Travel guide publisher apologizes for ‘racist’ Miami passage

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The publisher of a series of travel guides has apologized after its Miami guide was found to include a “racist” description of the Coconut Grove neighborhood.

As the Miami Herald reports, the offensive section was discovered by Eden Sherman, an employee at Books & Books, an independent bookstore in nearby Coral Gables. As a resident of Coconut Grove, Sherman was curious to see what the DK Eyewitness Travel Top 10 Miami and the Keys guide, which the bookstore stocked, had to say about the place she calls home.

What she found was a section featuring “blatantly racist, disgusting wording” to describe Coconut Grove and its West Grove area — referenced in the guide by its outdated and racially insensitive “Black Grove” nickname — which the guide called “blighted” and “plagued” by crime. 

“Coconut Grove is a more variegated mosaic,” the DK guide’s Coconut Grove passage reads. “Historically the focus of Miami’s intellectual, bohemian community it also incorporates the blighted ‘Black Grove,’ an area plagued by high crime rates, drugs and deprivation, where many of the descendants of Bahamian workers have settled.”

Founded by Bahamian settlers in the 1880s, the West Grove area was once dubbed “Black Grove” due to its formerly all-black population, a result of forced legal segregation. It’s since become increasingly gentrified, ushering in a more ethnically diverse population and new retail and housing developments. 

Telling the Miami Herald she was “absolutely appalled” by what she read, Sherman raised the alarm with her employer. Agreeing that the Coconut Grove description was problematic, Books & Books owner Mitchell Kaplan decided to stop carrying the book until the offensive passage is removed and the section is updated. 

DK intends to do just that, according to an apology the publishing company has issued.

“DK would like to sincerely apologize for the Coconut Grove references made in the DK Eyewitness Top 10 Miami and the Keys,” a spokeswoman for the company told Yahoo Lifestyle. “Please be reassured that we take this matter extremely seriously and have taken immediate action by discontinuing the guide’s publication and recalling it from sale. We will publish a new guide with the updated information.”

The book, however, remains for sale on Amazon.com and at other retailers.

Yahoo Lifestyle has contacted Sherman and Kaplan for further comment.

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