411 Focus

The "City of Brotherly Love" has sustained a blotch; Philadelphia, not the least bit brotherly

Contributed By:Dorothy Nevils maslivend@sbcglobal.net

No admittance

Only those who poke their heads all the way inside the drain to wash their hair are unaware of an incident a few days ago. It was all over the news – coming from news channels… in Facebook news feeds… everywhere! People who still do, sat, I am sure, at their tables and discussed it. Folks everywhere shook their heads, dropped their mouths, and sat stunned, hardly believing what they heard – indeed, what they saw!

It happened in Philadelphia, a city with a rich history. It was, at one time, the capital of the United States. You read about it, the name “William Penn” flying off your tongue in junior high school, and likely marveled at its past significance when you were in high school, and on into U.S. History classes. I remember going there several years ago at our Women of the ELCA Convention, and being in awe of the Liberty Bell!

Well, the old and the new had a sort of collision this past week, though, I must say, the city hasn’t led a “virgin life” anyway. There are some “spots” in its history, but it has been a kinder place for blacks than much of the United States has proven to be.

Lately, though, we’ve had our necks jerked out of socket. The “City of Brotherly Love (If you’ve studied etymology the way I tried to get my students to, you know that philos = "loving" + adelphos = "brother”) has sustained a blotch. It’s been all over the news, and not the least bit brotherly! Can you say “Starbucks”?

It all started quite simply: Two men, unfortunately Black, went into a Starbucks and were denied the use of the bathroom, then later, “a seat at the table,” a phrase with deep meaning when it comes to equality. They were waiting for a third man, white, in this place where people come, stake out space, use the restroom, and then conduct business or hold meetings over coffee.

When they didn’t leave as directed, police were called. The two were handcuffed and carted off to jail over the protests of other customers and the “partner” for whom they were waiting, and detained for eight hours.

Reading later, I came across an earlier, somewhat similar situation wherein a black man was denied use of the restroom in Los Angeles, right after a white one had been allowed entrance.

I’ve just completed a written complaint after being denied use of the restroom when I went to transact business yesterday. Why? The manager wasn’t in, and this decision had to be made by the manager. Having taught in the school system for over thirty years – a customer for that period, to boot – I could most certainly “manage” on my own. In fact, I have managed to manage this, and even more complicated tasks, for over a half century! In addition, I’ve managed to lead two generations to management of that same task.

As with Starbucks, the fault lies with the person in charge, and the question is this: Was it an edict handed down by the local manager, or was it from the “higher ups”?

That leads me to question the reason for that decision… and one final question: Could the answer be … “Location… location”?

Post Script: The issue was resolved

Story Posted:04/21/2018

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