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Relations with Community of Color

(left to right) Robin Sherrinsky, Elizabeth Fleming, and Sara Chapman take part in a Black Lives Matter protest in Dubuque (contributed photo).

by Katherine Evans

As I finish another week of Graduate School in Ohio and reflect on this week of work, a few thoughts appeared relevant to this topic. First, as a white woman, I observed some of the most concentrated and overt racism that I ever have – a regular occurrence for people of color. While hostessing in a restaurant, a server asked not to be given a table of black people. At first I thought this might be an isolated occurrence, an individual opinion, but then I heard it from a few other people, including a manager advising me to not seat too many black customers in the same server’s section. Why? Because black people don’t tip as well.

I was appalled at the level of ease at which people shared these racist beliefs with me, a newer employee with black family members. They also had no idea how racist their beliefs were. To them, their conclusions were just an unfortunate truth of being in the industry, which they assumed I had not been part of for very long. (I’ve been a server, bartender, busser, and host for more than a decade, and am well aware that a lot of people choose not to tip well, regardless of who they are!)

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