A New Jersey deli owner has created quite a stir by posting a hand-lettered sign in his window. The sign reads, “CELEBRATE YOUR WHITE HERITAGE IN MARCH, WHITE HISTORY MONTH.”
As expected, the cries of racism quickly came pouring in even though the owner of Jimbo’s Deli, Jim Boggess, stated he meant no harm, “No matter what you are — Muslim, Jewish, black, white, gay, straight — you should be proud of what you are. I shouldn’t have to feel bad about being white.”
And therein lies the rub with race relations in America. You see, according to the left, whites are supposed to feel bad about being white. So, it’s no surprise the long-time customer, Bhakti Curtis, complained Boggess’s sign was offensive and made fun of Black History Month. Curtis, who is bi-racial, even went so far as to file a formal complaint with the Flemington Police Department claiming the sign was “‘racist,’ that he felt harassed by it and wanted to know what would be done about it.” Thankfully cooler–and saner–heads prevailed when the officers from Flemington P.D. “went to Jimbo’s, looked at the sign, spoke with Boggess and decided that the sign wasn’t derogatory or racist and that no further police action was needed.”
Boggess agrees with the Flemington P.D., the sign stays, saying he feels he has the right to express himself under the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Meanwhile, reaction to the sign has been mixed. Some, like Curtis, feel it is not appropriate, including local business leaders. Others take pictures and post them to social media in support of Boggess.
Curtis, however did not give up on his quest to have the sign removed. He has a problem with the sign, even though he is part white. “I’m black, Irish and Polish,” he said, “but I look black. I grew up in a white family, and I love white people. I just hate racism.”
Eventually, Boggess caved to the pressure and Curtis got his way when the sign was removed from Jimbo’s Deli. Boggess said, “I never meant it to be a black/white thing. I only meant it to be a white thing.” But some people “twisted the meaning” of the sign.
This incident begs the questions: Why is it so offensive for whites to have the very same celebrations of race that blacks do? How is that discrimination also not racism? And isn’t it interesting how Curtis cannot see he is employing the very same racism he’s protesting against?
What do you think about the Jimbo’s Deli sign? Is it racist? Should other’s feelings of offense trump those of a store owner’s right to freedom of expression?
Photo credit: Rick Epstein