Black customer threatened after complaint about NJ deli owner’s ‘White History Month’ sign
A New Jersey deli owner apologized and agreed to take down a sign celebrating “White History Month.”
Jim Boggess, owner of Jimbo’s Deli, posted the hand-lettered sign, which read: “CELEBRATE YOUR WHITE HERITAGE IN MARCH, WHITE HISTORY MONTH.”
A bi-racial customer, Bhakti Curtis, was offended and asked the owner to remove the sign, but Boggess initially refused, reported the Hunterdon County Democrat.
“I love everybody, and everybody should celebrate what they are,” Boggess said. “I shouldn’t have to feel bad about being white.”
Curtis contacted Flemington police, who said the business owner had not broken any laws with the sign, and he said officers later threatened him with arrest when he ran into them at another restaurant and asked about the case.
“I’m big and black and have a loud voice — but that’s not against the law,” Curtis said.
He said the T in the word “white” was initially lower-case and resembled a Ku Klux Klan cross, but the letter was later changed to upper-case after Curtis complained.
Boggess said passersby photographed the sign, and he said many of them gave him a thumbs-up as they did.
He said the only racial discrimination going on was by people objecting to the sign “because I’m white.”
Curtis said he received threats and abusive comments after local media reported on the sign, and a newspaper reporter said he received an email about his Jewish-sounding name.
Boggess removed the sign Thursday morning, saying that some people had “twisted the meaning of his display” – which came after February’s 28-day celebration of Black History Month.
“I never meant it to be a black/white thing,” Boggess said. “I only meant it to be a white thing.”