Local and state NAACP chapters in North Carolina are beyond outraged over a Christmas activities calendar depicting a racist “Mammy” caricature that was passed out at a predominantly White assisted living facility. The calendar, featuring the stereotypical illustration of a pink-lipped, bulging-eyed and handkerchief-wrapped “Mammy” dressed like Butterfly McQueen’s character from Gone With the Wind, was reportedly passed out to residents at the Bradley Creek Assisted Living facility at Carolina Bay last week, The Wilmington Journal reported.
This [calendar] is demeaning,” Deborah Dicks Maxwell, President of the New Hanover County NAACP, told The Journal Wednesday. “It is appalling that in 2017 this is still occurring.”
The calendars show “Mammy,” a subjugating and false portrayal of Black women being happy slaves and servants, saying “Merry Christmas,” the report says. Bradley Creek has stopped the circulation of the calendars. However, the NAACP chapters are calling for more immediate action after the calendars offended at least two Black staffers at Bradley. The staffers complained to management, prompting them to collect the papers. One staffer also took a picture of a calendar and sent it to The Reverend Kojo Nantambu, of the North Carolina NAACP, who brought it to The Journal’s attention.
“I was like, ‘Why would somebody do this?,’” Marvila Jackson, a Wilmington staffer, recounted to The Journal after she confronted Bradley’s activity director about the calendars. “And she [activity director] was like, ‘You know my heart,’ and she kept saying that she didn’t mean [any] harm by it.’ Well how did you think people were going to take it?” Jackson was suspended after talking with staff about the calendars, a move that she believed was a result of her speaking up. Bradley said the suspension was a result of a “resident complaint,” Jackson said.
A statement of apology was issued by Jeff Wilson, the COO of Liberty Health Care Management, part of the corporate ownership of Bradley Creek at Carolina Bay. But the NAACP said the apology is not enough, especially considering the insidious hate, referenced by The Huffington Post, that motivated the creation of the “Mammy.”
“This [calendar] display is offensive to the highest degree and must be condemned,” demanded attorney and NCCU law professor, Irving Joyner, Chair of the NCNAACP Legal Redress Committee. “If this [calendar] represents the thinking or mindset of the assisted living facility, the State should close it down, and/or the employees who were responsible for this offensive display should be fired. In this instance, an empty apology is meaningless without some significant punishment being directed to the governing officials of this corporate entity.”