Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cafe Owner Puts Up Sign Alerting Customers She's Black

Just in case you thought -- even for a second -- racism is no longer an issue, pull up a chair and let us introduce you to the hell a black restaurant owner in Ossett, West Yorkshire, UK is going through. Martha-Renée Kolleh, 46, who immigrated to the UK from Liberia, has run Yeanon Cafe for two years, but recently, the overt racism by would-be customers has forced Martha-Renée to put up a sign telling customers she is black. Frankly, she's fed up with people walking out when they see the color of her skin. The sign reads (pictured, below): “ATTENTION! Everyone be aware. I am a black woman and always will be. If you are allergic to black people, don’t come in. But if you prefer quality wholesome meals in a pleasant and clean environment, come in. I don’t bite!”
She said: “One family came in, took one look at me and said ‘I think we are in the wrong place’. In my experience, I have had a really tough ride recently. Another man came in, ordered some food and sat outside. When I was bringing his food to him, he walked away without paying. I am losing out on business because of the actions of some of these people. It upsets me and I have had enough of it, I cannot be running a business like this. My family try and make our customers welcome but none of them deserve this kind of behaviour towards us.” Ms Kolleh said the reaction to the sign had been mixed. She said: “Some people find it amusing, they were laughing and said ‘oh yes it’s about time you put that up’, so I think they all realise what’s going on here. I have had support from my loyal customers, and that is very pleasing for me to know I have their backing. But some others just read it and walk away. I’ve heard one or two swear words as well regarding the notice. Just this morning a man in the street told me that because I put up the sign that I was being racist, but how that can be I do not know. I am only trying to make a living for myself and my children, but I am tired of the discrimination against me and my business.” [...] “I put (the sign) there because of the way people treat me in Ossett. They just open the door of my cafe and once they take a look at me they walk out” she said. "Now, when they open the door they will expect to see a black face. I put the sign up because my frustration had built up over a long amount of time."

source: Mirror
Martha-Renée says people have even run off without paying and she says she had to hire a white woman named Tracey to man the front of the cafe. "When Tracey is in the cafe she does well and people will come in and it will be full, once I stay in the background," Martha-Renée says. "But if Tracey is not working and I'm working nobody comes in." Sidebar: Ossett is 99% white. A town council member insists its residents aren't racist. You can watch the news video, here.

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