Jim's Rodeo Tavern in Fort Worth, Texas, took down this sign after people complained.— Noah Kinsey (@thenoahkinsey) April 18, 2018
James Emerson's justification for having the sign up (in honor of a white customer who frequently said it) for years:
"It was kind of a joke. It was never indicative of anything racial."
Some people can't seem to find their way into the 21st century.
Bar owner James Emerson, who saw nothing wrong with hanging a sign that read "SHUT UP N******," seems to be one those people.
The sign hung in the Fort Worth, Texas, bar called Jim's Rodeo Tavern, was supposed to be a memorial to a regular customer who died back in 2016.
Written underneath the racial slur in much smaller text, the words "RIP Teresa Kidwell, 1-5-16" appeared. Emerson explained to the Dallas Morning News that it was a kind of catch phrase for Kidwell, and she used it with everyone, including whites.
"It was kind of a joke," Emerson said. "It was never indicative of anything racial."
An obituary photo of Kidwell showed that she was white, which makes one wonder how she got she away with saying the phrase to non-whites as a "joke."
The sign had hung in the bar unadulterated for two years until Owen McGrath and Jesse Bunting, who own another bar in the area, posted pictures of the sign on social media.
While at the bar, Bunting had asked the bartender, "Hey, what's up with the sign," but she brushed it off.
"At first we didn't plan on putting it on the internet or anything," Bunting told the Morning News. "We just talked about it, and we felt the service community in the area should know this, so if they plan to go there or even apply for a job there, they would know what was posted."
Emerson seemed flabbergasted that anyone would find it offensive, and said he was told that the N-word simply means, "worthless person."
Emerson said that he would take the sign down, which he also would have done if McGrath and Bunting had complained to him directly.
Perhaps the only thing more surprising than Emerson's claim to ignorance about the true meaning and history of the word, is the fact that the sign hung for so long without anybody complaining.
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