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Restaurant Charging Extra For Not Being Chinese? February 27, 2007

Posted by C.A.R.D in Canal Seafood Restaurant, Card, Chinese, Chinese Restaurant, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, David Lopez, Discriminate, Discrimination, Human Rights Commission, John Liu, Leon Luk, New York City, order-in-English, Philly cheesesteak, Racism, Racism Chinese Restaurant, Racist, Racist Chinese Restaurant, Wisconsin.
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Interestingly, the media brought allegations of of racism and possible discrimination when a Philly cheesesteak store put up a ‘order-in-English’ sign. However, when a New York City Chinese restaurant actually did engage in discrimination by charging non-Chinese people more for meals, the media is all but silent. The featured story follows below:The price you pay for your beef with string beans depends entirely on whether or not you are Chinese – at least according to the menus at one restaurant in Chinatown, city officials say.

The city Human Rights Commission has filed a discrimination complaint against the Canal Seafood Restaurant for allegedly giving a different menu with lower prices to customers who are Chinese.

David Lopez, a visitor from Wisconsin, contacted the commission after eating at the restaurant with several friends last October.

He and his girlfriend knew something was wrong when a waiter told them that a serving of rice would cost them extra. They had noticed Asian customers munching on similar dishes served over a bed of rice.

“Being Hispanic, we both like rice,” said 46-year-old Lopez. “We saw other customers getting a different menu. We were told we could order from it if we spoke Chinese.”

The prices on that menu, written in Chinese, were an average of $1 cheaper per dish.

“It was very distressful to go to a place in one of the most diverse cities in the world and be discriminated against,” Lopez said.

Representatives for the restaurant have denied the existence of two different in-store menus.

But Lopez, who has worked as a discrimination investigator in Wisconsin, took both menus with him. He took the menus and his concerns to the Human Rights Commission.

After an investigation, the commission determined there was probable cause that discrimination had taken place, and referred the case to the office of Administrative Trials and Hearings for a trial.

“Discrimination based upon national origin and race is illegal wherever it may occur and cannot be tolerated,” said Commissioner Patricia Gatling.

Leon Luk, a lawyer representing the restaurant, said there may have been a “miscommunication.”

“We’d rather not say anything until the matter is adjudicated,” Luk said. “There is only one menu for sit-down [dining] and one menu for takeout. They have been in business for 15 years and this is their first complaint.”

But City Councilman John Liu (D-Queens) said he has received similar complaints about different menus at restaurants for years. He noted he has never been able to substantiate any of the claims.

“People have also complained that they didn’t get service because they’re not Asian,” said Liu, the first Asian-American to serve in the City Council.

“If, in fact, any restaurant in New York City charges people differently based on their ability to read menu language, that is totally unacceptable and that restaurant should be penalized severely.”

Depending on the outcome of the hearing before the administrative law judge, the Human Rights Commission could impose several punishments, including fining the restaurant, ordering special training and requiring the owners to change the policy.

Eric Ng, president of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, said most businesses and restaurants in Chinatown are “honest and fair.”

“We have never heard of something like this before, and we have no comment on that, since it is an individual business conduct issue,” Ng said.

CARD {Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination} Source: nydailynews.com

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