Racial Discrimination Runs Deep in the Restaurant Industry

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The restaurant industry’s racial bias has analysts at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education calling out an “occupational Jim Crow” system where white workers are much more likely to get tip-earning “front of the house” positions, while managers relegate employees of color to less visible, lower-wage “back of the house” jobs.

“Basically, the farther into a restaurant you go, the skin color gets darker,” Berkeley Professor of Public Policy Saru Jayaraman told the San Francisco Chronicle. “The system is broken, and it has to change.”

Jayaraman is the co-founder of the nonprofit food service advocacy group Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC). Their recent report on racial discrimination in the restaurant industry found Black and Latinx restaurant workers face significant, systemic segregation from the better-paying food and beverage service jobs.

Oakland restaurant worker Joel Leon told KQED, “I have been denied a lot of times…

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One comment

  • gabrielle.sanford.luevano

    That thing about the restaurant industry makes so much sense. Literally every time I get sushi, you’ve got the Asian guys cutting the sushi in the front, and in the back nothing but Latinos.

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