Friday, February 25, 2011

Don't Make Assumptions

An odd thing happened to me today. I was meeting some colleagues for lunch at a Chinese restaurant. I arrived first, and when I told the employee I was meeting a group there, he showed me to the table and then started gathering up the pre-set chopsticks from each place setting.

I asked him to please leave them as many of my lunchmates were actually Chinese--and, I'd be using the chopsticks myself. He promptly put them back, but left forks in two spots. I found out later that the reservation had been made under a non-Chinese name--I guess the forks were for us two.

I was amused by this, but later wondered if it was a form of profiling. The waiter made an assumption--a racial one--that wasn't based on facts.
The lunch went well (4 of the 10 diners, it turned out, were actually Asian--and the meal was ordered in Chinese). The food was fine. I'll go back again sometime. But it was an eye-opening experience.

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