|A Hooters employee wrote the racial slur "CHINX"|
on the receipt of two Asian customers.
Image: Snapshot from CBS Philly video
I get that people who interact with many customers may take notes to remember them. I use to do the same when I worked in sales and called on dozens of grocery stores. I wrote descriptors of what the store manager looked like -- things such as “glasses” or “curly hair” -- so that I could identify him the next time. Unlike Hooters, I never wrote anything condescending or racist.
Businesses like Starbucks personalize orders by writing a customer’s first name on the cup. But Starbucks is not perfect either, as pointed out by blogger Angry Asian Man who noted an incident earlier this year when a Starbuck’s barista drew two slant eye marks on the cups of two Asian customers.
Whether it’s verbal or symbolic slurs, no one wants to be identified by stereotypes. I’m an American citizen born in the Midwest, yet I’ve also experienced what it’s like to be seen only by your race. These incidents primarily occurred during my younger years from being bullied on the playground with chants of “Ching Chong” to the racist remarks by a group of teens made throughout the long wait to ride Magic Mountain at Disney World.
Sometimes it’s just the staring. In college my Asian friends and I stopped at McDonalds in Tennessee during our drive to Florida for Spring Break. When we walked in, a family in a booth stopped eating mid-bite and stared…and stared…and stared. It got so uncomfortable that we eventually stared back because we didn’t know what else to do. They resumed eating, but only after making us feel like side show freaks.
I am hoping that society has progressed far enough that my daughter won’t go through negative experiences like mine related to her race. Receiving taunts for your looks, whether racial or otherwise, can warp a child’s self-image. As parents we can make sure to discuss race, bullying, and differences with our children. Awareness is so important, and hopefully this will prepare them should they ever encounter issues.
Have you ever experienced racial bullying? If so, please share with us in the comments.
View the CBS Philly news report on the Hooters racial slur incident: