Check this story out: Chris Rock's mom is suing Cracker Barrel Hick Restaurants, Inc., after she and her daughter waited 1/2 hour to be served. Here's
the relevant CNN article. It's hard to know which paragraphs to reproduce here, because they're all so much fun. ex)
Cracker Barrel has in the past faced numerous lawsuits and a federal inquiry over complaints of refusing to serve black customers, discriminating against minority workers and firing gay employees. The company has taken steps to rebuild its folksy image and reach out to minorities.
Clearly Cracker Barrel has a problem with discrimination, with it being so "folksy" and all. Is it really still being run by hick farmers? Is it really a place of rampant discrimination? Well, let's see what happened to Rose Rock and her lovely daughter...
Rock, who is from Georgetown, said she and her 21-year-old daughter were the only blacks at the chain's Murrells Inlet restaurant in April. She said when she asked the manager about the delay she was told they could have a free meal.
"He never called over the waitresses and asked, 'Why did these people sit here for a half hour without service?' " she said. "The only thing he said was we could have a free meal and neither of us wanted to eat."
What does this tell us? Rose Rock went into that restaurant looking for racism, and was fortunate enough to find the appearance of it. Her quote seems to suggest she wanted the manager to dress down the waitstaff in front of her, to satisfy her righteous lust for blood. SHE GOT A FREE MEAL, FOR PETE'S SAKE. The manager correctly resolved the problem, as far as I'm concerned. So why does she think she was discriminated against? People fail to get service at restaurants all the time. And by people I mean me. If you don't alert the waitstaff to your presence after about 10 minutes, then that's on you, buddy. This is America. You can demand satisfaction here, and most places will give it to you, even if you're not white.
The problem with the CNN story is the reporter was too busy calling the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission and other unrelated people to get the actual
important details, such as:
Was it really a half-hour, or was it a "customer service" half-hour (which is really more like 15 minutes)?
Did numerous waitresses pass her table? If so, did they sneer or scowl at her? Did she sneer or scowl at them?
Does she have a history of not tipping at this restaurant? Did she act all bitchy when she was seated, or did she appear to be a normal customer?
Has this happened to her before at this restaurant? At other restaurants?
Did she make contact with the waitresses at all before going to the manager? Did she look around in the distance, trying to make eye contact with a restaurant employee (which is the universal sign for "we need service here")?
Did the manager apologize? Was his tone harsh? Did he seem uninterested in her plight?
Were any other (white) customers receiving bad service at this time?
Now, it's not all the reporter's fault. Cracker Barrell has probably forbidden any waitresses or the manager from speaking with the press, and at this late date there's no way to find any of the other customers or eyewitnesses to the situation. So it's basically a he-said she-said thing, and the only way the truth will come out is if there's a real investigation or some kind of "deep throat" informant comes forward. Until then, the people that assume racism will say she needs to stand up for her rights, and the people that assume non-racism will shake their heads and wonder why she didn't just take the free meal.
And until Cracker Barrel is renamed to White Person Barrel, this will probably keep happening.