“Black consumers who dine out frequently are almost guaranteed to experience discrimination at some point over the course of a month,” said the unique study. Worse: servers interviewed looked down their nose at blacks as “uncivilized and hedonistic” and as a result feel that “inferior service is warranted.”
The new survey, completed by two sociologists, one from Wayne State University, the other from North Carolina State University, adds to the explosive atmosphere sparked by the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida that’s been followed by racial clashes around the nation. Notable in the survey: of the 200 servers who participated, 87 percent were white.
Key findings: When asked who tipped best, whites topped blacks, according to the servers. Also, Whites were described as better customers than blacks, who typically were called “picky,” “demanding,” and “rude.” In addition, the servers--all from unidentified large chain restaurants--said that they “sometimes” heard coworkers make racist remarks 46 percent of the time. And 54 percent said they “sometimes” saw their coworkers providing inferior service to racial minorities.
Considering their treatment, said the authors, poor tips are deserved. “If servers provide inferior service to blacks, it should not be surprising that blacks tip them less.”
The good news: considering the size of the food industry, the percentage of racism determined in the survey is low, happening in about 4.1 percent of all meals served. But it’s still distressing considering the nation has elected its first black president who has made a point of socializing and dining outside of the White House compound.