by Anna Pulley
1. After buying the book and deciding not to get a bag for the book, I walk to the Elmwood Cafe.Bell continued:
2. I see my wife and her new mom friends all happily chatting and holding their babies while sitting at an outside table. It struck me how well my wife fit in with these new friends. (And not just because they were all white… although I think that may have made a difference to you.)
3. I walk over to them. My wife introduces me to them.
4. One of them asks about the book I am holding.
5. I show her the book.
6. Seconds later there is a loud series of knocks on the window of the Elmwood Cafe. They are coming from the inside of the restaurant.
7. I look up and see one of your employees staring daggers at me.
8. The employee then jerks her head to her left aggressively and I see her mouth say something to the effect of…
Seriously. That is what happened. OK. Maybe it wasn’t exactly, “SCRAM!” Maybe it was, “GIT!” Or maybe it was, “GO!” Whatever it was, it was certainly directed at me. And it was certainly the kind of direction you should only give to a dog… a dog that you, yourself, own.
I understand that on College Avenue in “Berserkeley” that you might get some characters coming through your establishment that you might not want to serve. And it is your right to refuse service. For example, when we had breakfast that morning, there was a white guy with dreadlocks sitting directly across from your doorway spare change-ing everyone who went into and out of your restaurant. And I could understand if a business thought he was bothering people and if that business had asked him to leave. But he was there the entire time we had breakfast, at least an hour, and I didn’t see anyone tell him to, “SCRAM!” But when I stood amicably talking to my wife for a few minutes, it was a different story.Bell ends the post by saying he and his wife won't be patronizing the business anymore, even though his wife was a big fan:
Despite everything, I do believe in peoples’ ability to learn new things and in a business’ abilities to conduct better practices. It’s a key component to my intersectional progressivism. But that doesn’t mean you get have to have my family’s patronage as you go about your learning curve. And you definitely don’t deserve my silence. Because I believe if you told me to scram then you have probably done that or something equally dehumanizing (or worse) to another innocent person. And I definitely believe it will happen again if I don’t say something. And as much as it would be “easier” to let it go, if I did that I wouldn’t be fulfilling my duties as a member of the advisory Board of Race Forward, a racial justice organization, and I certainly wouldn’t be living up to my responsibilities as The ACLU’s Racial Justice Ambassador. Yup, thankfully I have little bit of a platform to try and prevent this from happening to anyone else.
The employee's misunderstanding of the situation is absolutely inexcusable. This is not who we are, or who we want to be.
We want to express our deepest apologies to Mr. Bell and his family. We look forward to meeting with him soon to discuss what further action we can take to rectify this.