Things That Matter

Buffalo Wild Wings Faces Backlash After Booting An African American Family From From Its Restaurant For ‘Racist’ Regular

Like most families who hit up Buffalo Wild Wings for a family birthday, the Vahl family was looking for a friendly family meal when they went to the restaurant on a Saturday night in Chicago. However, the family and their party, a group made up mostly of African American adults and children, were faced with a dreadful experience of discrimination instead.

The family had just sat down for a meal when staff at the restaurant ordered them to leave their table.

The incident started when another customer insisted he would not be seated by Black people.

PSA: I usually don’t post these types of things but we think people need to be aware of the situation.Last night…

Posted by Mary Vahl on Sunday, October 27, 2019

Last week on October 26,  the Vahl family and their party, which included 18 people, headed to a Buffalo Wild Wing located in a strip mall in Naperville, Ill. Naperville is reported to be a racially diverse suburb about 40 minutes southwest of Chicago. In a post to her Facebook page, Mary Vahl described the racist encounter. The story has been shared more than 4,500 times as of Monday afternoon.

At the time, Justin Vahl asked for a table of 15 for his family. However, as the host began to set up their table, he realized he’d made a mistake and approached her asking to accommodate for a table of 18. Then the host asked Vahl a question that caught him off guard,  “What race are you guys?” A report from the Washington Post says that the young host was African American.  Justin Vahl asked why it mattered and the host replied that a table with 2 of their “regular customers” were next to where they were to be seated and he didn’t want the party sitting there because he is “racist.”

Not wanting to give the customer the “satisfaction” of leaving, the family sat down at the table anyway and began their orders.  According to Mary Vahl, they realized who the customer was because he, at this point, continued to shoot them glares. However, it wasn’t until the other customer spoke to waitstaff and had a manager ask them to move that things got serious.

“These seats are reserved,” a staff member told them, “and we will have to move your group.” According to the Naperville Sun, Buffalo Wild Wings does not take reservations. According to Mary Vahl, the men at the party politely refused and requested to speak with the manager. It turns out the staff member who attempted to get them to move WAS the manager. 

When the family finally complained to their waitress, she replied that she was already aware of the situation. Vahl expressed her frustration in her post saying, “How is an establishment ok with serving people who try to control which types of people sit around them?! It was not ok that that a person of management was willing to move 6 adults and 12 children versus 2 grown adults who are uncomfortable sitting by black folks!!” 

By this point, Vahl said the group had been made to feel extremely uncomfortable for the situation they were subjected to and eventually the restaurant’s service manager, a woman named Hannah, approached them.  “After already speaking to the other table, to say that it was told to her that our seats were already reserved by a party of 18 that called in.” Vahl explained in her post. “Although we walked in with no call, if these tables were in fact reserved there would have been a reserved sign on the table. At this time management is giving every excuse for their “misunderstanding” because John decides to change his story in front of his superior. We call him out on his words and tell him he didn’t “think the tables were reserved” and blatantly told us they WERE reserved and we HAVE to move our group.”

According to a member of the party named Marcus Riley who talked to WBBM, several customers outside of the party got up to hug the group when they finally had it and decided to leave. According to Riley, the host at the restaurant had tears in his eyes as the group left. 

“In 2019, this type of behavior should not be accepted because of certain views,” Vahl wrote. “If you don’t want to sit next to certain people in a public restaurant then you should probably eat dinner in the comfort of your own home. A moment to hang out with a group of friends after a birthday party turned into a discussion with our young impressionable sons about how we didn’t get kicked out, but willingly CHOSE to leave because of the unfair treatment we were being given. This Buffalo Wild Wings location has lost our business indefinitely. Thank you to the Hooters for serving our group and the patrons of Hooters for not being close-minded people that would ruin the night of others.”

After the incident went viral, the restaurant chain announced the staff that had been involved had been fired.

“If you don’t want to sit next to certain people in a public restaurant then you should probably eat dinner in the comfort of your own home,” Mary Vahl wrote on Facebook.

A Buffalo Wild Wings spokesperson told the Associated Press on Monday that it had conducted an internal investigation and fired the employees involved.

The company “values an inclusive environment and has zero-tolerance for discrimination of any kind,” a spokesperson said in a statement to WBBM.

It Started As An Attack On Migrants But California’s Prop 187 Helped Shape California’s Political Identity Today

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It Started As An Attack On Migrants But California’s Prop 187 Helped Shape California’s Political Identity Today

Bruce Huff / LA Times Archive

Today is the 25th anniversary of California voters passage of Proposition 187 which denied public service to immigrants without legal status. The prevailing legacy of Prop 187 should be a point of pride for California Latinxs who successfully overturned a scathing anti-immigrant measure. According to LAist, it “remains one of the most divisive measures in state history, and the battle over its passage ultimately reshaped California politics.”

The policy denied public health care and all education from elementary school to college to undocumented immigrants. Under Prop 187, state and local agencies had to report any immigrants who did not fulfill residency criteria to state and federal authorities.

When the initiative entered the ballot on November 8, 1994, it passed with 59% in favor. Following an uphill legal battle, it was declared unconstitutional in 1997 by a federal judge. Despite its horrid attack on the immigrant community, the battle to dismantle the proposition is what shifted California from a beacon of conservatism to a reliably blue state today. 

25 years ago, California officials concocted a plan to blame immigrants for a recent state recession. 

Following a state recession, in 1994, that cost California thousands of jobs, Republican Assemblyman Dick Mountjoy, an accountant and a political team came up with the ballot measure nicknamed “Save Our State.” Mountjoy’s measure said Californians suffered “economic hardship” because of undocumented immigrants using public services. 

Under the extreme initiative, anyone who wasn’t “lawfully admitted for a period of time” in the United States would be denied social services and education. Children would be kicked out of public schools after 90 days if their parents could not prove they were lawfully in the U.S. Moreover, teachers, health care providers, and law enforcement would be forced to survey their neighbors and report any individuals they believed to be undocumented to federal immigration agencies. 

These xenophobic provisions were alleged to “save money” for California. Prop 187 came during Republican Governor Pete Wilson’s re-election campaign, which was losing in the polls. Wilson was already using anti-immigrant rhetoric in his campaign ads, thus supporting Prop 187 was a no-brainer for the troubled governor. 

Latinx begin to organize against Prop 187.

During a debate, Wilson made it clear he had a zero-tolerance policy when it came to undocumented immigrants when he was asked if he would call INS on a second-grader.  

“I make no apology for putting California children first…Yes, those children who are in the country illegally deserve an education, but the government that owes it to them is not in Sacramento or even in Washington. It is in the country from which they have come, Wilson said

The same day 70,000 people, many Latinxs, marched in opposition to Prop 187. According to a Baltimore Sun report from the rally, at the time, it was the largest demonstration the state had ever seen. 

A graduate student, Angel Cervantes, organized 10,000 students from 30 LAUSD schools staged a walkout on November 2, 1994 — 6 days before the vote. 

“It was the biggest thing I had ever seen, probably one of the most life-changing empowering, moments,” Cervantes told the LA Times in 1994. “To see so many groups, so many organizations, so many banners, so many different Latin Americans… it was very powerful.”

Prop 187 passed — but it wouldn’t hold for long. 

Prop passed with 59 percent of voters approving it. But it was immediately challenged in court by seven groups, five of the lawsuits would make it through. Court Judge Mariana Pfaelzer issued a preliminary injunction blocking implementation on December 14, 1994. Despite appeals by the state, by 1996 President Bill Clinton’s welfare reform law would only strengthen the legal opposition to Prop 187. 

“Judge Pfaelzer ruled that the measure was unconstitutional in Nov. 1997, and almost two years later, in Jul. 1999, Proposition 187 was effectively overturned via federal mediation,” according to LAist. 

The fight against Prop 187 would solidify a better, stronger Democratic electorate — including a coalition of Latinxs.

The Republican-backed Prop 187 solidified for many Latinxs of the time that the GOP was an anti-immigrant and anti-Latinx party, causing many to flee toward the Democrats. These new Latinx Democrats would put Latinxs in elected offices in the years to come and shift California left. 

A report by Latino Decisions found that from 1994 to 2004, 1.8 million new voters, 66 percent of which were Latinx and 23 percent of which were Asian, registered in California. Today roughly 80 percent of elected positions in California belong to Democrats. 

The fight against Prop 187 unified Latinxs and other immigrants in a way the state had never seen. It forever changed the demographics of California politics and proved Latinxs were a valuable electorate with the power to transform.

A Student Filmed Her Teacher In Blackface And Now The Video Has Gone Viral And The Teacher Is On Leave

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A Student Filmed Her Teacher In Blackface And Now The Video Has Gone Viral And The Teacher Is On Leave

@karrington_kk / Twitter

A student’s video of her teacher wearing blackface to class to appear as the rapper Common on Halloween went viral. The teacher from California has since been placed on leave, according to BuzzFeed News

The clip circulated on Twitter after 16-year-old Karrington Kenney shared video footage. In the 23-second video, the teacher enacts a scene from Common’s Microsoft AI commercial for his students in the class. Kenney told BuzzFeed News the video came from a friend whose mother is also a teacher at Milpitas Unified School District where the incident occurred. 

The school told BuzzFeed they would not release the name of the teacher because it was a “confidential personnel matter.” 

Kenney shares the video of teacher with blackface on Twitter.

“Sooooooooo… one of our WHITE teachers at MHS yesterday decided to paint his face so look like Common the rapper yesterday,” Kenney tweeted. “The school just told him to clean up…”

In the video, not only is the teacher painted in dark brown makeup but it is much darker than Common’s actual skin color.

“With A.I. Microsoft technology, the future is up to you,”  he says attempting to speaking with an offensive black accent, while Common speaks much differently.  

“We decided to post this to bring this to the eye of public,” Kenney said. “He genuinely thought it was okay to come to school like this.”

Kenney said the incident hurt especially because there aren’t many black people at her school. 

“He’s a white male, so he came to school with his face painted and he tried to act as if he was the rapper,” Kenney told  KTVU. “To see that he really thought that was O.K. and it was a joke — it really hurts, especially being one of the handful of black people that we have at our school,”

Officials call for an investigation of the incident. 

Chris Norwood, the president of the school board in Milpitas, called for an investigation of the “insensitive” act. 

“As an African-American man, the history of blackface reminds me of the cruelty, hatred and fear my parents and people of African ancestry have dealt with in the past and still experience today around the world,” Norwood told the New York Times. “Unfortunately, blackface still permeates global society today through social media, comedy and fashion.”

The school releases a statement, calling it “insensitive.” 

School officials released a statement condemning the racist act to parents and faculty. 

“It hurts to know that this type of cultural insensitivity and lack of cultural awareness still hovers in the background,” the superintendent of the Milpitas Unified School District Cheryl Jordan and school principal Francis Rojas said in a statement. 

“We are committed to strengthening our school environment through culturally relevant and respectful education designed to address prejudice and racism so that we can prevent bullying and harassment. Blackface paint has a historical and present-day connotation of racism that demeans those of African ancestry. The act was disparaging to our students, parents, colleagues and the Milpitas community we serve.”

This isn’t the first time a teacher has been put on leave due to a racist act. 

In October, a Pennsylvania middle school teacher was placed on administrative leave after a viral Facebook video showed her call someone the N-word and using derogatory language. A video shows Renee Greeley confronting a parent in the school parking lot. 

“Because you’re black.” she tells the man who she insists is on welfare after he told he made six figures. “Always looking to milk the system. And you see me, a white woman, so you think I’ve got money.” 

Greeley then called the man the N-word and other expletives. The school administration promptly placed her on administrative leave without pay. 

“It’s got to stop,” District Superintendent Daniel P. McGarry told USA Today. “This rhetoric and this language and the way the people feel and the way they communicate has to stop. It’s destroying the country. It’s destroying (the) country and we’re going to be the place that’s going to prove to people that it can be done the right way.” 

Within the same week of this incident in Pennsylvania, a Virginia teacher was fired after she used a racial slur against her student. 

“She called him a ni**let. She called the student a ni**let. She went on and there were other words and terms expressed out loud,” one parent told NBC 12. “I’m concerned for the culture that’s within the school. I’m concerned about who we have in the classroom.”

As long as the President is comfortable using racist language and tropes in his rhetoric, citizens will continue to follow his lead.