A group of African Americans had an enjoyable meal at a restaurant in Murfeesboro, Tennessee and were treated well by the waitress. Or at least they thought so. But later a friend told one of them Chelsea Mayes that their waitress had posted a photo of the group on Snapchat and used a racist slur to describe the group. The management was alerted to this and after an investigation, fired the waitress.
Mayes was naturally angry, but the wording of her response was troubling.
Mayes told the DNJ that it was “shocking” and “hurtful” that the Cheddar’s waitress made such racist remarks about her and her friends, especially since they all had academic backgrounds. Mayes said that she, herself, is pursuing a degree in business administration while working two jobs.
“We are people who contribute to society,” Mayes said.
This seems to imply that if the group had consisted of poorer and less educated people, the insult would be less. That is of course not true. Using racial slurs on anyone is bad and does not get worse along with higher socioeconomic status. Poor and uneducated people also contribute to society and have just as much right to be treated with the same respect as anyone else. One could even make the case that treating them badly is actually worse, because they have less resources to fight back than better off people and are hence more defenseless.
Maybe the problem is that people in the higher socioeconomic groups move in circles where they encounter prejudice less often and think that their elevated status provides at least a partial shield of immunity. Hence it comes as a shock when they find that it does not.