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>Racism Still Seen in Restaurants


Julianne Hing

Racism’s Stinking Up New York City’s Restaurants [VIDEO]

Take a moment and think back to the last time you were at a sit-down restaurant. Who seated you? Who took your order, brought out your food? And who cleared the table and refilled your water? Do these roles tend to break down along certain race and gender lines in the restaurants you eat at?

Ever wonder why a lot of restaurant work positions are split along clearly racialized and gendered lines? Or have a hunch but no numbers to back up your suspicions? The Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York (ROC-NY) released a study this week about race and gender discrimination in restaurant hiring practices.

Rinku blogged about the findings over at HuffPo:

Although there were some terrible stories of blatant racism and sexism (we’re only looking for Italian looking men today), the lead investigator Mark Bendick pointed out that most of the behavior was heavily coded and not obviously intentional. These days, people know that blatant discrimination is illegal and they take pains not to go there. But our unconscious biases persist and become deeply embedded in restaurant culture in the notion that diners want pretty servers, and pretty means white, or that diners find French accents more charming than Mexican ones.

As much as I can accept that restaurants want to control the image they’re selling with their food, decor and wait staff, I don’t buy that as an excuse to discriminate against people of color and women. AND I take particular issue with the idea that attractive equals white, and that back of the house workers are expected to be people of color. Is this really what consumers want?

Continue reading “Racism’s Stinking Up New York City’s Restaurants [VIDEO]”

Posted at 5:45 PM, Apr 02, 2009 in Permalink | Comment first

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Guest Columnist

Oakland’s Young People Respond [VIDEO]

by Nick James, Charles McDonald

This past November Oakland voters approved a measure that would increase funding to after school programs and services, overwhelmingly supporting youth of color. Unfortunately, after the election some members of the council passed a resolution to repeal the mandate of the electorate, claiming the tough economic times would be forcing the city to scale back and make sacrifices to much needed successful programming and services directed towards Oakland youth.

The interviews above were shot an Oakland City Council meeting on Measure OO. These are the stories of people living, working, and attending school in Oakland. Theses are their thoughts regarding recent tragedy that rocked a community, and their hopes and vision for the future. They are not naive to the deep rooted issues that Oaklander’s face everyday, but through their commitment to the principles of justice, equity, and democracy they learn how to heal, build, and sustain community for tomorrow’s leaders. They also demand our city officials have the will to go to any measures to ensure adequate economic investment in the development of Oakland families, children, and youth.

Nick James is Director of Special Projects for the East Bay nonprofit Youth Together. He was born, raised, and currently living in Oakland.

Charles McDonald is the Statewide Alliance Organizer for the Education and Racial Justice nonprofit, Californians for Justice. He lives in Oakland, California.

Posted at 10:58 AM, Apr 02, 2009 in Criminal Justice | education | Permalink | Comment first