Too brown for the fancy restaurant.

restJane Medina
Orange, CA

My daughter Annie had just turned 21. So she, my husband, my son, and I put on our cocktail party clothes and went to the fanciest restaurant in Orange, California to buy Annie her first drink. As our car climbed the steep hill where the restaurant sat like a crown above the city, we worried that we wouldn’t be able to get a table next to one of the outdoor fire pits. We were right. All the fire pits were taken by white and Asian couples, so we sat at a little table next to the kitchen, determined to enjoy ourselves. Our determination slowly waned as we waited to be served. All of the parties near us were being served their fancy drinks, talking and laughing with the cocktail waitresses, paying their tabs, and leaving. We asked a passing busboy to speak to a waitress. His eyes darted towards the woman who evidently was supposed to serve us, he mumbled an excuse and hurried away. After an hour, we left, too angry to speak to the manager. We went to a Mexican restaurant at the bottom of the hill and had a wonderful time.

As a white woman married to a Mexican American man, I was used to the uncomfortable glances from people who disapproved of racially mixed couples. But I had seen those glimpses of prejudice decline during our 30 years of marriage. So I was genuinely shocked when we experienced such passive-aggressive bigotry in 2004. I think our society has matured nine years since then, but it is naive to say that prejudice has been eliminated. Perhaps someday all people will consider these subtle acts of prejudice as antiquated and as horrific as slavery. I hope so.

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5 Responses to "Too brown for the fancy restaurant."
  1. Don says:

    I had a similar experience when I took a black woman on a date to a fancy seafood restaurant in Oakland. After waiting 10 minutes to get a table when there were LOTS of empty tables in the restaurant, we left. I was embarrassed for my ethnicity. I still am.

  2. Glenda says:

    I’m latina. I went to a diner with a female friend who is white. It was mostly Asian. They gave us many strange looks and started playing a song with a Puerto rican lady moaning, snickering to themselves. I’m not gay..or Puerto rican even. It’s like if I owned a diner and started playing ‘oh me so horny’ because a white/Asian friendship walks in. They only want to see whites with Asians. Funny, because I am part white although I don’t look it…but my daughter looks it…and she is 100% latina. Confusing, huh? People are stupid sometimes.

  3. Timothy says:

    i wish these type of things would stop happening

  4. Anonymous says:

    These things really need to stop

  5. barry irving says:

    …reality…who would want to eat food there?

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