In an earnest attempt to embrace his heritage and foster a sense of community, Jim Boggess, a deli owner in Flemington, embarked on a venture that ultimately led to unexpected consequences. Boggess decided to showcase his pride in his cultural background through a sign displayed in the window of his Main Street deli. However, the handwritten message, which read, “CELEBRATE YOUR WHITE HERITAGE IN MARCH, WHITE HISTORY MONTH,” stirred significant controversy and took an unfortunate toll on his business.
The reception of the sign did not align with Boggess’ intentions. One of his customers, Bhakti Curtis, who hailed from a mixed-race background, encountered the sign and was deeply offended. Curtis promptly voiced his concerns by filing a complaint with the Flemington Police Department. He argued that the sign was not only derogatory but also seemed to mock Black History Month, pointing out that the crossed “T” in “WHITE” bore resemblance to the style used by the KKK.
While law enforcement authorities did not classify the sign as racist or derogatory, Boggess faced a multitude of other repercussions. After enduring four days of public scrutiny, he finally decided to remove the sign. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done. The deli experienced a significant decline in customers, and Boggess’ financial situation deteriorated rapidly.
A month later, despite attempting to reconcile with Curtis and even capturing a photograph of the two shaking hands, Boggess was compelled to close down his deli. Left with no alternative, he turned to the generosity of the public for support. Initiating a GoFundMe campaign titled “Jimbos white history sign gone bad,” Boggess sought assistance from individuals across the nation.
The page reads;
“If you haven’t heard of this story and you want to read about it, just google Flemington white history or go on YouTube and search White History Month. Anyway, it went crazy for four days and then I had to take the sign down for various reasons. It was only supposed to be a white thing, but people read more into it than that.
I don’t think I deserve this just because I wanted to be proud of being white and be able to celebrate my heritage like everyone else does. If you read this, please leave a comment and what state you’re from so I can see where my support is coming from.
Thank you for all the support and I WILL stay strong and hope to find a job.
Boggess received an outpouring of support in the form of letters from sympathetic individuals from various states across the country. However, despite this encouraging display of solidarity, his customer base did not recover, and he tragically lost his American dream.
The incident surrounding Boggess’ deli serves as a stark reminder of the importance of cultural sensitivity and understanding. While celebrating one’s heritage is undoubtedly significant, it is vital to approach such endeavors with empathy and inclusivity. This unfortunate episode underscores the need for constructive dialogue and respect within our diverse communities.