Edgar Antillon seems like a nice guy, but his BBQ joint is called "Rubbin' Buttz," so let's keep that in mind when judging the sophistication of this decision.
Because all Americans should be celebrated...and some should be given discounts.
Before we judge Edgar Antillon, owner of the Milliken, Colorado barbecue restaurant Rubbin' Buttz, let's just say that his restaurant's Facebook page makes me very hungry.
I think that's important to establish before we discuss his probably-very-bad idea to have a "White Appreciation Day" on June 11, when Rubbin' Buttz will offer 10% off to all white customers. Social awareness is not Mr. Antillon's core competency—BBQ is. Nevertheless, he is venturing outside his comfort zone to take on America's race relations with the powerful weapons of slow-cooked meat and customer discounts.
I kept expecting the other shoe to drop when hearing this, but Mr. Antillon, who is Mexican-American, stuck to a the most non-offensive version of the common reasoning you hear for events like these (usually from a College Republican hosting a super-clever "Affirmative Action Bake Sale"): "We have a whole month for Black History Month," Antillon told KUSA-TV, "We have a whole month for Hispanic Heritage Month, so we thought the least we could do was offer one day to appreciate white Americans."
"We're all American, whether you came from a different country or you were born here," Antillon said in a statement that doesn't necessarily support his point, "We're all American." He came up with the idea with his co-owner Miguel Jimenez, initially as a joke. Then, for some reason, they decided to make it not a joke. If the idea was to garner more attention for the restaurant, it worked.
It may be rubbin' people the wrong way, buttz is it legal?
Rubbin' Buttz is a great website name...just not for BBQ.
Listen, even though there are few days that I wake up in America feeling like my
smooth, creamy whiteness pale, blotchy Irishness is under-appreciated, I'm always open to hearing why people should appreciate me more. Unfortunately, that's not really the problem with his plan. It's the discounts. If he had a "White History Day" with pictures of Greek statues, medieval paintings, and Winston Churchill or whatever, he might get complaints, but it would be legally fine.
Rubbin' Buttz, rubbin' people the wrong way. (via KUSA-TV)
Offering a race-based discount at a restaurant (no matter what people holding Affirmative Action Bake Sales might tell you) is not, in fact, legal—no matter which race is getting the discount. They might get around it by just giving out the discount to whomever says they're white (and after all, a lot of people of color have at least some white ancestry):
I hope that one Facebook comment (which literally just happened as I was writing this) is correct, because Jennifer McPherson of the Colorado Dep't of Regulatory Agencies said, "If someone felt like they were being discriminated against, they could come to the civil rights division and file a complaint in our office, and we would investigate that." I have a feeling that might happen.
In any case, I hope this doesn't sully the good name of Rubbin' Buttz BBQ.