In reference to statements luxury hotel owner Mr. John McKibbon is making about property damage downtown during recent police brutality protests: The damage to his hotel was really minor compared to many other places in the country [see Hotelier Says Officials Didn’t Stop “Vandals” in the June 4 Citizen Times].
I say this to McKibbon: I would like to see a list of everything you have done for the community in Asheville, especially the poor and African American ones. How many nonwhites work for you, especially in visible areas other than janitorial and room-cleaner jobs?
I have repeatedly said that many of those who make big bucks in downtown Asheville discriminate in hiring at hotels, bars and restaurants. I believe that if you saw more nonwhites working in the high-end tourist business, especially downtown and in West Asheville, this would not have happened.
Please read the letters I have had published in Mountain Xpress about inequality in hiring in Asheville, and you will see I have been talking about this for many years and never saw much change from when I grew up in West Asheville.
— John Penley
Editor’s note: Penley’s March letter on the topic, “Shame on Asheville for Its Systemic Racism” can be found on the Xpress website at avl.mx/79r and his 2017 letter “Asheville Has Long History of Institutional Racism” can be found at avl.mx/79s.