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It’s not a rhetorical question. I’m actually asking for advice on how to spread the word about racist businesses (scroll down for photos).

My family has been vacationing in the same small coastal town every summer for almost two decades. Port Aransas is in south Texas, a place where you might think racist attitudes are simply too entrenched to root out. But Port A is also one of the state’s most popular tourist destinations, buzzing with sunburned families during the summer months and drunken college kids during Spring Break.

Which is not to say that racism in towns off the beaten path should be excused; just that it’s particularly shocking to see it thriving, unapologetically, in a place that is hardly a backwater.

Winton's Candies
601 Alister Street, Port Aransas, TX 78373
It’s always been there, prominent on the town’s main drag, but for some reason, until last week, we had never entered the large, brightly painted store on the town’s main drag known as Winton’s Candies.

No doubt the owner would brush off any criticism of the hundreds of photos and kitschy items lining the walls above the candy bins.

colored only
No doubt he would claim they were either harmless jokes or colorful bits of history.

But, judging from the reaction of three African-American women who happened to be shopping there while my family was documenting these images, I can attest that there’s nothing harmless about them. The women had already scooped out their candy selections before noticing the images, so they completed their purchases as a point of pride – but, as they did so, they were literally shaking with disgust, telling the young woman at the counter that they were incredibly upset by what they saw. (The counter girl shrugged meekly, saying she wasn’t the owner.)

So please don’t tell me that my own (white) reaction is clouded by pointy-headed liberalism – that my own disgust is hyperbolic or manufactured by political correctness. My family witnessed first-hand how these “harmless” racialized jokes are capable of virtually assaulting people who are constantly being told that the color of their skin no longer matters in the 21st century.

slave auction
lil black babies beatin' de heat
"beatin' de heat"
coon hunt
anti-Obama stickers
The Supreme Court acts as though racist attitudes no longer impact society.

Libertarians like John Stossel claim today's free market effectively punishes racism.

But, judging from Winton’s Candies’ Yelp or TripAdvisor reviews, there are plenty of customers still happy to put up with some “slightly eye-roll worthy” racism in exchange for “outstanding” fudge.

Apparently, for many, visiting Winton’s is a “must-stop family tradition.”

o-tay
The dark age of Obama
Honey dat's all!
Assuming there are countless other establishments across the south akin to Winton’s Candies, I’m seeking advice about how to shame them (and, frankly, their customers) into joining the 21st century.

Rand Paul maintains that pockets of racism are an acceptable price to pay for Freedom, so he's no help. Better to put Stossel’s premise to the test.

But what’s the best way to threaten the profits of businesses like Winton’s Candies?

no liquor for indians
gay accent
Who you callin coloured?
Obama head and ass are interchangeable
My plan, so far, is to write the town’s chamber of commerce. I also intend to write to the town’s (weekly) newspaper, and to the nearby (daily) Corpus Christi Caller.

Internet searches reveal a few local tourism articles over the years that include Winton’s Candies (e.g. here, here, or here), but there's no mention of the racist memorabilia.

Why has no reporter interviewed the owner about his sense of humor?

I is your president
firearms refresher course
right to refuse service
My hope is that, next summer, upon returning to Port A, my family will find that Winton’s Candies will have finally decided it was time to redecorate.

But I’m guessing this sort of result only comes after a lot of people write complaints, post reviews, and generally convince the local residents that such displays of ignorance are no longer acceptable and will not be overlooked.

Judging from the sneers my family received from employees while photographing the walls of Winton’s Candies, isolated criticisms from pointy-headed liberals are too easily laughed off.

So does anyone here care to share some tried-and-true strategies for dealing with small-town ignorance and bigotry?

visitors bring happiness

Originally posted to Petey2 on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 06:26 PM PDT.

Also republished by Black Kos community, Barriers and Bridges, TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans, and Houston Area Kossacks.

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