Dominion of New York

The 411

February 15, 2012

Restaurant Settles Racial Lawsuit After Pathetic Waiters Slur A Black Customer

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Written by: Kelly Virella


t’s hard out here for an overt racist. They used to grab a rope and go lynching. But these days Donald Trump can’t even accuse Obama of being an affirmative action reject without rousing cries of racism from elite whites. It seems lynch mobs are increasingly reduced to passive aggressive moves like the ones perpetrated by one or more of the waiters at the Orange County California Landmark Steakhouse. Someone there presented the receipt below to one of their loyal black customers, a businessman. Peep the 6th line from the stop, starting at the left:

Black businessman Mark McHenry received this receipt. Image courtesy of OC Weekly.

According to the OC Weekly, the businessman Mark McHenry received receipts with racial slurs like this and more, including “McNigShit” and “McCottonwood” during dozens and dozens of visits, before he noticed what was happening. And while reviewing 167,000 of the restaurant’s receipts, McHenry’s attorney uncovered a dozen more racist ones.

On February 2, McHenry settled for an undisclosed sum his lawsuit against the restaurant. The settlement came after the owner of the restaurant fired a bartender whom he blamed for the problem. The owner himself denied culpability in his deposition, saying he does not “discriminate against any group of people on any basis whatsoever.”

Mosey on over to the OC Weekly and the Daily News to read how the restaurant staff reacted to McHenry’s objections. A snippet from the Daily News:

“Yo Mark. Hey it’s [NAME WITHHELD],” the bartender says in a voicemail. “Give me a call when you get a chance man. Just wanted to apologize for that tab, dude. You know we were totally jokin’ around.”


Structural racism — the system that perpetuates the racial wealth gap — remains firmly in place. And there are still a few genuinely insane rabid racists who will boldly tie an African-American to a truck fender and drag him to death or run him over, for example. But more and more, interpersonal prejudice assumes the form of a pathetic series of passive aggressive micro-aggressions.

I’m glad that someone will have to pay for McHenry’s troubles. But more importantly, I’m clear that after we stood up to the Klan, Bull Connor, and George Wallace, it’ll take more than racial slurs on receipts to reverse our gains.


About the Author

Kelly Virella
Kelly Virella lives in an East Harlem walk-up with her husband, her bicycle and her books. She's worked as a journalist for 11 years and started this website during the summer of 2011. She fell in love with New York City during her first visit here as a 16-year-old and finally made good on her promise to move here in April 2010.


Photo courtesy of Flickr/

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