Last month, a 21-year-old Black server from Arizona named Rakevion White was on the job when his coworkers sent him a food order labeled with the n-word. After complaining about the issue, the coworkers saw no punishment, but White had his hours reduced.
White works at the Breakfast Club in Phoenix, Arizona, to help pay his way through Arizona State University. While working one day, he received an order from his coworkers he found so shocking he posted it to Instagram.
*Warning: this post contains language some readers may find offensive*
View this post on Instagram
Hey everybody, This ticket order was sent into to me by two of my coworkers on October 22nd at the Breakfast Club- Cityscape. Apparently this was a hysterical joke about myself that everyone including management thought was ok because the two employees were “Only joking”. Now I’ve been called way worse in my life but if you know me, one thing I don’t do is tolerate disrespect. But my employer allowed me to disrespected and humiliated by my coworkers. Almost 4 weeks later no disciplinary action has been taken against the two employees. Furthermore, since this has taken place not only myself but other black employees hours have been reduced and they have not let us serve as waiters. For future references please be mindful of the companies that you support!
White immediately approached his coworker who was working at the bar to have the order’s label changed, but she responded with indifference.
“I asked her if she could take the order down or change the name because I was offended by it and I was upset that she was sending something in like that to me, and she said that she didn’t know how to take it down.”
White then went to his manager to complain that his coworkers had sent him a racial slur, but the manager did nothing, saying:
“it was more than likely a joke.”
“It made me feel uncomfortable because it’s like, OK, well, you’re pretty much saying it’s acceptable, but since they explained to you that they were joking, then I should be OK with it.”
What irritates me is the female server laughing it off but if someone did something she found uncomfortable she'd be crying to the moon
— nami newgate (@deadstephwords) November 13, 2019
Prior to the incident, White regularly received 25 hours of work a week as a server. After complaining, his hours were changed—he now works 14 to 18 hours a week, with many of those hours now as a server assistant or to-go kiosk worker—which receives no tips.
“I’m pretty much not making any money working there.”
Here’s a funny joke, manager is fired then sued?
— Cody Wilshire (@MissCWilshire) November 13, 2019
No disciplinary action was taken against the coworkers who sent White the slur, though White himself found himself effectively demoted for speaking up. Another coworker who spoke under the condition of anonymity claimed managers were attempting to cover up the issue.
“Nothing really happened, and it kind of just got blown over.”
Manager should be fired. pic.twitter.com/xvBEpPJMfs
— Patricia (@patriciagallace) November 13, 2019
The Breakfast Club hasn’t responded to requests for comment and their social media accounts have all been deactivated.
Well, won't be eating there. Looks like I have some people to tell.
— Adds ???? (@ausher8) November 13, 2019
White and the unnamed coworker who supports him both believe this is part of a discriminatory pattern of behavior which punishes minority servers while protecting others. They cited past instances where Black servers were fired for far lesser offenses, such as “inappropriate work attire or for eating in certain areas.”
“I feel personally that if I had pretty much did something like this I would have been fired immediately. It’s not OK. Not just that it was done to me and you know other black employees but for any race regardless that works there.”