Explicit Expression of Anti-Black Biases in the Full-Service Restaurant Industry: Legal Responsibilities and Risks

International Journal of Hospitality Management, Vol. 85 (February 2020)

U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2020-02

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 Last revised: 2 Feb 2020

See all articles by Zachary W Brewster

Zachary W Brewster

Wayne State University

Lu-in Wang

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law

Date Written: January 6, 2020

Abstract

Anecdotes detailing racial prejudices and discriminatory treatment of Black Americans while dining in full-service restaurants surface routinely in the popular press. These anecdotes are buttressed by a small number of studies documenting evidence of racist language and observed mistreatment of Black restaurant customers. In an effort to further explore the pervasiveness and correlates of such explicit expression of anti-Black biases in restaurant workplaces, this study presents findings from an online survey that was administered in two independent, large, and demographically diverse samples of current restaurant employees. We find that on average between 15% (Qualtrics sample) and 24% (Facebook sample) of participants agreed with statements indicating that racist language and discrimination against Black customers is common in the restaurants where they work. We explore the individual and organizational correlates of such explicit expression of anti-Black biases in restaurant workplaces and highlight the associated legal ramifications. We conclude by encouraging restaurateurs to take action against manifestations of racial prejudice in their establishments in order to fulfill their legal responsibilities to both their customers and their employees and thereby to minimize the threat of litigation. For the complete article, see the International Journal of Hospitality Management 85 (February 2020) 102435.

Keywords: Race-Based Service, Restaurant culture, Consumer Discrimination, Discrimination law

JEL Classification: J7, Z31

Suggested Citation

Brewster, Zachary W and Wang, Lu-in, Explicit Expression of Anti-Black Biases in the Full-Service Restaurant Industry: Legal Responsibilities and Risks (January 6, 2020). International Journal of Hospitality Management, Vol. 85 (February 2020), U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2020-02, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3514531

Zachary W Brewster

Wayne State University ( email )

Detroit, MI 48202
United States

Lu-in Wang (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law ( email )

3900 Forbes Ave.
PA 15260
United States
412-648-1490 (Phone)

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