I live in Stone Mountain, Ga., about a 20-minute drive out from Snellville, Ga., which is the scene of today’s episode of “Damn, That’s Racist.”
According to CBS 46, several businesses in Snellville—where my black brother and his black wife, daughter and son currently reside—recently received letters from an anonymous, but likely white person who apparently wants to make white businesses great again by keeping establishments run by black people out of the city.
The letter reads:
“To whom it may concern, we in the Snellville community want it to be known we don’t want anymore [sic] nigger businesses in our community. We want gravity, celeb barbershop and boot camp gone. Too many nigger businesses... We will not support them.”
Carl Sylvain, the black owner of Celeb Styles barbershop on Main Street in Snellville, received the letter and said to CBS reporters, “After receiving that letter, it really broke my heart because that’s not who we are. We are a community-based barbershop. We are here for the people. We want to service all people. Everybody is welcome.”
“That’s not a reflection of the whole city of Snellville, that’s just a reflection of one narrow-minded individual,” Sylvain said, adding that in the short time his shop has been open, they’ve held charity events in the community. “We’ve been here for about eight months and within the first two months of being here we did a major charity event where we gave away 200 free haircuts, we gave away school supplies, we gave away 500 book bags.”
The business owners have filed a police report, but right now there is not a lot of evidence to work with since those letters showed up in the mail.
I’m glad Sylvain is able to keep a positive outlook in the face of such blatant bigotry, but in the Trumpian-age of crazy, emboldened wypipo, I’m concerned that these letters could be the first step in a larger ploy to drive black businesses out of the city. It wouldn’t be the first time racist messages escalated into racial violence.