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    Pot Calling The Kettle Everything

    | Los Angeles, CA, USA | Bigotry, Food & Drink, Language & Words

    (I work in a South American restaurant that tends to get a lot of Asian customers. Since I’m fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Khmer [Cambodian], and Tagalog [Philippines], I’m often called on to serve customers who don’t speak English. A group of seven customers come in.)

    Customer #1: *obviously struggling* “Can… I… has this?”

    Me: *taking a guess* *Mandarin* “Would you be more comfortable in Mandarin?”

    Customer #2: *Korean* “Stupid Mexicans. Can’t even tell the difference between a Korean and a Chinese man.”

    Me: *Korean* “I apologize, ma’am. I guessed based on [Customer #1]’s accent and it seems I was wrong. Can I take your order now?”

    Customer #3: *English* “No. I want to talk to your manager.”

    (I go back to get the manager, who is Peruvian.)

    Manager: “Can I help you?

    Customer #3: “Yes. I want to complain about your Mexican waiter’s horribly racist demeanor.”

    Manager: “How was he being racist? He’s usually very culturally sensitive.”

    Customer #4: “You Mexicans are all the same, never bothering to think that maybe there are more types of Asians than just Chinese people.”

    Manager: “First of all, your waiter is from Puerto Rico. I’m from Peru. So maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to complain about being unable to differentiate ethnicity.”

    Customer #3: “I don’t see what that has to do with anything.”

    (Sighing, my manager assigns a Chinese-American waiter to them. He can only speak English and ends up having to have customers 3 and 4 translate for the rest of their table in order to get their order. Amazingly, they never complained about the difficulty in ordering.)