As the name suggests, or fails to actually, eating while being black has become somewhat of a challenge for me lately. Now before you begin to worry if my diet is beginning to affect my mental health or before you go following me into the bathroom stall to see if I’ve hurled up my lunch, hear me out.
Saturday night, like many weekends, I was in a people mood and decided to catch up with my cousin for dinner. Like many others these days, I had a boat load of Groupons and Living Social deals stashed away so it was about time for me to splurge on my appetite for the night. After we ate like kings ($20 for 40 to spend can take you a long way!), the bill came out and to our surprise, amazingly low. And like many other occasions when it comes time to pay the bill, I fell into a trance debating to myself about how much the waiter deserved to be tipped.
For starters, the food was great which always helps the server’s case but the actual service he provided was subpar. Of course my first thought is whether or not the service was only average because of myskin color. We were, in fact, the only black people in the restaurant so my natural inkling was that the server had been burned a time or two by other black folks that dined at his table. Additionally, I did use a Groupon for my meal so I was obviously in the mood to save money that night.
As my internal debate continued, I questioned myself about why I felt the need to tip more (15-20 percent or more) even when the service wasn’t that good. It was almost as if I was the sole dining representative for all black people who eat out at restaurants world wide. Almost as if the tip I left would ultimately be a reflection of our entire race and if I didn’t tip properly, I’d just be adding fuel to the fire and the server would feel the need to provide lackluster service to the nextblack couple who ate at his table too. After mentioning my dilemma to my cousin, she also mentioned that she often bites her tongue when she needs something when dining out so she doesn’t leave a bad taste in the mouth of the server and that she also tips to make up for the lack of tips the server probably received from other black people in his day.
The moral of this story… I have no clue. Should I not feel the need to represent “my people” in a good light? Besides, I feel like I carry the weight of the world at work representing for blacks and HBCUs alike. Who knows, maybe I’m over analyzing it. Maybe I’m just doing what others should have done. Let’s just hope the 20% I left that man didn’t fall on deaf pockets.