May 13, 2014

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Along with Euro tourists and old church ladies, black patrons have a reputation among waitstaff for leaving skimpy tips. Study after study confirms servers”€™ anecdotes. Not all black tables leave terrible tips”€”maybe not most of them”€”but apparently enough for black culture critic Abdul Ali to notice: “€œ[Black tipping] stereotypes stem from true events that get repeated enough times to leave an impression in the minds of many.”€ Social scientists blame racist servers, others excuse it as ignorance, generous blacks call out their more frugal brothers (and sisters), radicals want to abolish customary tipping to eliminate the issue, but no one denies the phenomenon. No one but Helen, of course, who suddenly realized she might offend someone and changed her complaint midway through.

Too late, Helen. You must now undergo another activity”€”the “€œTolerance Scale”€”€”in order to become a Change Agent.

The human self, according to the Tolerance Scale lesson plan, is a sort of calibrated magnet which reacts to diverse populations at varying polarities and intensity levels. One’s possible settings range from Repulsion (“€œYou believe they do not belong in your workplace”€) to Appreciation (“€œYou see their differences as positives and enjoy being around these people”€), hitting the branches of Avoidance, Tolerance, and Acceptance along the way. The Tolerance Scale workshop is there to crank the dial on the self till it Appreciates everyone equally.

This is for your own good, Helen: to blend into the diversity of the multicultural monoculture, you must eliminate the diversity of feelings you have toward different types of people. It is not enough to simply put on your game face and be polite when dealing with the public. If you were mature and intelligent enough to engage difficult situations despite your idiosyncrasies, you wouldn’t be at this corporate reeducation camp.
You must internalize the Culture of Inclusion, you must “€œBe the Brand,”€ you must raise your Awareness Spectrum, you must become a Change Agent. The guide to becoming a Change Agent is just a list of chores you must perform in addition to (or instead of?) your actual job: “€œLearn about different cultures by attending cultural events,”€ “€œPut extra effort into finding diverse candidates for jobs, promotions, and teams,”€ and even “€œalways treat others with dignity and respect.”€

That last one blows my friggin”€™ brains out. Should a restaurant manager really have to be told to treat others with dignity and respect? Isn”€™t the ability to deal with people’s differences just a natural quality of a good leader? Why must T.G.I. Fridroids have their psyches pulled apart and reconstructed as if they were made out of Legos?

If a customer had a problem with a gay waiter, I”€™d say, “€œBut sir, don’t you know this is a gay establishment?”€ If a waitress had a problem serving black customers, I”€™d tell her to move to Montana and watch out for old church ladies. But those responses are too human for corporate specs.

In a Culture of Inclusion, managers will make everyone happy and accept everyone, because Change Agents do not discriminate against dollars. Personal decisions are to be made via precise algorithms. Reactions and responses should follow meticulous flowcharts which conclude with all parties smiling and pulling out their wallets. Remember, greed transcends all genders, races, and creeds. At the end of every rainbow is a pot of gold.



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