Racist Stickers Popping Up On Businesses Around Austin

Photo: Magalie L'AbbT/Getty Images.
SXSW is still going strong, but meanwhile there’s something ugly brewing in Austin. According to KTLA TV, an unknown vandal has been posting stickers that read “exclusively for white people” at businesses around the Texas capital. Below that text, the stickers say: “maximum of 5 colored customers accepted, colored BOH [back of house] staff accepted.” They claim to be sponsored by the city of Austin.

Mayor Steve Adler condemned the stickers in an official statement on Wednesday afternoon, calling them an “appalling and offensive display of ignorance in our city.” He also said that whoever is behind them did not have authorization to use the city’s logo or claim sponsorship. City Manager Marc Ott went a step further: “This is an affront to who we are as a city and who we are as a community. This type of cowardly and hateful act will not be tolerated in this city,” he added to the release.

According to Texas State Rep. Dawnna Dukes, this isn’t the first time this type of thing has happened in fast-gentrifying Austin. “Someone put a lot of effort into creating chaos that potentially could cause racial tension, intensifying racial tension in a community that historically has been African-American...a community that's been having many discussions about the changing landscape of its economic structure, it's demographics,” she told KVUE ABC Austin.

Austin has struggled in recent years to maintain its cultural heritage and oddball charm in the face of a fast-growing population and all the markers of gentrification. Though its well-known unofficial slogan is still "Keep Austin Weird," demographic shifts and money from the city’s tech boom have made it increasingly homogenous. What really sticks out here is that despite Austin being the state's oasis of liberalism, racism is alive and well there.
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