Global Village Duluth apologizes for "Annual MLK Day Black Sale"
Global Village Duluth -- a downtown store selling "Clothing, jewelry, scarves, incense, cards, tapestries, lamps, instruments...more unique gifts than you can imagine!" -- published the above post on its Facebook page Friday.
This wasn't the first year Global Village held the "MLK Day Black Sale." But it was the first that the promotion was widely decried, and as a result store owner Rachel Mock issued a public apology earlier today.
Global Village even had a sign in a store window promoting the sale:
-- David Kalligher (@DavidKalligher) January 21, 2014
But it was removed as the social media reaction snowballed negatively. Here's a sampling of some of the criticism posted on Global Village's Facebook page:
Early this morning, Global Village posted this apology (the photo at left is affixed to the post):
I adore this man. That was the spirit behind the MLK Day sale. To those whose feelings I've hurt, I contritely ask your forgiveness. That was most definitely not what I meant to do. I'm sorry. It seems the most offense was taken at "25% off everything black." This was not inspired, as some have suggested, by the history of blacks being sold into slavery, nor by the idea that black people are inherently of lesser value than people of other colors. It was inspired by the fact that Dr. Martin Luther King was black. Some may find it culturally insensitive to state this, but it's a fact he was proud of. I'm leaving the sale post up not to cause further insult, but so that you can take a deep breath and honestly evaluate whether it was created out of mockery or celebration. You are looking for ugliness where there isn't any. Others feel that it denigrates the value of his impact to refer to him as "super fly." MLK was a paragon of style. I admire this right alongside his eloquence, fearlessness, and leadership. I've had people of color tell me they are infuriated by this sale. I've had customers of color be stoked to get 25% off their black soap (which some of you could use getting your mouths washed out with.) So offense & admiration come down, yet again, to the eye of the beholder. I certainly can't change how you behold me. But how you behold me can't change what I meant. Period.
But that didn't put an end to the criticism.
(Click to page two for more.)
Though the store was supposed to be open at 10 a.m. today, nobody answered our repeated calls this morning.
-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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