Too close to home

To the Editor:

I am writing with serious concern over incidents of discrimination against a guest of our family in August.

My daughter traveled to Mount Desert Island with her two young children and their nanny, who has become a friend. Corrine, an American citizen, was born in Trinidad, moved to the United States as a young child and graduated from Howard University.

One evening, she decided to go out for dinner at a restaurant in Northeast Harbor. She called ahead and made a reservation. When she arrived, Corrine was told that there was no table for her, and that a reservation was required.

Corrine explained that she had made a reservation. Without checking the book, the host said her name was not listed. Corrine told the host that she had not checked the book, nor even asked her name before refusing to seat her. The woman continued to claim that she did not have a reservation, and that she could not sit down at a table.

At this point, another staff member intervened, stating this was ridiculous and showed Corrine to her table.

Another incident occurred at a retail shop where Corrine was examining a handbag she admired. Immediately, a store clerk came to her and said “You can’t afford that” and grabbed the bag out of her hands. Corrine turned and walked out of the store.

With virulent xenophobic bigotry marking the Trump campaign nationally, and also encouraged by Gov. Paul LePage in Maine, expressions of prejudice are given broader and broader permission. The experience of a woman of color on MDI this summer bears reflection, so that we can all look at ourselves and learn how to treat people better.

Northeast Harbor, as many towns in Hancock County, strives to develop its local economy. There is no place for discrimination in community economic development.

I write this with positive change in mind.

Steve Milliken

Mount Desert

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