Jul 26 2011

Restaurant Servers Want a Tip? Serve Black Customers Better

According to a recent poll by The Root on attitudes and habits regarding tipping, African Americans are much more likely than whites to tip as a “reward for good service.”

These findings were among a number of differences in tipping habits across cultural lines revealed in The Root‘s online survey.

The vast majority (89 percent) of all respondents indicated that they tipped “all the time,” with 11 percent responding “most of the time.”

But when it came to whether there were ever reasons not to leave a tip, clear differences could be found along racial lines. A large percentage (upward of 40 percent) of both blacks and whites agreed that “rude,” “incompetent” or “horrible” service was an acceptable reason not to tip.

Whites were much more forgiving of bad service. Forty-nine percent said they would “always tip” no matter how bad the food or service. Only 37 percent of blacks said that they felt the same way, while 50 percent indicated that there would be no tip for waitstaff whom they regarded as rude or inept.

Jerome Rabow, a professor of sociology who lectures on race and ethnic relations at UCLA and California State University, Northridge, says that black restaurant patrons may be justified in their greater propensity to tip only when they feel they’ve received service that warrants it. Based on his own experience waiting tables as a young man and the anecdotal evidence gleaned from his students who are waiters today, Rabow believes that before black patrons can prove otherwise, they are often perceived by waiters as poor tippers, and, in turn, often receive substandard service, such as being ignored or overlooked, receiving meals after diners who arrive later or being greeted brusquely by waitstaff.

If this data collected by The Root is accurate, the lack of tipping on the part of black patrons is part of a vicious cycle food servers can break by dismissing the stereotype and providing black patrons with excellent service. –kathleen cross

Read more at TheRoot.com

May 17 2011

Did I Tell You the One About the Mexican…

A few years ago I attended a Power of Oneness Awards ceremony where actor Edward James Olmos was honored for his work to bring about the unity of the human family. In his acceptance speech that night (to an ethnically diverse, majority Euro-American crowd) he referred to “our common African mother…”

He wasn’t joking.

Olmos acknowledged his own mother (who was in the audience) and he explained how it really hurt her the first time she heard him refer to his people as “originally African.” He is a proud Mexican man who is not “trying to be Black,”  but knows that Mexico is an amalgamation of peoples, histories and cultures whose origin, ultimately, is the same African woman who gave birth to all of humanity. 

He told the audience he believes that embracing the true history of the human race is the key to the healing and progress of the world. He went on to say that people all over the world have been influenced (by pernicious ideas of White supremacy and social and political remnants of colonialism) to detest or distance themselves from Africa, and he revealed that his own Mexican mother had been raised to deny any relationship whatsoever to the African continent. He said she has since changed her resistance to that ideal, and embraces what she now believes to be true — that for any human being to deny a kinship with Africa is to deny him/herself.

Last year, the United Nations hosted a panel to discuss the television series Battlestar Galactica and its effective and creative focus on themes humanity faces today (child soldiers, religious conflict, genocide, terrorism, etc.). The panel was moderated by Whoopi Goldberg and featured Battlestar Galactica cast members Edward James Olmos (Admiral William Adama) and Mary McDonnell (President Laura Roslin), as well as Executive Producers Ronald D. Moore (of Star Trek fame) and David Eick.

Olmos had this to say at the event:

You have to stick around for the last ten seconds of the video clip for the following to make sense:


Apr 7 2011

Louis CK: ‘Here’s How Great it Is to Be White’

One comedian’s take on White privilege.

Is this funny? Offensive? True?

I laughed. And, I think he is telling a truth many people think but would never say.

I’ll try not to write any spoilers for those who are going to watch the video (you might want to stop and watch before reading further–the video’s only about 2 minutes), but the part about going to the year 2 was hilarious. Even his comment about the future is pretty telling. Do White people share a collective fear that the tables might turn? If that is a fear, why hasn’t that happened? (I can think only of Toussaint L’Overture’s uprising in Haiti in 1791 and Nat Turner’s war on slavery in Southampton County, VA in 1831. Are there other examples of Black people organizing violence against Whites en masse?)

When South Africa’s apartheid system was abolished and a Black president was elected, though Whites were vastly outnumbered there was no violent uprising to “punish” them.

Do/should White Americans fear one day being outnumbered? If that is a real fear, how does it affect race relations today?