Celeste Bourdeau de Fontenay
I attended a dinner for a friend’s birthday at a nouveau riche- bling, expense account, restaurant in New York a few blocks from the Westside Highway. I was the only African American at the table and some of the staff had issues. One of the servers could not pour water, place bread, etc without dropping it in my lap. When I made a comment the only response was a smug smile and shrug of the shoulder. I realized that none of my fellow dinners noticed this activity. When I mentioned it to my friend her response was to scold me for not letting her know even though she sat immediately on my right side.
Several weeks later I attended a board meeting for a national organization. The meeting was held in Philadelphia. The dinner for board members was held at a nice but not blingy restaurant. The waitress accidentally dropped wine over my cashmere sweater. She apologized. The manager hurried over and gave me his card. He offered to have my clothing cleaned and offered to pay my dry cleaning bill as I was from out of town. I appreciated dining such a class act establishment. There was no phony need to prove pseudo-superiority.