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Black on Black Racism in the South

Updated on May 9, 2012

Racism in the South –Black on Black- An Unexplained Phenomenon (Restaurant Service)

Let me just say some things are coincidence however, not all situations are coincidental. Let me share a few disturbing experiences I find unsettling. Keep in mind, I'm not the only one who has experienced this behavior.

Scenario One:

Let me just say, this is more than a one time occurrence but a frequent occuring scenario. Seated in a non crowded bar and being ignored by an African American server for an average of 10 minutes while I am clearly in plain view. African American bartenders/servers choosing to clean up, restock, and do everything else except greet me as a customer. A Caucasian person will walk up to the same bar and as soon as his behind hits the seat (literally): “Welcome to XXX? What would you like to drink?” So I look at this person who is African American who never “saw” me but yet this Caucasian patron who literally sat immediately to my left and the other person gets instant service. Not only did this server immediately patronize this customer while ignoring me but he immediately provided him with a table set up while smiling. So I attempt to wrap my head around this concept. I’m ignored provided with no service but the server turns into the best server in the world for someone else. I walk out and leave, refusing to have a minority treat me horribly and submitted a complaint.

Scenario Two:

I hate to be color coded when I am seated in a restaurant. Not all African American people want to be serviced by African Americans. Not cool. I’m not interested in the color of my server, all I want is good service and last time I checked anyone is capable of serving my needs at the restaurant as English is my primary language. Anyhow, the female African American server is cold and aloof at the restaurant where my friend and I were seated for lunch. The server was asked to make one substitution to my friends order right after she placed her order; "no problem" was the response. She had another server bring our food to the table ignoring the one thing requested of her. She never refilled our beverages or asked if everything was okay. It took another ten minutes to have her correct the substitution she forgot. How do we know her cold attitude, inattentive treatment, and lack of attention to us as patrons was deliberate? Glad you asked. My friend and I listened for ten minutes while she checked on the Caucasian couple seated right behind us while laughing and joking. My friend was feeling the same thing and asked when she heard all the laughter and banter…..Is that her behind us? I replied….of course. After she grew tired of boganglin she made her way to our table and asked if everything was okay. She acted weird packaging our food and just stood around for a minute after leaving the check saying nothing. I refused to even look at her. Now I am a good tipper and my friend tell me I am tip happy because I understand people make their living that way AND I have class so I tip appropriately. This time, I wanted to leave her $1 to make my point hoping she would advise her manager so I could let him/her know just what occurred, but I couldn’t so I left her exactly the lowest amount of tip range 15% and I will never go back to that location. I wanted to write a note on the check informing her that white, black, yellow, blue, orange, magenta –provide excellent customer service to all to obtain the only color that matters: green.

I was pissed about this behavior I see so often in the south which reminds me of the residue of internalized hatred manifested amongst African American’s to other African American’s. It’s not that the staff is incapable of providing good service, it’s the fact that they practice treating their own kind worse than other patrons. You know this is the case when someone treats you cold while you can observe them checking on their other tables, laughing and engaging customers while providing excellent service to those of other races.

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room –the stereotype-black people don’t tip. Not all black people don’t tip. Speaking for myself I tip nicely and so do my friends, perhaps because we have class and are aware of social norms and acceptable behaviors when it comes to eating out.

I have served in customer service roles and I treated everyone the same regardless of their color, assisting them in any way that I could. Why?

#1. It’s my job.

#2. It’s how I was raised; do unto others as you would have others due onto you.

#3. I wouldn’t want anyone treating me as if my money wasn’t green.

#4. I was raised in a culturally diverse environment, thank God, so I know life is bigger than color.


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    • profile image

      TomBlalock 5 years ago

      ATL4xtra, that is why it is all the more important that we be individuals. Not black, or white, but ourselves. Culture will always effect us, but the less we section ourselves into definable spheres, the less effect those who give others a bad name can have on others.

    • profile image

      ATL4xtra 5 years ago

      You are absolutely tellin the TRUTH.

      I see this at the gym work, the mall, eating out and just about everywhere I go in Atlanta.

      I think Jim Crow did so much damage that they dont know what to do with themselves.

      but in regards to your dining experience, you know as well as I do that we have a HORRIBLE reputation in regards to tipping. I have had many white bartenders that I got to know tell me horror stories about a "baller" coming in flashin money and run a tab over $1k and then they would leave NOTHING.

      These clowns mess the game up for everyone else despite the fact that we quietly eat and then leave a generous tip when we go out.

    • TomBlalock profile image

      TomBlalock 5 years ago from Hickory, NC

      Realtalk247 is exactly spot on. I am an open carry advocate, which means I carry my firearm on my hip openly, rather than concealed. Most people here don't care, but some people have a problem. That is their right, so I take my money elsewhere. Vote with your dollar. Of course, Realtalk has a more valid social reason to object than I, even if carrying a firearm is a right, there are many who do it for the wrong reasons. There are few if any who are racist for the right reasons, ever, though.

    • realtalk247 profile image

      realtalk247 5 years ago


      I can't just let it go. While I agree we have no control over how others behave, servers/bartenders are responsible for doing their job. I'm not one of these people who think I should just hand over my money and you treat me whatever way you want to and I just let it go. I believe in people being accountable for their behavior.

    • profile image

      realtalk247 5 years ago

      Thank you TomBlalock.

      You have a point about writing about finding other's similar stories and situations. I guess it's no different from Oprah Winfrey's situation when she described the family member she stayed with who was light enough to pass (i.e. pass for white) who made her sleep on the porch as a child. Racism at the hands of those who were the same color is something difficult for me to comprehend.

    • TomBlalock profile image

      TomBlalock 5 years ago from Hickory, NC

      The idea's you raise in this story, or article, or what have you are completely valid. I've noticed racism, especially in recent times, coming from all sides, not just the typical white to black that we have come to see most prominently in America in the past. This occurrence that you speak of highlights just how far we have to go in today's world. Out of curiosity, have you ever considered finding similar stories from others, and maybe compiling them with your own to make a more complete story?

      Anyways, I think the fact that it was only a personal account detracted from the article a bit, but I enjoyed it nonetheless, and I think it highlights an issue that often times gets overlooked these days. Kudos!