Honda Dealer Apologizes for using Racist Stereotype to Identify Black Customer.

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

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ABC6 reports that the North Carolina auto dealer Lumberton Honda posted a picture of one of their customers addressing them using a "racial slur"

Trinity Bethune, a woman of color, had recently bought a Toyota Camry at the dealership. The dealer later that week posted a picture of the happy customer, a rather standard marketing practice, however, rather than address Ms, Bethune by her real name the post read “Congratulations to Bon Quisha on her 2016 Toyota Camry.” Bon Quisha is assumed to be a racial stereotyping of African American names.

Bethune's older brother, Tyrone Jacob, commented about the incident on Facebook:

"This is not how I planned to congratulate my little sister on her first car purchase. This is completely intentional, disgusting, unfair, and many other adjectives I could use to describe this situation. Rather than responding like a “Bon Quisha,” I’m responding like a Karen. This was not a mistake. With the exception of the letter “N,” her name is spelled using the first row of the keyboard."

"Typing Bon Quisha requires effort and intent. I’m outraged that she was publicly humiliated without a public/private apology. I’m waiting to hear back from a couple of my colleagues in the legal space, but please tell me if this is something my family should explore. She’s not well at the moment. If you know her, please send love her way."

- Tyrone Jacob Facebook

Anyone who has spent time in the auto industry (or just has trouble remembering names) may not be surprised to find out that many salespeople write short descriptions or nicknames in their customer management systems. This can sometimes be crucial depending on the dealer, for example, you might have trouble remembering the difference between John Brown and John Green, so you may write a note such as "mustache" or "green truck".

Likely this incident was a result of a careless salesperson using a racist name in a note they thought no one would see. Followed by a, likely underpaid, social media manager later transferring the name to the company Facebook without question.

Lumberton Honda received backlash on social media, including calls for customers to return their vehicles. ABC6 later reported that an unnamed employee was disciplined and fired as a result of the incident.

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