One of the most questionable activities of the Civil Rights Movement were the lunch counter sit-ins. Although this activity was African-American collegians initial strategic contribution to the movement; the alluded to tactic grew out of North Carolina A & T freshman students — Ezell Blair, Jr. (Jibreel Khazan), Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil & David Richmond — walking to downtown Greensboro, North Carolina, and “sitting in” at the Woolworth’s dining area. Put simply, these four courageous young men sat at the counter and refused to leave until they were served, although they were never served, they did make a major contribution to the movement as “sit-ins” began occurring throughout the nation a short time later.
I am puzzled by African-Americans who today force themselves upon white establishments and force them to take their money. I have always thought to myself, if these people were in their right mind, they would be afraid to eat what discriminatory whites, who have shown in every way possible their disdain for them, placed in front of them.
Unfortunately, it appears that this tradition of African-Americans forcing themselves upon white businesses that desire neither their presence nor their dollars is still vibrant. Please take a moment and consider this for a moment, in a nation where ‘Cash Rules Everything Around Me’ there is a segment of whites whose hatred of African-Americans is so significant that they would prefer to not accept the ‘black dollar’.
This matter has once again come into focus after a recent federal jury found the Washington, D.C. based Redline Bar guilty of racial discrimination and awarded bartender Briggitta Hardin $687,000.
What makes this case most notable is not necessarily the treatment that Mrs. Hardin received during her one-day employment at the Redline Bar, rather it is the activities of owner Mick Dadlani whose vision for an up-scale sports bar certainly did not included African-Americans as either employees or patrons. Dadlani envisioned bartenders and servers who were ‘young, blond, and exclusively female’; considering that Briggitta Hardin, an African-American female, would never match those qualifications it is predictable that the owner did not approve of her being hired.
In an attempt to ensure that the residents of ‘Chocolate City’ understood that Redline was designed for and would always cater to whites’, Dadlani would take measures such as closing the bar early when there were too many African-Americans present and order his staff to make sure that Black patrons had a horrible time, a desperate effort to ensure that African-American patrons would not return to the establishment. If poor service did not keep Black patrons away, trial testimony detailed a scheme that used a phony guest list to keep them out of the establishment.
One must give Dadlani credit for being consistent in his business dealings with Black America, not only did he work to prevent their presence in his building, but also he signaled such by naming his business Redline, a term used in the mortgage industry to ensure poor services for impoverished areas and its residents.
The foremost question that should be considered by contemporary African-Americans is ‘why in the world would you patronize such a place?’ I am most certain that there are other more welcoming alternatives, such as a Black sports bar. Why have we yet to learn the virtues of circulating the ‘black dollar’ in our community? In the event that there isn’t a suitable sports bar that caters to the Chocolate part of ‘Chocolate City’, one would hope that local African-Americans would recognize that as a gaping hole in the sports bar market and capitalize upon it. Failure to do so can mean only one of two things: (a) we lack sufficient financial common sense to start our own business or (b) we have our own business, yet still believe that the white man’s ice is colder.
James Thomas Jones III
© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016