About 10 Philadelphia-based Black-owned businesses have been targeted with racist, threatening e-mails.
The e-mails were sent this week to Black female-owned businesses throughout the city, including Harriett’s Bookshop, Marsh + Mane, The Sable Collective and Stripp’d Juice.
The sender used racial slurs, and threatened to sexually assault employees and burn down the businesses. The e-mail also said the “better Latino master race” will take over their businesses, homes and land.
Marsh + Mane beauty supply store owner Jenea Robinson doesn’t think the message came from a member of the Latino community.
“That pisses me off the most. I feel like someone is posing as a member of a particular community,” she said.
“It’s like a way to try to further divide and conquer.”
Robinson said attacks on Black-owned businesses are not a new phenomenon, especially at a time when many people are trolling on the Internet.
“We know that there are a lot of hateful people out there in this world,” she said. “I don’t think that we should even be shocked or surprised that this happened.”
Steven Scott Bradley, chairman of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, said about four of the affected businesses are members of the organization. He is working with State Rep. Jordan Harris (D-Philadelphia), who reported the matter to authorities.
“We just want to make sure that we stay on top of this,” Bradley said. “We just want advocate for our membership to make sure somebody is monitoring this kind of behavior. Hopefully, it’s just an isolated incident. We don’t want our members to be intimidated.”
Harriett’s Bookshop, which is based in Fishtown, shared the e-mail in a post on social media.
“We are clear that no weapon formed against us shall prosper,” the post read.
“However it needs to be clear, that being a Black owned, women owned business is far more complicated and at times dangerous than people understand.”
The emails have been reported to the Philadelphia Police Department, however a spokesperson could not be reached by the Tribune’s deadline.
The businesses were not the first Black-owned businesses in the city to be targeted.
Uncle Bobbie’s, a Black-owned bookshop and café in Germantown, has been vandalized several times in the last few weeks.
During the latest incident, the shop was broken into on Aug. 27. A windowpane was shattered and the cash register was taken.
Uncle Bobbie’s was burglarized during the early morning hours of July 26 and three days later the business was vandalized and a window was broken.