A Duluth, Minn. retailer marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day with an "everything black" sale.
Global Village, an irreverent retailer offering clothes, jewelry, incense, instruments and other global imports, offered "25 percent off everything black!" on Monday, meaning any merchandise with the color black in it was on sale.
Incredulous Facebook user George Ellsworth snapped and posted the evidence Monday evening, with the message, "SERIOUSLY? Anyone care to guess which downtown Duluth establishment seemed to think this was a good idea?"
Apparently, someone thought it was a good idea, as the store has reportedly held the sale without incident for the past 3 years, that is, until the African-American man's post sparked controversy and the sign was taken down, the Duluth News Tribune reported.
The store's Facebook page also offered details on the sale:
"Annual MLK Day BLACK SALE! He showed us that the struggle and lookin' super fly can go hand in hand. We salute him with 25 percent off everything black, Monday, Jan. 20. Much more our style than a Columbus Day sale, no?"
Global Village proprietor Rachel Mock offered a statement to the Duluth News Tribune apologizing to those offended, saying the sale was meant to be celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and honor him because "he was a positive black leader." Mock said Global Village will not offer this particular sale in the future.
Ellsworth, on the other hand, said the sale "trivializes the legacy" of the leader and serves to divide society into black and white.
Global Village published the following Facebook post on Tuesday morning, mentioning the page's original sale post will stay up.
"I adore this man. That was the spirit behind the MLK Day sale. To those whose feelings I've hurt, I contritely ask your forgiveness. That was most definitely not what I meant to do. I'm sorry. It seems the most offense was taken at "25% off everything black." This was not inspired, as some have suggested, by the history of blacks being sold into slavery, nor by the idea that black people are inherently of lesser value than people of other colors. It was inspired by the fact that Dr. Martin Luther King was black. Some may find it culturally insensitive to state this, but it's a fact he was proud of. I'm leaving the sale post up not to cause further insult, but so that you can take a deep breath and honestly evaluate whether it was created out of mockery or celebration. You are looking for ugliness where there isn't any. Others feel that it denigrates the value of his impact to refer to him as "super fly." MLK was a paragon of style. I admire this right alongside his eloquence, fearlessness, and leadership. I've had people of color tell me they are infuriated by this sale. I've had customers of color be stoked to get 25% off their black soap (which some of you could use getting your mouths washed out with.) So offense & admiration come down, yet again, to the eye of the beholder. I certainly can't change how you behold me. But how you behold me can't change what I meant. Period."