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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Reverse Discrimination

Reverse Discrimination
Mrs. C and I went to dinner tonight, “Bonefish”, a nice chain restaurant with good food at a fair price.  I like to go out to dinner and we do so several times a week as Mrs. C does not like to cook and she works three nights a week. 
Bonefish has a nice relaxed atmosphere.
The restaurant was not yet very crowded.  We were seated right behind a large table with three adults and 8 children age 2 to about 8.  I know restaurants often try and sit people at less desirable tables first, and this table was clearly less desirable as the children were…children.  Not especially ill-mannered, but children.
In my older cranky age, I generally will ask for a different table if any are available, and there were clearly other choices.   In this case I said nothing.  The three adults and the eight children were African American. 
If they were white I would not have hesitated to ask for a different table, but reverse discrimination kicked in.  Would people think I was prejudiced because I asked to sit away from a table of African Americans?
We took our seats.
“I should ask to move to a quieter space, I come here to relax…if I wanted kids and agita, I could go out to eat with my Grandchildren!”
“The other section might not have a waitress and they can’t seat us there.”
“Maybe.”
Then I got bumped from behind by a child running around the table; and again, by one going to the bathroom.
“I’m asking for a different table.”
As I was going up to the hostess to ask for a different table, a couple walked in before me, and they were taken to the table I was going to ask for.  As they were being seated I followed and gave Mrs. C the stink eye.
Then the manager came up to me.
“May I help you?”
Oh crap, the manager was African American.
“Oh, I was just hoping to be seated at a different table.”
“Is there a problem?”
“No, just there are other tables and we were seated next to a large group of children…they are not being bad, but they are children and there are other tables.”
“The table over there?” As he glanced at the African American party of eleven.
“Ah, yes…”
“Hmmm, I see…we will find a different table for you.”
“I don’t really mean to complain, but…”
“It’s all right sir, I completely understand.”
We moved several tables away and truth be told at this point the table of children was acting a bit bratty and extra loud.  They were a still little disturbing, but at least I was not being bumped.
As we were finishing an appetizer and the restaurant was filling up I confessed,
“I feel a little guilty, the manager gave me one of those looks; the ‘Yes sir, we can find your bigoted ass another table; wouldn’t want you to have to sit near Black Folk’ Look.  I just didn’t want to sit next to kids, if I’m prejudiced, it is against little children.”
As I was voicing my remorse and having a Larry David moment (“Curb Your Enthusiasm” fans will understand) another couple was seated behind the table of children.  And we overheard them,
“Ah, do you think we could we sit at another table?”
“I’m very sorry, this is the last table for now.”
“That’s ok, we’ll wait.”
I turned around to see this couple that also did not want to sit next to a troop of children.
It was a middle age couple. 
They were African American.
“YES!!”

19 comments:

  1. Good post, Joe. I don't remember ever having to tip-toe around so many subjects in my life.

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  2. I'm glad you were able to be moved. In my case, I prefer to eat at home, simply because I don't wish to be around children who run around instead of sitting at their table.
    For me, reverse discrimination is seeing governments bending over backwards to be sure minorities don't feel discriminated against, giving them special treatment, everything they want, while the rest of the population is largely ignored. That's us, being discriminated against, but if we dare to voice any objections, all hell breaks loose.

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  3. If you are going to pay "good" money to eat out at a restaurant, it should be a pleasant experience. Before you were moved to a different table, it wasn't. I think someone should have been teaching their children better restaurant manners. We did with our children from early on and rarely had any problems when we went out to eat because they knew what was expected and what was expected of them. They never would have left the table or thunked on any other people's seating close by.

    betty

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  4. Whatever happened to the old rules regarding children, those taught to behave at table, to sit still and keep voices down, etc. It didn't hurt me any when I was a kid.

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  5. The struggle is real. I remember when my 4 ankle biters were little and we were on vaca so we all filed in to the restaurant. All was good until a large glass of root beer spilled. It was spilled by ME! My 5 yr old looked at me and said, "Mom, you are embarrassing our family!" Yep, and I continue to do so to this day!

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  6. That toxic whiteness will get us every time. The real issue is that there should be sections for families with children (who should be taught how to behave in public first). Mike would have not asked for another restaurant, he would have turned around and left. He did that and once it was his own four grandkids causing the ruckus. You call yourself cranky, but let me tell you grumppa could have schooled you for sure.

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  7. BANG BANG SHRIMP YUMMMMMMM I love Bonefish!

    And I too hate children. I am especially appalled when people allow their children to run wild in a restaurant, where people are carrying large and heavy trays full of extremely hot food. I've received many hateful glares because I will not sit and keep quiet if the table next to mine has an unruly child. I'll tell those parents exactly what I think of their kid's behaviour.

    There used to be a restaurant near here that had a big sign on the door--"NO CHILDREN UNDER 16"--which was naturally one our fav places to eat. I think they ended up having to change their policies though. Discrimination or something?

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  8. There you go. I don't like sitting with a bunch of kids either...white purple or green...don't care....I want another table.

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  9. I've moved many times because of unruly children. Some parents just won't make them behave either and that makes it even worse. I'm like Mich. I will make myself heard if your children are little brats.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  10. Times have changed! Our parents didn't tolerate rude behavior. Neither did we. I have two children. One has two children with perfect public manners. The other has four children, two of whom totally lacked manners. I've gone back into a classy restaurant to leave an extra $50 tip for the poor servers who have to get bowls of noodles off the carpet.

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  11. I'd have asked for a different table, but like you I might have felt awkward about it. I acknowledge that I probably treat African Americans differently, better, because I don't want to be perceived as racist.

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  12. Like Stephen, we are very cautious of perceptions around here. A couple of AA ladies cut line the the gas station chicken store the other day. They walked in, saw the long line, said, "That's the line? This is crazy!" They walked right behind me, to an AA man who had been in line for a while, and said, "Oh, you're with the group. We'll get in with the group." He didn't invite them in, didn't tell them no, didn't say anything. Nobody called them out except one other AA lady already paying at the counter. They stayed put, though. By "group" I think they were talking about a bus that I saw parked outside.

    I sure wasn't going to say anything.

    Even when kids aren't unruly, I don't like them turning around and staring at me during the entire meal. I prefer to dine childless as well.

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  13. I totally understand your reluctance. Most of us don't want to appear racist. At least you got a good post out of it. I recently sat through a cacophony at a local restaurant as two white, hard of hearing senior gents yelled back and forth about their fishing day. They were so loud that my friends and I could not converse. Stayed put though for I found them amusing besides, I didn't want to appear unhappy with the old guys. Think that could have been called ageism even though we were in the same boat.
    I miss the Bonefish.

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  14. Good manners are learned and someone has to teach them. Parents would fit that bill, but it seems some don't recognize good manners from bad. We are so racially aware in this country that we sometimes bend to the extreme to be "correct."

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  15. This is why i have learned to tune out children, and i'm glad i have.

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  16. Parents don't seem to demand good manners for their children anymore, and you are right on point here Joe it doesn't matter what color they are but kids being kids can be annoying in these situations. What is sad is the fact that we are forced to dance around the race issue, reverse discrimination is rampant now and it has only made matters worse, we should not have to worry so much about offending everyone about anything we do.

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  17. I solved that problem long ago. I just don't eat out anymore.

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