Today my beautiful friend, Joan, and I had lunch in a lovely restaurant.
The women’s bathroom was awesome because on the walls were decorated with album covers of famous female artists. However, there was one flaw — the albums were segregated. All the white female musicians were lined up together, across two walls; and the black female musicians lined up together in another area.
I took the initiative to point this out to two of the male staff at the restaurant. That it was offensive and they should re-arrange the albums and mix the white and black women together!
Both workers said I was “right” and that I was the only person who ever pointed this out to them. I said that otherwise the restaurant was fantastic and one of my favorite restaurants in New Jersey.
I hope they take my words seriously. The need to.
Last weekend I went to a library and watched “The Rosa Parks Story,” an American made movie from 2002, starring Angela Bassett, portraying Rosa Parks. I’ve always been a fan of Rosa Parks because she took her stance and changed the world. There were those before her who tried to take a stand, doing what she did, but didn’t make the same impact.
I was born in 1963, so I did not live during the time of blatant segregation. From what I learned in history, I feel how black people were treated was completely barbaric and no way for human beings to treat each other.
This is why that restaurant bathroom was so offensive to me today. As a white woman, I felt it was necessary to defend my black sisters — even though there were no black people in the restaurant.
Whether the arrangement of the album covers — white on one side, black on the other — was intentional or accidental, it should not stay that way. As a race, the human race, we need to keep moving forward, not backwards.
I will certainly follow up with the restaurant and make sure the album covers are changed to mix the female entertainers together!
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award-winning journalist and public speaker. For bookings, pricing, and availability, email her at: MaryanneChristiano@Gmail.com