In less than a month, Naperville has been in the national spotlight for two separate racists acts. The first at Buffalo Wild Wings, where a multiracial party of 18 said they were asked by staff to move tables, as a regular who was racist did not want to sit by black people.
The other, more recently, occurred at Naperville Central High School where an advertisement of a black student read “Slave for sale (NAPERVILLE).”
Difficult But Meaningful Discussions
Those events have sparked conversations at organized community events and outside of them. Kim White and Rebecca Malotke-Meslin, were both disappointed in the racist occurrences, but believe conversations around racism need to happen at an early age.
“I think a lot of parents are nervous to have those conversations, especially white parents. We feel like it’s not our domain. We don’t know how to quite have those conversations with our kids. I’ve noticed a lot more literature, a lot more opportunities to talk to kids about it, so they understand what the climate is currently and they understand their place,” said Malotke-Meslin, a resident of Naperville.
Other Steps That Need to Be Taken
White said community members need to speak out against acts of racism. If not, the problem won’t go away.
“If people choose to remain silent and have their head in the sand and say ‘this isn’t an issue, these are isolated incidents,’ we are not going to see the city move forward because the truth of the matter is going to happen again,” said White, a resident of Naperville. “I remember just after Buffalo Wild Wings I said to someone, ‘we’re going to see this continue.’ Here we are three weeks later. It’s a problem.”
Both Naperville residents encouraged community members to listen, take action, and make each other feel that they belong and welcomed.
Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.
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