A Black woman in Detroit named Christine Turner was fired after two white employees were offended by her using the term “light-skinned.” WDIV 4 News in Detroit reported that Turner was fired from Green Dot Stables, a Detroit restaurant, on May 21 after a Becky and a Karen complained to management.
About 30 people met at the restaurant on May 25 to protest with Turner for her wrongful termination. Turner, a server at the restaurant, was joking with another Black employee about them both being light-skinned when a white employee overheard them and interjected by referring to herself as light-skinned. Turner explained that the term “light-skinned” refers to Black people who are light-skinned, not to white people. The employee began to argue with Turner about who could use the term.
“I just laughed it off and didn’t think anything else because I, myself, am light-skinned,” she said.
Turner was fired a few days later for discrimination after her manager called her into the office and said that two white employees had complained that they were discriminated against by Turner. The manager asked her if she could see why a white person would be offended by the term “light-skinned.”
“He said, ‘Can’t you see how a white person would be offended?’ and I looked at him dead in his face and said, ‘No,’ ” said Turner.
“How you gonna tell me two white women were offended?” she later said.
Turner, 34, organized the protest at Green Dot Stables with the By Any Means Necessary and Detroit Solidarity Movement. Turner aptly said that what Green Dot Stables did to her was the perfect example of white supremacy.
“To take a policy that was put in place to protect minorities and people of color and use it against a person of color because a white person was offended is a ************ perfect example of white supremacy,” she said. “I’m just really confused as to why they terminated me instead of just talking to me,” she added.
Her boss at the Michigan & Trumbull Pizza in Detroit posted a Facebook statement from Christine on May 24. “Christine Turner posted the post below,” it said.
“This is Christine and I need your help. I can’t stop crying. I was fired from my job at Green Dot Stables on Wednesday for “discrimination”. I AM BLACK. My co-workers who complained are white.
During my shift as a server on Friday I asked the fry cook for a truffle fry or something she started talking mess, playing around, like she always does. In response I say, “Here you go, y’all light skinned mfers always extra.” We both started laughing.
I told the girl in the expo window it’s like an ongoing joke in the black community about how “light skinned” people (like myself) are often times criticized within our community for being uppity / extra and how I joke about it because I myself am light skinned. A white employee chimes in and said, “Wait, I’m light skinned, don’t be talking about us,” to some effect or another, in a joking way (so I thought).
I asked was she Latino or something? She said no, just white, and I said then she isn’t considered light skinned. I worked again on Thursday, nothing was said.”
I went in Friday and was pulled in the office and told I was being let go for discrimination. Not because the other “light skinned” woman to whom I was joking with felt that I had discriminated against her, but because “two white people/coworkers” felt discriminated against and “can’t I see how a white person would be offended by that statement?”
To which I replied no, because it is a term used within the black community describing someone’s shade of brown. To add insult to injury I was thanked for “being an adult” about the situation and later found out that they assumed that I was going to “act out/ a fool” from one of the cooks who was also questioned about the situation. He is a black man and took no offense either.
I’m just confused how a white person can say that they were discriminated against or offended by a person of color making a joke about misconceptions within their community with a fellow person of color?
At this point I am not even sure I would want my job back, but I want management and staff at Green Dot to understand: you being so unfamiliar with black culture that you take offense and read “reverse discrimination” into it, IS RACIST.”
Green Dot Stables had no comment other than the pitiful statement they released regarding Turner’s dismissal.
“We value our employees and their privacy. Our policy is not to share information about our personnel.”
However, now that the media has contacted Green Dot Stables, the restaurant has asked Turner to meet with them. She declined until she’s allowed to have a lawyer present. Turner doesn’t want her job back, but she does want an apology from her former employer.