Would you like some racism with your dinner?

When you sit at a restaurant you never expect the person serving you to start talking about race… but then sometimes you have no choice in the matter.

Sitting with some people I barely know I encountered a very uneasy situation, racism at my table… check please!

The perpetrator was a person that is half Hawaiian half Cuban. Sitting with me is a family that is Mexican American and they have with them their little girls. I am Colombian, and if you have been around Hispanic people at all you would be able to tell that I am not Mexican just by the way I speak Spanish. I have a completely different accent.

While I would have been just as bothered by the situation, it made it even more uncomfortable when there was Mexican people at the table and here comes the story that I would have never believed unless I was part of it. The waiter that had to be in his early 20’s start making small talk like most people do in this situation. He asks where I am from, at this point I am not sure if he is interested on my tattoo with the Colombian flag on it or if he heard me speak Spanish with a different accent. I reply that I am Colombian and wait to see if he asks the rest of the people at the table what their nationality is. I then ask him where he is from. If I had to guess I would have originally though he was from the Philippines, but he surprised me by saying that he was half Hawaiian half Cuban.

He spoke about the places he had visited and started to just trash Cuba. Mind you, I have Cubans that are very close to my, my Great uncle’s wife and mother in law are two people that I care for a lot. He was really talking about Cuba, which he had visited, as a place where only crooks lived. I understand the economic situation in the place, but man, I have never heard a Cuban speak so badly of Cubans as a group… Fidel maybe, but generalize that way.

I was amazed by his words so far, but then he dropped a bomb that I was not expecting. He actually said “I hate Mexicans.” Almost choking on my food, I do a double take and wait to see if he is just kidding… but he is not, he started to talk about how some Mexicans that were his neighbors broke into his brothers car. What happened next was almost amusing… I felt like I was in the middle of a TV show from hell.

Presenting, the idiot that refuses to take the lifesaver. I said very politely, you cannot judge a whole group of people by what some people do. While your experiences with Mexicans might have been negative, they are not all the same. Nope, he did not take the help. He not only reiterated, but just refused to back down from his attitude of Mexican people just being thugs.

I sent the second life saver, I said, “You don’t know if the rest of the people sitting here are Mexican.” Again like if nothing had happened he started to talk about the Mexican gang the Latin Kings. I then gave him his last chance, I told him, “Hey, my brother in law is Mexican, and I have several other family members that are Mexican.” He completely ignored what I said… and I was just baffled.

I am not sure what was going through the guys mind… did he think it was ok because of the setting? a more upscale restaurant. Did he think that because we had kids at the table he was not going to instigate retaliation? I did hold back quite a bit because there was kids around. Did he just not care about what his statements meant?

This is a free country, and people are allowed to speak their minds. How would you handle it if someone starts just completely putting down your race, ethnicity or creed? Do you then say something to the owner of the establishment and have the person fired?

As the waiter left the table the other guy looks at me and tells me, “that jackass almost ruined my appetite… he just would not shut up.” I then though, maybe the guy was just having a bad day and really did not know any better. The last words I said to him were “I wish people saw beyond just races, because there are ass holes in every single race I’ve met.”

9 comments on “Would you like some racism with your dinner?

  1. You or the other family should’ve notified the manager and had the guy fired immediately. Just because something’s “free speech” doesn’t mean it’s acceptable in a business setting. Sure, I can’t be arrested for telling a client just what I think about him or his wife or his mother but it would sure mean the end of my job. And should.

    Plus if the guy is so stupid as to a) say the remarks in the first place, and b) never pick up the slightest hint that the people at the table are Mexican….he should be out of the public as soon as possible so he won’t accidentally hurt someone…

    One possibility. It’s all an elaborate April Fool’s joke. But you’d never do something like that on us………

  2. Oy! You see, this is one of those situations when one thinks “I could’ve reported him to the manager,” but then again one becomes a complete idiot and does nothing about it.

    This guy seems to be way out of line, how disrespectful! I suppose class is not improvised, you know what I mean? Some people just say whatever’s on their mind without thinking. Gotta “love” them. 😛

  3. Wow. It’s funny in the way of a nervous laugh. You don’t want to start something because if you do, it’s going to give the ammunition to use in the next installment of, “Which Race to hate this week?” No one like to be in those kinds of situations. I think you handled it with as much grace as possible.

  4. I can’t tell you what you should have done my friend. Only what I would do. I would have done several things. First I would have stopped the waiter in his story to inform him that it is not okay to trash people just because of the race, then inform him that the people with me were mexican, and then tell him how offensive his comments are and then tell the manager about what he did. That kind of person definitely should not be working in public service. That kind of behavior is not only horrendous, but also immoral and unconscionable. The poor children at the table, not to mention anyone else, should never have to be subjected to that kind of behavior. It is morally reprehensible.

  5. I have to agree with Barry. There’s a difference between free speech and then having to deal with it as a paying customer. There’s also a line between being rude and free speech — it wasn’t like he was educating you on something or saying something that just happened to strike a nerve; it was denouncing entire races and there’s absolutely no justification for that.

  6. The protocol in that type of situation would be to immediately notify the manager and to request a different waiter. You learn when you are a service worker whether it be a waiter,CSR,cashier,stylist, etc.. You learn to keep your mouth shut or earn less money.. We are all entitled to our POV. But that only goes so far when you are providing a service to someone who is PAYING you..

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