That’s what happened at The Borgata casino on Monday at its Metropolitan Restaurant, where many restaurant-goers were shocked and offended to find The Borgata trafficking in offensive stereotypes as a way to honor King.
Bedford-Stuyvesant resident Adam Firestone, 29, told the New York Daily News that he was among many who were taken aback when they walked into the restaurant and saw the MLK menu.
“Dude, that’s hella racist, but I’ll probably order it,” Firestone said he was thinking, pointing out that many diners were taking pictures of the menu to memorialize it—and undoubtedly share it on social media.
With a country whose racial history is as long and brutal as America’s, there’s a startling array of foods, words, images and messages that whites have used over the years to belittle and derogate Black people. Even today, whites freely pick among them to instigate and outrage the Black populace. So anyone who wades down that path without a working knowledge of American racial history can easily trip over some land mines.
And that brings us to the Borgata, where restaurant executive Joe Lupo said the restaurant’s general manager, an African-American woman, actually did research and came up with the menu to honor King because she discovered it was his favorite meal. Apparently her research missed the part where she might have found out fried chicken is a racial stereotype that winds back through American history for generations.
“We allow our managers to run their restaurants. She did research and came up with an authentic recipe. It’s very clear these were his favorite foods,” Lupo said, pointing out that the restaurant regularly offers menus geared to holidays like Chinese food on the Chinese New Year and Mexican food on Cinco de Mayo.
The difference is that Chinese food has not been used for generations to mock Chinese-Americans and Mexican food has not been used to belittle Mexican-Americans.
Some of the diners also might have been offended that the MLK fried chicken special was being served at the exorbitant price of $24.