This morning, the local NBC affiliate in a Denver ran a story about a Barbecue joint in Milliken, Colorado that's having a promotion next month called "White Appreciation Day." The internet, predictably, is mad about this.
In a TV interview, the restauranteur, a second generation Mexican-American named Edgar Antillon, explained his reasoning: "We have a whole month for Black History Month," and another month for hispanics, "so we thought the least we could do was offer one day to appreciate white Americans."
The promotion sounds simple enough: On June 11 there's a ten percent discount for "all white customers and no one else," according to NBC. I had several questions about this—for one thing, with race being a social construct and the definition of "whiteness" having changed so much over the decades, who counts as white? Also, was this all one big case of an offhand joke that a reporter took seriously?
I called repeatedly so I could get these points clarified. At first I got a voicemail message saying its inbox is unmonitored, and that I shouldn't leave a message. Then, after a few calls, I just got a busy signal. The restuarant's Twitter account acknowledged that there was a phone problem.
At the same time, the Rubbin Buttz website went down due to a "high volume of traffic." Then the restaurant's Yelp page was flooded with out-of-state reviews. Most of these are one-star joints in the vein of one left by Christy M. of Avon, Connecticut, who called the place "racist, racist, racist!" though Joe B. of Gilbert, Arizona, dropped by to say "Thank you for hosting White Appreciation Day!!! White lives matter!!! :)"
Culture wars aside, if the discount day actually happens, it might have legal repercussions for Rubbin Buttz. Jennifer McPherson, a representative of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, told NBC, "If someone felt like they were being discriminated against, they could come to the civil rights division and file a complaint in our office, and we would investigate that."
Related: For more racism, check out our documentary on racist sororities:
The restaurant appears to have backed off its potentially illegal whites-only discount on Facebook. In a crowded comment thread, someone named Joshua Kunnen asked whether the discount applied to just whites, or if "everyone gets a discount and its just a day to celebrate white people." Rubbin' Buttz replied, "No one will be denied a discount."
If that's the case, this story has a happy ending: On White Appreciation Day, people of all races will get a discount. It's a White Appreciation Day miracle!
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