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Chinese restaurant must pay Black patron $10,000 for making him pay for food ahead of time

Toronto, Canada

Carol Ozemhoya| OW Contributor | 5/2/2018, 10:28 a.m.
If you think racism runs rampant against people of color only in the U.S., think again. A popular..

If you think racism runs rampant against people of color only in the U.S., think again. A popular Chinese restaurant in Toronto, Canada, has been ordered to pay a Black customer $10,000 after it made him and his three friends pay for their food before it was served, reports ABC News. The order came from a Canadian government human rights tribune, which declared that the Hong Shing Chinese restaurant discriminated against Emile Wickham, 31, and three companions. The incident happened May 3, 2014, when Wickham and his three friends, all Black, went there to celebrate his birthday. Wickham noticed they were the only ones asked to pay for their food ahead of time, so he filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribune of Ontario. “In this case, I find that the applicant was racially profiled on the day in question,” the tribunal wrote in a ruling released on Monday. In his complaint, Wickham wrote that he had never eaten at the restaurant prior to dining there on his birthday. He wrote that shortly after being seated, “The server told them that they would need to pay in advance of being served their meals.” “They asked the server whether this was necessary, and he said that it was their policy,” according to Wickham's statement to the tribunal. In response to Wickham's complaint, the restaurant told the tribunal that it had instituted the policy due to a rash of “dine and dash” customers. Wickham and his friends complied with the request to prepay, but Wickham said in his complaint that “it did not sit well with him.” He said he spoke to several groups dining at the restaurant and learned that none of them was asked to pay for their meals in advance. Wickham immigrated to Canada from Trinidad and Tobago when he was 20 years old, and at the time of the incident, he was a sociology student at York University in Toronto and worked as an usher at the Ontario Legislative Assembly, according to the tribunal's ruling. “Consequently, he says that his lived experience is such that he did not encounter a great deal of anti-Black racism prior to coming to Canada,” the tribunal's ruling states. “He testified that he was not used to being treated like a second-class citizen because of his race, and was not accustomed to having negative behavior being attributed to him given his skin color. Colin Li, owner and manager of the Hong Shing restaurant, released a statement Monday, saying, “We are deeply concerned about the situation and the people affected.”