Re: “Racism Shocks Patrons,” Eleanor Lange.
First, from what relatively few details the author provided, it is next to impossible to determine what motivated the woman to turn her back on the Black family and move the table away from them. Since Ms. Lange did not get the other side of the story and I assume she is not psychic, there is no way to truly tell if it was racism, as opposed to a woman who does not like children, a woman who was having a bad day and did not want company, etc.
Second, last I looked at the Bill of Rights it is, at least in theory, a free country. Included is freedom of association. If a White woman refuses to associate with a Black woman, even if racism is the motivator, so long as the White woman does not yell racist slurs at her or otherwise cause her harm because she is Black, that White woman has the right to do so.
Third, not every incident of perceived racism is actually racism. In the 1980s I worked for a car rental company. People would often state there was no additional driver on the car then give it to friends, relatives, etc. to drive. The car would develop mechanical issues, the unauthorized driver would bring the car back, and we would confiscate the car. I did this to all races. Blacks would tell me I was doing it to them because they were Black. The renter had signed a legal contract stating no one else was authorized to drive.
Let me also say I myself once perceived racism where there was none. My name is Jewish. Someone at my office once remarked with a name like “Weiner” I should not have any money problems. I thought she was referring to me being Jewish and all Jews have money. Months later she expanded: she thought now disgraced Congressman Weiner was my cousin!
As far as the mother’s reaction of yelling at the White woman, Ms. Lange should not be endorsing this. Two wrongs don’t make a right. As far as the children being traumatized for life, had the Black woman simply ignored the alleged racism, the children likely would not have known anything was wrong. The children will be traumatized by her yelling.
Let me also add that I attended a mostly Black junior high school in the mid 1970s, at what was arguably the height of the Black Nationalist movement. I was the subject of much bias and prejudice. Almost five decades later I don’t think all Blacks are like that; there are good Black people and bad Black people.
Finally, if Ms. Lange thinks we are going to stamp out racism she is dreaming. The 1964 candidate Barry Goldwater observed you cannot legislate what is in men’s hearts. It doesn’t mean I approve of racism; it means that is the reality of the situation.