Global Village Duluth apologizes for "Annual MLK Day Black Sale"

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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.

SEE ALSO: Maynard's Restaurant apologizes for ill-conceived 9/11 promotion

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: 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:

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Early this morning, Global Village posted this apology (the photo at left is affixed to the post):
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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.)



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15 comments
swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

When you have a really bad idea, and it takes other people to point out to you what a bad idea that was, the best thing to do is to just say, "I'm sorry," and stop doing what you're doing.  Don't say anything more; don't start explaining yourself; don't blather.  Just apologize and stop.  Crisis management people skill #1.

Brent Colquhoun
Brent Colquhoun

Really??? People are just way to seriously stuck in the head. "MLK " -(no one complains that restaurants use this to mean milk...and that milk is white) So Lets quit eating out for dinner, and choose new ways to get calcium and protien....... Political correction is bogus, people need to pay attention to what is really happening not some poor excuse for making sales for a business.

Ashley Besser
Ashley Besser

... Says all the people who have experienced any oppression... Sigh.

Angie Brown
Angie Brown

people are not happy unless they have a reason to get pissed. im sure she had no bad intent so lighten up and find something worth getting all worked up anout

Michael Marshall
Michael Marshall

The only thing more pathetic than their sign is everyone's outrage towards it. Let it go. Seriously. Move on.

Daren L. MN
Daren L. MN

File this under any attention is good attention.

Aaron KidKanive
Aaron KidKanive

For real get over it. Nobody cares. MLK was a puppet. Malcolm X was the real movement.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@swmnguy They should do that for the good of the business but I don't want to condemn the guy too much.   I certainly can understand why its offensive to some people but I don't think its like some purposeful awful thing.   Both sides should listen to each other and try to learn from this.  At least he read the complaints and is trying to learn.  He does seem a little stubborn but I don't think he deserves to lose his business over this.   Racists with power deserve our scorn and anger not some goofy small business owner too stupid to shut up. 

yoopie93
yoopie93

Congratulations for leaving one of the most idiotic comments on the internet today!  Or, at least, until you inevitably leave another one.

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

@MicheleBachmann  I agree with you.  I don't even think he's being stubborn; it's just natural to try to explain yourself when you've pissed somebody off without meaning to.  But it usually only makes things worse.

We need to be a little more selective with our outrage.  When the large and powerful can afford to ignore perfectly reasonable objections, it's tempting to really stick it to a more locally accessible target, but it's important to keep things in perspective and let the reaction fit the real damage, if there really is any.  When everybody gets the full shotgun-blast of pent-up frustration, it tends to discredit the real underlying issue.

As you say, this guy seems willing to learn and should not lose his business over it.  There's a way to do an MLK sale of specific items with some cultural significance and make it a positive thing. It just isn't the way he did it.  Asking for some community input, "How should we have a respectful and supportive MLK event in our store?" would be a very positive thing to ask and get the right people on his side.  He'll never satisfy the internet haters, but they probably don't shop in his store anyway.

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

@MicheleBachmann  I'm with you on all of that.  I really despise the Limbaughs and O'Reilly's of the world, even more than flat-out racists like Pat Buchanan or worse.  The racists are at least being honest.  The con-men would say or do anything if they thought it would punch their ticket.  And most of the internet trolls one runs into are in the con-man category; just looking to stir things up.  But they do need to be smacked, lest observers think that kind of crap is tolerated by decent people.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@swmnguy I know I yell at the idiots on here a lot about it but I really do save my real life outrage for true racists.  I've never been one that gets mad at Kramer or some dimwit celebrity who says racist stuff.  We are all a little racist on the inside, it takes wisdom and strength of character to learn from history and society to get past your biases.  I've said so many stupid things in my life I can understand how something stupid and racist slips out when you are mad or whatever.  If a person is sorry and trying to learn you owe it to them and yourself to be forgiving no matter how much it hurts.   Forgiveness and love is always best in the long run.   I save my bile for politicians and the con men (Rush Limbaugh, etc.) who use racism to divide people and make money.   They know what they are doing is wrong and don't care. 

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