During next year's Memorial Day weekend, Miami Beach will return to segregation days, when black people weren't allowed to stay in the city's hotels and had to leave by sundown. As Miami New Times staff writer Jessica Weiss first reported in May, the city plans for 2017 an air and sea show honoring military servicemen.
That could effectively leave no hotel rooms or other spaces for the estimated 200,000 mostly African-Americans who visit the city each year.
Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco, who proposed the idea, at first said it was a way for Beach residents to "take back" the weekend. Later he claimed to a local TV station that race played no role in the air-show idea. "I didn't realize that watching planes and looking at military ships was some sort of race-specific thing," he said.
He also asserted the city will invite the Tuskegee Airmen, the black fighter pilots who fought in World War II.
Grieco took a page from Donald Trump's playbook by disguising his racism with patriotism. After all, it's hard to argue against celebrating America and the servicemen who have given their lives protecting our freedom.
But it was and remains a calculated move to drive black tourists out of Miami Beach.
Despite the fact that many of these guests are well-to-do, Miami Beach has never spent a dime to develop programming and events. Instead, the Beach has turned into a police state, with checkpoints and restricted traffic.
The air show guarantees that the city's hotels will block off guest rooms for air-show attendees and participants, making it harder for anyone to find accommodation. And I'm pretty sure black people represent a small fraction of air-show demographic.
I'm surprised Beach Mayor Philip Levine is going along with this garbage. He has aspirations of running for governor or U.S. Senate. Levine risks alienating African-American voters in Florida. He'll be known as the mayor who got rid of Urban Beach Week, told black people to stay home, and was responsible for another African-American boycott of Miami Beach.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.
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