A Colorado BBQ's planned "White Appreciation Day" is meant to promote equality, but others don't see it that way.
The owners of Rubbin' Buttz BBQ in Milliken, CO have already drawn criticism for their "White Appreciation Day," planned for June 11. During the promotion, all white customers will receive a 10% discount.
But this isn't a case of promoting racism, argues owner Edgar Antillon, but rather promoting equality.
Edgar Antillon, a first generation son of hispanic immigrants, explains the rationale behind the promotion: "We have a whole month for Black History Month. We have a whole month for Hispanic heritage month, so we thought the least we could do was offer one day to appreciate white Americans."
The community at large does not seem to share Antillon's sentiments. Ricardo Romero, a civil right activist and community organizer in Weld County, where Milliken is located, called the promotion "a perpetuation of racism". He went on to say, "It's wrong. If you're going to give a discount, give it to the whole community."
USA Today also spoke with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies who said that there could be legal repercussions. Representative Jennifer McPherson said, "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."
Antillon has prepared himself for any backlash the event may cause, but he is standing firm in his decision. He admits that the idea started as a joke, but like a soldier that has found a cause, he wears the expression of a man who is about to go into battle and refuses to back down. He acknowledges that he has been the target of discrimination in the past, and hopes that the event will help other to think different about race.
However, reviewers on Yelp have lambasted the restaurant, calling the owners "Racist f*****g pricks," and saying, "The only thing worse (in my book) than bad BBQ is bad taste!"
The restaurant has acknowledged the backlash on its Facebook page.
Antillon hopes the promotion will bring people together. "We're all American," he
says simply, "plain and simple. Whether you came from a different country or you were born here. We're all American."