Friday, April 30, 2010

Bartender Tales: whoa there racism

Working as a bartender allows me to observe the strange behaviors of people and as an anthropologist I find this fascinating and amusing. I have the usually drunk people insanity stories, but sometimes behavior truly shocks me.

First some background. The restaurant where I work is located in a highly diverse neighborhood. The neighborhood is largely hispanic, but also includes plenty of other minority groups. If you're into ethnic food, it's like heaven. There are El Salvadoran, Mexican, Italian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, etc etc restaurants all over the place. I love diversity and so I naturally thrive on the mixture of cultures that surround me.

About a week ago, a middle-aged white man came to my bar and order a beer. As I brought his oh-so-delicious Miller Lite draft to him (seriously? you want to drink water beer?), he made a comment: "So you're American, right?"

(In my head: um... what? we ARE in the US!)

Kelly: um, yeah I'm from here.

Guy: I haven't seen an American in a while!

(In my head: WHAT?!?! Do you think we're in France or something? Surprise! there are Americans everywhere IN THE USA)

Kelly: um...ok?

Guy: Well, you know because you ARE a minority around here....

(WHAT THE F-BOMB!!!! Sooooo because I'm white that means I'm American ... and since the majority of people in this neighborhood are not white that must mean they AREN'T American?!?! Holy shit ! On top of that... if I'm a random white girl working in a place full of minorities why would you even think that I would agree with or appreciate your statement?!)

Kelly: ..... *and walks away before I punch him in the face*

Immediately following this I told my Latino manager the story. He was furious and about to kick the guy out of the restaurant. Fortunately the guy was gone and there was no angry scene.

But seriously? How are people soooo stupid and insensitive?

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