I try to stay out of politically correct debates, but this one really rubbed me the wrong way. A group of people that are not from the South have completely misunderstood a southern tradition.
In what is one of the most baffling stories I have read in a while, a handful of poker players slammed a Borgata restaurant for honoring Dr. Martin Luther King on his holiday by serving one of his favorite meals as a special. The person that originally tweeted the menu even used the hashtag #isitracist.
Anyone that grew up in the South like me (I’m born and raised just outside of Atlanta) just cringed at this for multiple reasons.
First, it is customary to honor a person in the South with a favorite meal. It can be on a birthday or to celebrate another life event.
Food is a tradition in the South, and Southerners don’t eat salads and gluten-free crap. Southerners with deep roots eat comfort food. It is regional and not specific to any race, contrary to what some of these noise makers seem to think.
Maybe there is some sort of misconception about comfort food in other parts of the country, but it certainly isn’t that way where Dr. King was raised and is now honored with a memorial.
I grew up eating exactly what was put on MLK’s birthday menu at Borgata. It was a staple in our southern household. Southern diners serve exactly that type of meal, whether it is in an urban, suburban, or rural area, regardless of the demographics of its clientèle.
Honoring Dr. King with his favorite meal, the one served by Borgata on Monday, is also a tradition in the South. Some restaurants outside of the comfort food niche would also advertise it as their daily special on January 15th, his actual birthday, to honor him. The observed holiday later became the third Monday in January.
For whatever reason, some poker players feel that Borgata has done something wrong by participating in this longstanding tradition. If there was any doubt, a simple Google search would have proven the meal served is associated with Dr. King and his holiday.
The politically correct police got this one wrong. It appears that these people have a stereotype about comfort food and are ignorant of the culture in the South. They should be embarrassed of their actions for shaming an establishment that brought a tradition of the South into Atlantic City, one that honored a man so great that he deserves his own holiday.
This post was simply meant to educate. I’m not trying to call anyone out. That is why I did not use any names of the people involved in this. I feel that the people that are offended by how a Borgata restaurant honored Dr. King have stereotypes about the South that are false, which led them to draw an improper conclusion.
There are certainly many issues in the South, but none of them have to do with its food and traditions of honor that surround it.