....and yet they wonder why POC emigrate

(Thanks, Womanist Musings!)

So my last post was about how POC across the Western world are packing their backs and returning to their countries of origin, and the resulting indignation of Americans. Then Womanist Musings posted something which seemed harmonize perfectly with that post.

First, the original article:
"Many people believe that race is no longer a significant issue in the United States," says Sarah Rusche, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the study. "But the fact that a third of servers admit to varying their quality of service based on customers' race, often giving African-Americans inferior service, shows that race continues to be an issue in our society."

Researchers wanted to determine the extent to which customers' race affects the way they are treated at restaurants, so the researchers surveyed 200 servers at 18 full-service chain restaurants in central North Carolina. The majority of the servers surveyed – approximately 86 percent – were white.

Survey results showed that 38.5 percent of servers reported that customers' race informed their level of service at least some of the time, often resulting in providing inferior service to African-American customers. Findings show that many servers perceive African-American customers to be impolite and/or poor tippers, suggesting that black patrons, in particular, are likely targets of servers' self-professed discriminatory actions.

The survey also found that 52.8 percent of servers reported seeing other servers discriminate against African-American customers by giving them poor service at least some of the time. Findings also show that restaurant servers share anti-black perceptions through racist workplace discourse, indicating a considerable amount of talk about the race of their patrons.* Only 10.5 percent reported never engaging in or observing racialized discourse.

"'Tableside racism' is yet another example in which African-Americans are stereotyped and subsequently treated poorly in everyday situations," says Rusche. "Race continues to be a significant barrier to equal treatment in restaurants and other areas of social life."

More information: The paper, "Quantitative Evidence of the Continuing Significance of Race: Tableside Racism in Full-Service Restaurants," was co-authored by Dr. Zachary Brewster of Wayne State University and is published online in the Journal of Black Studies.
The comments, by the way, are seriously toxic. Once again, Americans are annoyed that people - American sociologists no less - are pointing out racism against POC, instead of focusing on the actual problem of racism. *blink* And in other news, it's Wednesday....

Renee at Womanist Musings comments:
What these waiters don't realize is that bad service will lead to no tip or a small tip, thus creating the perception that Blacks in particular are cheap or bad customers. Having worked in the service industry at one time, I know that every group is capable of being proper ignorant, but one thing is certain, if you treat your customers like crap, you can expect not to receive a tip. A tip is a gratuity and should be earned and not expected, since it is considered part of the servers wage.

Most of you are familiar with driving while Black, so I suppose this could be called eating while Black. In the past few years there have been report after report, of service people using derogatory terms to describe their people of colour customers. Even ordering something simple like a coffee, which technically requires little from the server and a small interaction between the staff and the public can be fraught with racism as the "chink eyes" incident at starbucks illustrates. It really is not a case of the chicken or the egg; the problem absolutely originates with racist views of people of colour.

...What frustrates me about this is that these restaurants are more than happy to take our money, but treating us like human beings apparently is not on the menu. This survey does not reveal anything new to people of colour, and in fact only serves as confirmation of the daily slights we are forced to deal with thanks to White supremacy. Not for one moment are we allowed to be anything but the eternal "other". People of colour are constantly accused of being to sensitive, and there is no acceptance of the fact that racism is an ongoing daily event in our lives. This kind of shit is exactly why we are angry, and why we are entitled to our rage. If you are White the one thing you can guarantee, is that your race will never say anything negative about you; whereas my Blackness speaks for me before I can even utter a word.
...And yet they wonder why POC by the thousands are packing their bags.

As Renee points out, this isn't news to POC; we've been dealing with it for hundreds of years. The more things change, the more they stay the same, and in many respects, America is the same as ever.  When you bring up history, many white Americans in particular argue that back then people were different, times were different, and folks didn't know any better.  Okay.  For (a very weak) argument's sake, let's say white folks back then didn't know better.  It is, after all, the preferred excuse.  That was then.  This is now.

What's the excuse now?

*An ex-friend who often got "comfortable" with me was a waiter and he once went on a tanget - while laughing - about the "trashy black people" who frequented the restaurant where he worked.  Well...I'm Moi.  I was a mental health clinician at the time, and in an equally gleeful tone, I trotted out my laundry list of my predominantly white clients' issues, ranging from drug problems to disability & food stamp fraud to incest.

He gave a half-hearted chuckle and never talked to me about "trashy black people" ever again.


  1. An ex-friend who often got "comfortable" with me was a waiter and he once went on a tanget - "while laughing - about the "trashy black people" who frequented the restaurant where he worked. Well...I'm Moi. I was a mental health clinician at the time, and in an equally gleeful tone, I trotted out my laundry list of my predominantly white clients' issues, ranging from drug problems to disability & food stamp fraud to incest."

    THANK YOU! A friend of mine has an aunt that is a social worker. She most of the people getting welfare/housing vouchers/ etc. are white folks. Black people are mostly there for job training and health insurance. They also offer workshops for starting your own business and those workshops are dominated by POC, especially women. I don't blame people for packing their shit and getting the hell out of Amerikkka. When people talk about coming here, I'm always like: Why in the hell do you want to do that?

    White love being all up in our business. They need to worry about their own backyards. I may catch a lot of heat for this, but I don't have many white folks in my social circle. I don't have the patience to deal with the bullshit they serve up all day long.

  2. Alex Raventhorne4/25/12, 3:45 PM

    This makes me smile. It's like they think POC are a stupid breed of dog that will love you whilst you kick it, starve it, and insult it. One of my policies in life is "Stay where you are celebrated, reconsider where you are tolerated, and flee where you are persecuted". If such blatant racism exists in people paid to wait on customers, what level of racism must exist elsewhere?

    And the stereotyping always pisses me off - the most problems I've had with racists have been when I didn't fit in their stereotype of a black woman in the UK. According to those losers I was not allowed to be intelligent, physically attractive, financially self-sufficient, ambitious or have a mind of my own. I thank God for leading me safely away from them all and giving me my current job where I have not identified any racism / sexism against me.

  3. To quote Paul Mooney, when it comes to racism, nothing has changed but the weather.

  4. For me it's as simple as this: if you can't see something so simple as the connection between shitty service and a shitty tip, then that's probably why you're waiting tables in the first place.

    Someone probably tried to interview you for a better-paying job, but after a few minutes of Q & A with you they thought, "Aw, hell naw."

  5. http://glpiggy.net/2011/07/18/eye-for-a-stink-eye/

    Interestingly enough, he can't understand why black visitors to his site are perennially angry...

    1. Yay! Brotha Wolf & I are famous!!!!!


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