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personal essays, racial stereotypes, restaurant business, Stereotypes

Check, Please: Black Folks and Tipping

The summer before I started college, almost 10 years ago in Baltimore County, I became a waiter. It was a rite of passage into the workforce, albeit an unglamorous one. Working in a restaurant gave me my first real experience interacting with all sorts of people in an intimate way. At the end of the day, regardless of socioeconomic class, a hungry person is a hungry person — making people unpredictable, and their tips negotiable.

Elderly people, the soup-salad-and-bread-stick thrifty types:horrible tippers. And those high-rolling suited professionals who were quick to flash their American Express cards: shamefully bad tippers.And to my kinfolk in the black community, I must say: If slavery wasn’t acceptable when we fought the Civil War … (more on this later).

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About Abdul Ali

I'm a fellow at American University studying creative nonfiction and poetry. I write across a few genres but it's all brought together by larger questions about culture.


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