Letter: Keep your spit to yourself

The Detroit News

On July 17, Robert Stanzler of Ferndale, in an act of rage and total disrespect, spit in the face of security guard Ibrahim Mission. This most despicable act is tantamount to reaching down to the lowest level in the degradation of one person to another.

It indicates a total disrespect and dehumanization for one’s own humanity. After his arraignment, Mr. Stanzler received a $5,000 conditional bond and is due back in court for a pre-trial hearing on Aug. 2.

Anthony writes: "On July 17th , Robert Stanzler of Ferndale Michigan, in an act of rage and total disrespect, spit in the face of security guard Ibrahim Mission."

Coming up as a child, spitting on any person was one of the worst offenses one could be engaged in, according to my grandmother. We were severely punished and rebuked in our home for committing such an offense. I have never forgotten how upset she was when one of the cousins was found guilty of committing this level of offense.

The Detroit Branch NAACP condemns this act of humiliation, and possible even racial discrimination. Mission is a responsible young man, doing a significant job in the area of security for many community organizations. He was on his job when this incident occurred. He has worked on many programs for security including the annual NAACP Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner. The event in which he was attacked unfortunately was an occasion where visitors from around the world were in Detroit to attend the “Good Pitch” social justice gathering.

It was a major media event. Regardless of the event, spitting in someone’s face is unacceptable for any occasion. Having just returned from the National Convention of the NAACP in San Antonio, Texas, one of the most important takeaways was the mandate to appreciate diversity. We must, as a society, appreciate the different cultures and different people. It is appropriate that Mr. Stanzler apologize. It is appropriate that the owners of the Eastern Market -- Scott Rutterbush, Rakash Lala, and David Brown --  issued a statement regarding their “disappointment and the unfortunate insulting behavior of Mr. Stanzler.”

This demonstrates clearly the need for diversity training, racial sensitivity, and appreciation for different cultural values. It is good to have an apology. However, an apology without a plan of correction is inadequate. Diversity training should occur, and justice should be served. A zero-tolerance policy for such activity should be made mandatory for business owners and their employees. As a co-founder of the clothing brand "Made In Detroit," Mr. Stanzler must know that spitting on another individual is certainly NOT MADE IN DETROIT. Quite the contrary, it must be ended in Detroit.

The Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, president, Detroit Branch NAACP