If you’re a person of color, don’t expect to catch a break in progressive San Francisco. Just ask Demonte Lane.
When Mr. Lane recounts his past few years working in the Bay Area restaurant industry, his stories are tinged with equal parts frustration and resignation.
He saw white workers shuffled into higher-paying server jobs, while people of color like himself were relegated to posts as dishwashers, porters or prep cooks. His first restaurant job was a front-of-house position at a mid-level place in Oakland. His stint there ended amid a flurry of raise denials, demotions and an inexplicable firing, he said.
“One of the owners, who was white, brought in one of his white friends to do a similar job as me,” said Lane, now a busser at Kingston 11 in Oakland. “Then I noticed he was getting raises. Then I was suddenly bumped down.”
Lane’s experience is not an anomaly, according to Ephraim Colbert of Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United, a national restaurant worker advocacy group comprised of more than 25,000 workers, 600 restaurant owners and 15,000 consumers.
Colbert spent 10 years as a fine dining server, often being the only person of color on predominantly white staffs. His tales of raise denials and career stagnation are similar to Lane’s.
“This practice, and others, is very common in the restaurant industry where people of color are overlooked and replaced by a fresh white face,” said Colbert.
Occupational segregation is a nationwide issue in the restaurant industry, and the Bay Area is among the country’s worst offenders.
Feckless white, racist liberals. It’s the real San Francisco.
Read the whole story in the San Francisco Chronicle