As I read yet another story on racism at a restaurant I am infuriated. Once again we find ourselves in a situation where Black People are met by unfettered racism during their dining or shopping experience. Time and time again we see the horrors of racism that restaurant and business owners believe can be fixed with a simple apology, and a commitment to do “training” on racism and diversity issues. This broken playbook is bullshit and quite frankly an attempt to cover the fact they have been caught red-handed. Moreover, I am wondering what nonsense training will be provided, and quite frankly who will be facilitating it? You telling me you had access to this training previously, and did not take the initiative to facilitate it prior to an incident, indicates to me that you are only ashamed that you were caught. Moreover, the restaurant admits that the action taken by staff was confirmed. To say that you have to now do an investigation is disingenuous at best.

Make no mistake that the actions taken by Desi Vegas Steakhouse is racial biased on its face; however, the unspoken piece of the conversation missed in this situation is an issue of law. We will come back to that point. The most egregious portion of this discussion is the level of privilege that must be taken to one add the charge, two the lie that must be facilitated to keep the lie alive, and thirdly the lack of actual contrition that must exist to give a stock answer to the face that your restaurant committed a blatant act of racism against people in our community.

This restaurant profiling is not new. I have had a similar experience in a restaurant while visiting New Orleans. The circumstances included being placed by the kitchen and when asking to be moved being questioned on the reasons for such a request. These blatant issues of race do not seem to the racist to be offensive, and quite frankly show an extreme disregard for the damage caused. More interestingly, these stories are becoming more, rather than less, prominent. Given the accountability that has happened across this country as it relates to people of color you would think that the incidences of such occurrences would decline, yet racists have doubled down and continued to take actions that marginalize the Black Community.

Most importantly, the method by which we hold these sorts of actions accountable should be grounded in the law. In an effort to ensure that all citizens are held accountable we must ensure racism is irradiated. Louisiana Revised Statue 14:67 defines theft as “the misappropriation or taking of anything of value which belongs to another, either without the consent of the other to the misappropriation or taking, or by means of fraudulent conduct, practices, or representations. An intent to deprive the other permanently of whatever may be the subject of the misappropriation or taking is essential.” In the instance of Desi Vegas Steakhouse there seems to be an admission that there was an attempt to take something of value through deceit. The DA should now prosecute this as the crime that it is. If the shoe was on the other foot and this was the case of a Black-owned restaurant taking the action taken here there would be legal action.

Insofar as the court of public opinion is concerned I won’t be eating at Desi Vegas Steakhouse, and would encourage anyone that deplores racism to discontinue their meal there immediately. If they want to earn our business back they need to fire the offenders, and have conversations with people that will offer true and authentic diversity training to their staff at a minimum. Make no mistake that their initial response is bullshit and protects the racist rather than those that the theft and racism was against.


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