to get a liquor license.
And white folks ain't having it.
The Village Voice article talks about the totality of the issue (although they couldn't resist making a snarky comment about claims of racism), but I'd like to focus on one fine gentleman who makes his presence felt the moment he's introduced to us. Sean Sweeney doesn't want Lola on his block if it's going to be blasting jungle music and attracting the "wrong sort of people." Sweeney makes his objections known in no uncertain terms.
"I don't think you need a martini to go with chitlins and collard greens. What wine goes with jambalaya? I can't think of one," he says, ridiculing Lola's need for a license. "There is a place right next to them that sells empañadas, and they don't serve liquor. You don't really need liquor if you are a good restaurant to stay in business. Liquor is like cream."
Did that motherfucker just pull out the chitlins and collard greens card?
"I am not racist. [Gayle Patrick-Odeen] is from Barbados. She's a British subject; she's not African-American. She didn't suffer Jim Crow, Reconstruction, lynching. . . . For her to exploit the true sufferings of African-Americans is disgraceful," says Sweeney.
As I've said many times, nobody in America is a racist if you let them tell it. In most people's minds, nothing they ever do is racist and there is nothing any minority can say to convince them otherwise. Period.
Truthfully, this angry cat amused me more than he angered me. If you read the article, despite his racism denials, Sweeney makes it pretty clear where he stands on the issue. It's the other folks quoted, the ones who try to hide behind other lame ass justifications for opposing Lola's liquor license that really piss me off. Sweeney doesn't pretend that race isn't an issue, he's just certain that he's no racist. Those other folks want to pretend like race has nothing to do with their decisions and that's much more egregious.
It's a damn shame that black skin equals evil in so many white people's minds, but I could deal with it a little better if they would admit that this plays a role in their thinking. It's okay to admit that you've fallen victim to society's brainwashing, it's really not your fault. Shoot, black people are still making babies to get good hair, so we really can't point any fingers if white folks admit that they've had their minds warped by the media and their parents.
But, white folks just won't do it. They cling to their stereotypes in the deepest parts of their minds and try their hardest to deny that those stereotypes exist. It's as if admitting the fallacies in their world views would somehow cause them intense physical pain.
Anyway, the black folks who go to Lola's are understandably upset that white people don't want them drinking and dancing down the street from their antique shops. As one sister put it, these are Superlative Negroes and the white folks have nothing to be afraid of.
"We love this place, and the people are wrong," said a woman at the party named Sharun, speaking of Lola's opposition. "This neighborhood thinks because of Lola, there are going to be fights on the street. But the people who come here are TV anchors, lawyers, doctors, businessmen."