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October 26, 2009

They Barred Them from Her Book Signing Party

By Milton Lee Norris

This article is about racism and discrimination by an establishment against black people. Black people, guests of the author were denied entrance to a club where an African-American Woman of Color was having her book signing party. It speaks of the discrimination in New York City, Long Island, and other parts of this country. This article depicts the racial temperament in the United States of America.


Being barred from establishments because of the color of one's skin is something that is supposed to be passé. Now that this has happened to you, do you smile and say thank you, or do you let your brilliance speak while using common sense?

It seems as if there is always something that is done, which makes what I've been writing about ring out louder and clearer. Incidents like not being allowed to enter to an establishment should be a thing of the past. This was part of America's history, and we know it to be true because it happened not too long ago. Being refused entry to places shouldn't still be making the headlines; these stories should not be part of today's news.

Unfortunately I do believe that things like this still happen; one only has to look at what happened with the class action lawsuit against Macy's department store. Minorities were followed and watched as if they were going to steal something; today we call it racial profiling. In this particular case an African-American woman was detained because they thought she had stolen something; she had not, in fact she tried to show the security guards her receipts for her purchases, but they ignored her.

One can also look at various police confrontations, incidents of police brutality against the African-American people and Hispanic minorities. One particular case comes to mind, the Abner Louima case, where police officers brutally sodomized him with a broken broom handle.

There's also another tragic case, where Amadou Diallo, an innocent man was murdered for no reason by police officers.

These are only a couple of cases, but it shows the mentality of some people out there; some of these people live and work in New York City.

There was also the case involving Harvard Professor, Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

This didn't occur in New York City, but it helps to show the temperament of this country when race is involved.

Unfortunately finding stories that show racial tension in New York City and other parts of this country is very easy. For instance, when it comes to housing, Long Island appears to be in a continued frenzy against renting to people of color.

Look at our school systems where the African-American children are disproportionately higher in number than their White classmates.

With all of these things going on here in New York City, ask yourself if you think that this is a true story or not. Do you believe that African-American guests were barred from entering this establishment, which was holding Teri Wood's book signing? Personally I believe that it's possible that these black people, guests of this African-American woman were barred from this club at her book signing. There have been too many incidents of racism and racial profiling for me not to believe that it is possible. Racism and prejudice is running rampant here in New York City, and to deny that it exists would be like denying that slavery existed in this country.

Recently a Baton Rouge official refused to marry a couple because they were of different races; he deliberately broke the law.

When I hear or read that a certain club has allowed African-American celebrities, minority icons into their club, and that they have also allowed gays into this club, to me that doesn't mean that they're not racist. It only takes a few to disobey what is written in the law, and if they are White, chances are that they're more likely to get away with their blatant actions of discrimination. Look at the racial temperament of this country right now; we have an African-American President, but there are many Whites who resent this. Only yesterday, Wednesday, October 21, 2009, there was a threat to his life.

It is shameful that things continue to be like this in 2009, but this is the United States of America. Look at the history between the African-American People of Color, who were bought, stole and forced into slavery in this country. In my book “Born In The Wrong Country,” I speak of discrimination, which still exists on many levels right here in this country. The book also addresses the abuse and pain caused by discrimination.

As an African-American man of color, who is gay and an epileptic, I see the rage on some of the White peoples' faces as I walk down the street. If looks could kill, many of us would be dead. Make no mistake, it's not just White people, it is also Black people and Hispanics that harbor prejudices and the list continues to grow. Many people would rather not discuss racism, discrimination and prejudice, but not discussing them won't erase them; they will only continue to fester. As long as people continue to hide behind discrimination in this country, and in New York City, people are going to continue to act out. People will continue misbehaving as long as they can get away with it, especially if there isn't any real punishment or reimbursements to be paid out. Unfortunately some people get hurt by many discriminatory acts, some are injured in blatant attacks and others are murdered. Today discrimination seems to be climbing at a much faster rate. The government makes funds available for Anti-Terrorism; there should be some funding for Anti-Discrimination. Police now have special training; many people right here in this city and our country need training.

You see people try things, and as time goes on they become more daring. Allowing some African-American celebrities and some gay people into establishments doesn't prove that an establishment is not racist, that can be used as a cover. Many of these African-American celebrities that are allowed in have money, so just because some Whites may be seen kissing and hugging these African-American celebrities, or are thought to have sex with them, hold hands or seemingly bond together with different ethnicities, or even have flings with people of different sexual orientations, doesn't mean that they're not racist. We all have some prejudices, but when they are blatantly displayed to the level that they interfere with someone's livelihood, then they should be swatted like a fly on the wall; they should be made to pay compensatory damages to the highest degree.

Before this incident I wrote a poem entitled, “Have You Ever Been Turned Away? When I wrote this poem I was thinking of when I was growing up, but I knew when writing it that it was not just about yesterday; some things have changed, others haven't, and what I wrote about still has relevance today. When I heard about Teri Wood's book signing incident, I was reminded of my poem and how I felt; this incident made wonder how she must feel, so I've included it in this article.

Have You Ever Been Turned Away? By Milton Lee Norris

Have you ever been turned away from a door that was opened,

But once you arrived they closed it in your face?

Have you ever been turned away from a simple water fountain of which the water flowed, but once you arrived you were told you could not drink there?

Have you ever been turned away from a toilet which takes in waste,

Yet when you tried to expel your waste, you were told this was not for you?

Have you ever been turned away from a restaurant or diner that refused to serve you food, and though money wasn't a problem for it was the right color,It was your face that was the wrong color?

Have you ever been denied a job or an education to get that job?

Have you ever been denied a seat in the theatre because you were told your place was upstairs?

And all of a sudden that balcony you loved was no longer desirable.

Have you ever been denied treatment at a hospital or clinic because they didn't treat your kind, not your people, that would have been terrible enough, but they would not even call you a people, or a person or a name? Had they called you a name, it would have been one that you hated, or should I say used to hate, for far too many use that word now, and guess who uses it the most? Now you call each other that name, a name that once brought shame, disgrace and ill feelings, now it's used just as readily as one chews gum.

Have you ever been turned away?

So the next time you decide to raise your ugly head, beware of the price that you may have to pay, because it may be a price that you're unwilling to shell out, or perhaps one that you cannot afford.

I have no sympathy for those who dared to turn those away, when the door was open to others. I have not sympathy for the lies once told and those that are still being told today, especially when it stops someone from their livelihood.

I have no sympathy for those who will not respect the color of our skin, or refuse to open a door because we don't look like them.

I have no sympathy whether it's a diner, a club, or a restaurant that would deny us entrance or even to a pool, when we have paid for the use of such a space.

I have no sympathy for those who would close a door in our faces because they are ill tempered; they should find some other place of employment where they don't have to open a door for us.

I have no sympathy because this is our country and laws were made for both of us to obey.

If they did not obey the laws, they you should pay. They should pay damages for all of those laws which they have broken, and for those they have shamed and humiliated.

If these allegations are the true, I hope that they will be required to pay compensatory damages. New York City and this country don't need anymore people or groups raising their ugly heads.

Submitters Bio:
One might say that writing has become my fondest passion; it is a love that always gives, and one that I feel comfortable sharing. I write because writing has become the voice in which I can speak to many people, share experiences, stories and truths. I have written a non-fiction book called "Born In The Wrong Country," which I recently published through lulu, and can be purchased through BarnesandNoble, Amazon and others.

I have lived and worked in New York City for just almost 37 years. I write because it is a very powerful way of spreading ideas, news and touching the human spirit. Writing can make one laugh, cry, smile, or it can enrage others when it presents truths, as it begins to enlighten people. Writing is like a photograph from the author's mind put into words.