Fake Racism Charge Hurts Reputation

7/31/19
 
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by David Gibson,

from USAToday,
6/21/19:

Gibson’s Bakery has always been a source of pride for my father and my family. We weren’t going to allow our reputations to be tarnished by lies.

On Nov. 9, 2016, a student attempted to shoplift two bottles of wine from our store. Unfortunately, theft is all too common at Gibson’s Bakery. Like many small businesses in Oberlin, our employees have caught plenty of shoplifters over the years — many of them students.

Police arrested the student. But the next day, hundreds of people gathered in protest. From bullhorns they called for a boycott. The sidewalk and park across the street from our store were filled with protesters holding signs labeling us racists and white supremacists. The arrest, they said, was the result of racial profiling. The narrative was set and there was no combating it.

Despite the lack of any evidence, our family was accused of a long history of racism and discrimination. Oberlin College officials ordered the suspension of the more than 100-year business relationship with our bakery, and our customers dwindled. We were officially on trial — not in a courtroom, but in the court of public opinion. And we were losing.

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