The Jury Talks Back

5/29/2018

Portland Bar Holds “Reparations Happy Hour”; Whites Not Welcome

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:56 am

This is as woke as woke can get:

A bar in Portland, Oregon in the U.S, handed out $10 (£7.50) bills to all the black, brown and minority ethnicities that walked into their establishment.

The money was scrambled from white people’s donations, who were asked not to attend the ‘reparations happy hour’.

That meant their drinks were paid for by their white counterparts as a small and symbolic way to compensate for the hardships and suffering faced by such communities.

Cameron Whitten, the 27-year-old activist who organised the event, said while it in no way made up for the horrors of slavery and contemporary injustices, it was about solidarity.

Did I say in the headline that whites weren’t welcome? OK, that wasn’t entirely accurate. Whites were welcome: to give reparations to pay for minorities’ drinks. They just weren’t welcome to attend:

As for the decision not to include white people during the evening, Brown Hope said in the event description: ‘White people can show up and support by GIVING reparations.

Instead of physically attending, your presence will be felt through your active financial support for healing, leadership, and community building within Portland’s black, brown, and indigenous community.’

I know what you’re thinking, and your sentiments have been echoed on the Internet: it doesn’t go far enough. As one person wrote on social media: “How about addressing inequalities in pay, housing and education? You know, something that’ll make a meaningful difference.” Kind of a tall order for a bar, but dream big, Mr. Person on Social Media!

The next reparationsfest will be held at the Back to Eden bakery in Portland. I’m glad that business is taking part, because they have a lot to make up for after refusing to serve a black woman earlier this month, just because the bakery had already closed. As the company explained on May 11 on their Facebook page, it all began when a local black activist entered the bakery six minutes after closing time, and started making videos when she wasn’t served (h/t: Andy Ngo):

At a base level, Lillian, a proud Black woman who has roots in the Alberta neighborhood and has seen it systematically gentrified over the years by property owners and businesses like ours, chose to patron our bakery for the first time trusting that our company is who it portends to be and was denied service while the room is filled with white people getting served their vegan treats without incident. The two videos Lillian then posted on Facebook about her experience will better explain how she felt in that moment than we ever could and we encourage anyone who isn’t familiar with the situation to fully watch them before offering up blanket expressions of support for our business.

Since people are seeking the precise details of what occurred here is what we were able to view in Thursday night’s security camera footage:

-At 9:02 pm we were unusually busy for closing time which is stated as 9pm everywhere that our hours appear. Most of the seats were filled and there were four people in line waiting to be served.

-At 9:03 pm our employee turns the “Open” sign light off.

-At 9:04 pm two more white women walk in and line up to be served. At this point the customers present are informed that we are officially closed.

-At 9:06 pm Lillian enters and stands in line to be served assuming given how many people are still inside and the doors unlocked that we are still open. Lillian is told we are closed and the last two women in line are the last to be served. After that she exits the building and begins taking her first video.

With this breathless minute-by-minute accounting from security cam footage, you’re left waiting for the moment when they say the shooter produced his weapon and started mowing people down — but no, it’s still just a story about a black woman who wasn’t served after the bakery was closed.

The business is just devastated, because it’s Portland and they are committed to intersectionality — why, they might even know what that means! Nah — and yet they are being called racist:

Rather than touting all the ways in which are truly committed to fighting for social justice I should have centered on Lillian’s experience. There is nothing fun about being called a racist especially when it is truly antithetical to everything you stand for but often what happens when well meaning white folk get called out on something race related we are very quick to jump to defense. . . . The sad fact of the matter is that what Lillian experienced in our shop Thursday night is just the tip of the iceberg in regards to the discrimination that Black women encounter on a daily basis across this city, state and country. Walking into an establishment that visibly prides itself on its intersectional progressive politics only to be denied service while all the white people inside are being served has to feel horrible just in itself.

Yes, it’s a wake-up call for this business, which prided itself on following all the latest lefty trends, to learn that all their earnest clamoring for Social Justice has been disregarded, and they’re just being treated like another pack of white-robed KKK thugs.

Rest easy, though: according to the business’s Facebook page, the offending employees who attempted to enforce the business hours were fired.

In this situation it doesn’t really matter that the two staff members working are not themselves racist because the call they made to deny Lillian service caused her to feel like she had been discriminated against. Sometimes impact outweighs intent and when that happens people do need to be held accountable. Since both Lillian and the clamoring public were demanding that these staff members be fired that it is what we did putting these two young women out of work. It was an incredibly difficult thing for us to do especially when they felt that they were just upholding our closing time of 9pm but the way in which they went about it lacked sensitivity and understanding of the racial implications at work.

All will be well on June 20, when whites will be invited to pay for Proud Lillian’s apple platz.

1 Comment »

  1. “In the beginning the Universe was created. This had made many people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.”

    Comment by Sean — 5/29/2018 @ 9:58 am

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