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Essayist and poet looks at photo of coal miners after work, sees 'offensive blackface'

There’s trouble brewing in Phoenix after essayist and poet Rashaad Thomas attended a holiday party at a restaurant and saw a photo of coal miners at a pub after work. But that’s not what he saw; what he saw was offensive blackface:

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Friends said, “It’s coal miners at a pub after work.” It was a photograph of coal miners with blackened faces. I asked a Latinx and white woman for their opinion. They said it looked like coal miners at a pub after work. Then they stepped back, frowned and said it’s men in blackface.

I asked the waitress to speak with a manager. Instead, I spoke with a white restaurant owner. I explained to him why the photograph was offensive. Evidently, someone else had made a similar comment about the photograph before.

Yet, the photograph remained on the wall. He said he would talk to the other owners and get back to me. While leaving, I asked him had he spoke with the other owners. He had not spoken with them, but mentioned Google said it’s coal miners after work.

Unfortunately, Thomas never mentions the name of the “downtown Phoenix restaurant,” because it could probably do with the boost in business after his opinion piece was published.

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Update:

They really are complaining about the “blackface” in “Mary Poppins.”


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