|Stacks of red and blue Domino's Pizza boxes. On the side of these boxes are the words "Take A Fresh Look". From Wikipedia.|
Ordering a pizza should be a pretty uncomplicated and stress-free occasion. That's the point of delivery pizza: not having to cook, having it hot and ready for you when you want it. And most consumers can expect that their relatively low-maintenance meals will be free from the stress and degradation of harassment on the basis of race.
But for Carla Robinson, that was apparently too much too ask. On Friday, she ordered two large pizzas for delivery from her local Domino's in Apex, NC. After the driver left, her ten-year-old niece brought the receipt to her attention. The receipt read "N*GGERS DON'T TIP".
On its own, this would be reprehensible and disgusting, particularly considering that a young child was exposed to such vile and hateful language. But what happened to Robinson after the initial attack compounded the atrocity.
Robinson promptly reported this action to the manager, who was responsible enough to fire the culpable employee. Instead of accepting fault for their actions and moving on, the former employees continued their campaign of hatred by calling Robinson to further demean and intimidate her:
“They were saying basically the same stuff that was on the receipt. They were saying 'N-this, you got me fired, you did this, you did that,' just being real ugly to me, just being real mean,” Robinson said. “I’m thinking it is 2010, it's never good to do that. You can't do stuff like that anymore.”Domino's is not exactly the organization to blame here; this is the act of one racist individual and it seems that the organization responded promptly and appropriately, accepting fault and offering an apology for their employee's actions. But though this is the act of one lone individual projecting their racism rather than systematic racism affecting millions, it is still very indicative of the racism that white America thrives on.
When social justice writers talk about how our kyriarchal society is far from post-racial, we often point to less obvious manifestations of white people continuing to get the edge over people of color: through housing policies, through standardized tests, through drug law. Racism is often presented as below the surface for many well-meaning white people, something we just don't think about because of our privilege, something we have to look hard to see in our actions and in the actions of others.
But this is very far from reality, both in acts unconscious and conscious. Individual acts of terrorism through blatant racism, as Robinson experienced, are a clear indication of the devaluation of non-white people in the US. People of color do not only experience institutional and systematic racism: they experience targeted attacks and harassment based specifically on their race. Robinson's supposition that in 2010, people will have the good sense to not attack others based on their race is not unreasonable, but sadly, it is too optimistic.
Deeply Problematic is in the middle of a pledge drive. Click here to show your monetary support.
Trigger warning for comments.