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Last week, the Los Angeles Sentinel, learned that a local restaurant, servicing the residents in South Los Angeles (specifically Watts), was selling a drink labeled with an offensive depiction of Black people. It appeared to have an Asian origin (Asian writing) and during its investigation, the Sentinel has learned that the writing is Chinese but the operator(s) of the restaurant is Cambodian.
As a result of these events, a press conference was held last week in front of the restaurant, and several community organizations, businesses and residents attended to lend their support to the growing outrage fueled by these racist depictions. In attendance were representatives from Watts Labor Community Action Center (WLCAC), Respect-Me Coalition, Mothers In Action, Brotherhood Crusade, Los Angeles Sentinel, T.J. Rogers, community activist, and Malik Spellman, the person who discovered the racist image. Also, there were many television cameras and reporters on hand covering the event for the mainstream television media.
Danny J. Bakewell Sr., executive publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel and Timothy Watkins, president of WLCAC spoke with the owner(s) of the restaurant (who gave her name as Linda) who claimed she was not aware of the insensitive connotation of the image but promised to discontinue the sale of the beverage. Furthermore, she stated that she bought the labels separately and attached them to the top of the containers. There seemed to be a different label for each flavor of the drink however, the different labels that were on display at the press conference all had the derogatory racial depiction.
“We are calling on people of goodwill to help us rid the community of these racist images,” Bakewell said, “It is most disrespectful to have this kind of racial insensitivity right here in the community being supported by Black people.”
Watkins was equally forceful comparing the work that he has been doing in the community as he stated, “These are the kinds of images that the museum at WLCAC has been trying to erase by displaying positive images of African Americans.”
The most disturbing aspect of this situation is that it appears to be just ‘the tip of the iceberg.’ Sources have revealed that there is an array of drinks with the same racist images being sold, not only in the Black community, but the racist depiction is very prevalent in most Asian communities.
In addition to finding out the language displayed on the labels, sources have also uncovered the origin of the labels. They reportedly are a ‘hot item’ sold by DOUBLE 88 INC. located at 6272 Avon Avenue, San Gabriel, California. The Los Angeles Sentinel is asking the community to call its offices at (323) 299-3800 to report the name and location of any retail or wholesale establishment the sells any merchandise that depicts these derogatory images—”three little Black children dressed in jungle garb.”