Surveys of 200 waiters serving in 18 North Carolina restaurants have revealed that prejudice and racial discrimination are still prominent in the US. Researchers at the Wayne State University and North Carolina State University, found that 38.5% of the waiters treat black customers differently due to their belief that they are poor tippers and behave in a rude way.
‘“Tableside racism” is yet another example in which African-Americans are stereotyped and subsequently treated poorly in everyday situations,’ said Sarah Rusche, Ph.D. candidate at North Carolina State University and co-author of the study. ‘Race continues to be a significant barrier to equal treatment in restaurants and other areas of social life.’
Up to 52.8% of the waiters declared that they had seen discrimination from some of their colleagues. In addition, the researchers found that frequently waiters would make jokes and play games regarding African American customers, which sometimes would imply longer waiting time and verbal discrimination.
‘People tend to underplay their racist feelings because it’s socially unacceptable,’ said Rusche. ‘On a national level, these racist preconceived notions and poor treatment may actually be more prevalent.’
The findings are published in the Journal of Black Studies.
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Brewster, Z., & Rusche, S. (2012). Quantitative Evidence of the Continuing Significance of Race: Tableside Racism in Full-Service Restaurants Journal of Black Studies, 43 (4), 359-384 DOI: 10.1177/0021934711433310