In Columbus, Ohio there was an incident with a Red Robin employee, who received a racist gift basket by secret santa for Christmas. In this gift basket Richaud received; Sun flower seeds, beer, cigarettes, cocoa butter lotion, Ramen Noodles, kool-aid, watermelon, fried chicken and laffy taffy candy. “It looked like it was a collective effort from everyone with a donation from each person. They thought it was funny. He says they’re always telling him black jokes. He’s afraid to rock the boat from fear of losing his job.  After we posted this online they started pressuring him at work to make us take it down!” – says Sabrina Thompson, Aunt of Richaud. Everyone else received their gifts for christmas except for Richey, his gift was waiting for him at work on January 6th, 2018 believed to be a part of the joke to insinuate that black people are always late. I personally spoke with Richauds mother, Richale, who is very knowledgable and more aware of how this truly affected her son. Richaud has a learning disability, and although personally he didn’t know where he stood with this situation, there was a valuable reason he informed his mother about it. Richaud is known to be a very laid back guy who comes to work to do his job and return home to his 12 year old son who has also been affected by this incident. As of now Red Robin has no response to what has taken place in their business by their employees. It is currently unknown who actually gifted Richaud this extremely offensive gift basket that showed a lot of inconsiderate thought and effort. Personally, without anyone to come forward and admit the wrongdoings of their coworker, it is ultimately a collective effort to make one feel uncomfortable and disrespected. Richaud should have the freedom to go into work without facing any adversity from anyone, less alone his coworkers. Richaud and his family are completely blown away by how far people go to be of poor service to another and wish to know who was responsible and what consequences they will face. Richale said that management of Red Robin have inquired about her phone number, received it from Richaud but have yet to contact her.

The significance of this story is deeply rooted in many of the obstacles we face today in this country. As a human being who happens to be a person of color, I can sincerely relate to this pain. The reality of all the emotions that are engulfed in this circumstance is stifling. It’s like having PTSD and hearing a gunshot. You’re immediately reminded of all the past turmoil and its like you’re right in the middle of it again. I used to joke about my PTSD (Post Traumatic Slave Disorder), only because it’s easier to swallow in that context, but it is a harsh reality. A lot of things will never be what it can be to other people because they have not been victimized or traumatized by it. To a certain extent I’m happy that people don’t understand, it’s not a good feeling to always wonder what people mean when they say or do something. It puts you in a very bad space as a human being. It is very clear what message is trying to be sent here and even still it seems hard to believe someone would do such a thing.

It’s 2018 and a decent man was stereotyped and degraded in his place of work. It’s 2018 and Libya is in active slave trade right now since 2012. It’s 2018 and Refugees in Israel are being sent back to their homes in ruin where they face rape, torture, slavery and captivity all because of the color of their skin. Today, right now, in America immigrants are being deported when they’ve worked, lived and created families here all to make room for pregnant Russians looking for American Citizenship. We currently have a President who not only supports but encourages hate between the people who make this country as great as it is supposed to be. We’re backsliding as a nation and it’s because we aren’t standing up for what is right! We have a responsibility as citizens to advocate for what is right for the people! We ARE the people! We’ve been lied to, deceived, manipulated and blindfolded. It is time that we open our eyes and stop believing/feeding more into labels, stereotypes and stigma than we do fact and physical evidence! Reality is, when we advocate for others, we advocate for ourselves.

Author- Ariana McBride