A Bed-Stuy coffee shop is facing backlash after allegedly refusing to give candy to black trick-or-treaters but handing candies out to white ones instead.
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The incident was recounted Oma Holloway, co-chair of Community Board 3 and chair of the CB3 Education and Youth Committee, to King County Politics, where she and fellow CB3 board member Michael Catlyn witnessed two black children come into the Strand Cafe for trick-or-treat.
As King County Politics reports:
The merchant behind the counter told the two middle-schoolers that the store didn’t have any trick or treat candy so the kids politely left. A few minutes later, a young African-American mom came in with her two kids trick or treating and the barista again informed them they didn’t have any candy. Then two younger African-American girls came in trick or treating and they were also told the store did not participate in the holiday. Holloway said that finally a white mother came in with her two kids trick or treating and this time the barista took out a jar of candy from behind the counter and started doling out sweets to the kids.
Upon seeing this, Holloway walked up to the barista and told him “You got to be kidding me. Little black kids walk in and you don’t have candy for them, but you have candy for the white kids. This is unacceptable, here or anywhere.”
According to the Patch, the owner of the cafe took to Facebook to address the incident, saying that it was “just a big misunderstanding.”
“We didn’t give out no candies yesterday to anyone,” owner Poran Chowdhury wrote, saying that the candy Holloway saw on the counter was only available for sale. Chowdhury also added that the employee was not able to explain the situation because his English was limited.
However, Holloway dismissed the explanation, saying that the white children never gave the employee money for the candy.
“I had a pretty clear vantage point,” Holloway said. “That’s not what was going on.”
“I’m not here to hurt businesses,” she added. “But it’s situations like this that perpetuate tension and we all need to be held accountable.”
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