The year is 2017, and an employee at an assisted living facility in Wilmington, N.C., that houses mostly white residents thought it would be a good idea to include a picture of a mammylike character in the December calendar of activities because white and unabashed racism is still alive and well in this country, whether y’all want to admit it or not.
One person described the image to the Wilmington Journal as “a cartoonish illustration of ‘ … a slave lady’—complete with black skin, big pink lips, bulging eyes, a handkerchief wrapped around her head and dressed like Butterfly McQueen’s character from the classic Southern antebellum film, Gone With the Wind.”
(As I was researching this story, I thought, “This has to be fake,” but nope, it’s real as fuck. In 2017, no less.)
Although all copies of the calendar have reportedly been removed from the facility, Bradley Creek, the local and state chapters of the NAACP are calling for immediate action.
Deborah Dicks Maxwell, president of the New Hanover County (N.C.) NAACP, told the Journal on Wednesday, “This [calendar] is demeaning. It is appalling that in 2017 this is still occurring.”
The offensive caricature appears next to text that reads: “MERRY CHRISTMAS. It takes dough for Christmas presents. And all I have is ‘Crust.’ But wish you MERRY CHRISTMAS? Oh, Honey don’t I just!”
Below that is apparently what is supposed to be the mammy’s signature, “Thelma.”
Two black staff members were offended by the calendar and reportedly complained to management. One of them took a picture of it and sent it to the Rev. Kojo Nantumbu of the North Carolina NAACP, who in turn gave a copy to the Journal.
Marvila Jackson, the medical technician who took the photo of the offensive calendar, told the Journal that she was upset because it’s “an all-white place, so I wouldn’t expect them to put that out … I mean, if you’re going to put something out, and it’s not even a Santa Claus thing, it’s a … you know, a slave lady … and that’s how I felt when I [saw] it.”
Jackson was later suspended by the facility for what it called a “resident complaint” that she says she was not aware of. She speculated that she was suspended because management found out she was the person who had taken a photo of the calendar and shared it outside the facility.
Activity Director Jennifer Dicicco Alaimo, who is said to have been responsible for the calendar, was reportedly fired after the story made the local news.
Meanwhile, Jackson has decided that she no longer wants to work for the facility and is currently seeking employment elsewhere.