A little background for you: While I claim Pittsburgh as home, I did a bit of growing up in Charlotte, NC in a suburban neighborhood where we were the only Black family for years. Houses had ample yards, and each backyard was seemingly a small forest. At that time in my life, I was known for athletics and academics, which often times gave me a pass that even some of my white friends wouldn’t get. I lived in a world of privilege that I did not care to see or even acknowledge. Breaking into the nearby pool to swim at midnight? Cops drove me home. Smashing mailboxes? The cops laughed and sent me on my way. I was trained not to see that my treatment was different from anyone else’s experiences.
Even my foray into wine has been laden with opportunities that I now see others who look like me have not received. Small things like tasting invites, or larger things like having your restaurant asked to host awards.
Earlier in my career, I never took the time to look around to see that I was either the only, or one of two people of color, instead enjoying and embracing my O.N.I.F.C. status. Or maybe I was just too selfish to care. I was too busy focusing on being in the room to remember to hold the door for anyone behind me. But I’m here now, eyes open, willing to share my past deficiencies to show that we can all be guilty of not doing enough.
What matters now is that we’re shifting the focus to highlight the places and people that we neglected before. We must make up for lost time and failed inclusion—there is a duty for each and every one of us, myself included, to make sure we remember that we did not get here without support, and now it is time to support people who have been overlooked for far too long. Growth is seeing beyond yourself.
Eric Moorer is a sommelier, was part of the opening team at Domestique, and is our Director of Sales.