NYC Mayor Bloomberg Calls For Boycott Of Shady Chinese Restaurant

The Chinese restaurant accused of discriminating in favor of customers who speak Chinese has irked Mayor Bloomberg. “If nobody goes to that restaurant, then they won’t make any money and they’ll go out of business,” Bloomberg told the Daily News.

“It’s unconscionable to use race on any of these things, in terms of what kind of service, or how you charge, or whatever,” Bloomberg said.

“Go patronize a different [restaurant.] Let capitalism work.” According to the Daily News, the city Human Rights Commission determined there was probable cause that discrimination had taken place at the Canal Seafood Restaurant located at 266 Canal St., and referred the case to the office of Administrative Trials and Hearings for a trial. —MEGHANN MARCO

Take yer menu & shove it, Mike tells Chinatown joint [DailyNews] (Thanks, Kalun!)
(Photo: moriza)

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  1. Kornkob says:

    He didn’t call for a ban– he’s talking aobut a boycott. Using economics to close a resturant is successful boycott behavior. Banning would involve legislation which he never mentions.

  2. Pelagius says:

    Yeah! You’re in AMERICA. Speak AMERICAN!

  3. davere says:

    @Pelagius: Actually this is a case where Chinese customers received a different menu with lower prices.

  4. Scazza says:

    Pfft, like this is news. Try going to any “chinatown” in any city, if your not asian, most people won’t even serve you.

    I usually bring a few of my asian friends along with me anytime I need to go so I get the “real” price too. Case and point of this racism:

    Went downtown Toronto to buy some nice looking swords we had seen not too long before. They were priced at 150$ according to the shop keeper (of course, can’t read mandarin so I got no clue what the price on the tag said). We “Haggled” it down to 130 and said sure, sounded good.

    About two weeks later, one of my asian friends decided to get the same swords, so she went, came back with the same one for FORTY FUCKING BUCKS… Supposedly the price on the shelf said “SALE $80″ and was able to haggle it down to 40. Racism ftw.

  5. Meg Marco says:

    @Kornkob: You are correct.

  6. Elaine Chow says:

    I doubt most chinese would listen to Mayor Bloomberg on this matter anyway.

    From what I can tell, my race likes the fact that everyone else is discriminated against and will automatically go to the restaurant with less white people since the food’s less americanized.

    I’ve gone to restaurants with friends who are otherwise the most reasonable and open-minded of people, only to have them sneer openly at all the whiteys ordering “Sesame Chicken.”

  7. Lilyara says:

    I don’t see what’s the big deal.

    Every race/religion/nationality has examples where they take care of/give breaks to members of the same group.

    This is a boo hoo for white people. They are being discriminated against! OH NOEZ. Yet when I make a fuss when a white person and myself go into a store at the same time and the clerk makes a beeline to help the white person — oh I’m just being overly sensitive. Silly me!

  8. Charles Star says:

    He didn’t talk about legislation because there is already legislation in place. NYC Human Rights Law prohibits discriminatory pricing. The administrative hearing mentioned will enforce that law.

    I wouldn’t get my knickers in a twist over this anyway. This appears to be SOP in Hong Kong and any restaurant here that mostly caters to a Chinese crowd. I’ve also seen it done at Spanish-speaking restaurants. In all cases, if you know to ask for the “other” menu, you get the “other” price. Cheap restaurants for the locals squeeze a couple of extra pennies out of the neighborhood tourists. Hardly a capital offense (even if obviously illegal).

  9. Kornkob says:

    @Lilyara: “This is a boo hoo for white people. ” Nice try– but it was a hispanic fella who noticed and drew attention to the practice initally.

  10. bambino says:

    @ Lilyara,
    Just because ‘everyone’ does it, does not mean it’s okay.

    Also, read the post before you open your horrid trap. The customer in question was Hispanic. Your callous disregard for ‘white people’ is indicative of your ignorance.

  11. kerry says:

    @Scazza: This is so false I don’t even know where to begin. Both of the Chinatowns in Chicago are pretty white-people friendly, and in the big Chinatown on the South Side they generally give the full menu to everyone, not just Asians. I’ve also never noticed a price disparity between menus. I’ve had problems at some Thai restaurants with Thai-language menus giving me a hard time when I order, saying “are you sure?” five times after every item, but I’ve never been refused service anywhere, especially not in South Chinatown. The Vietnamese/North Chinatown district tends to not immediately give away the full menu, but they’ve also never refused to serve me. Once a server commented that “white people don’t usually like that” at a Vietnamese restaurant, but brought it to us anyway. (For the record, I liked it.)
    What Chinatown have you been visiting where they don’t serve non-asians?

  12. TedSez says:

    New York City, ethnic food, cultural misunderstandings, big arguments over trivial matters… Wasn’t this a “Seinfeld” episode?

  13. mad_oak says:

    @Scazza Nice use of your ‘friends’. Do you line them up? Hisp friends for Mexican Town, Chin friends for China Town and Afri friends for that good colard greens and bar-b-q joint?

  14. mad_oak says:

    @Scazza: Nice use of your ‘friends’. Do you line them up for dining convenience? Hisp friends for Mexican Town, Chin friends for China town, Afri friends for that good colard greens and barb-b-q place? Nice.

  15. mad_oak says:

    Of course, the comment that wouldn’t post for 10 minutes finally posts when i ‘repost’ it.

  16. bigvicproton says:

    i’ve eaten here. its really a restaurant serving the immigrant chinese community, yeah its not fair, but there are so many other things in NY more not fair and im sure the chinese people eating there can put together a good size list or these things…

  17. Whatever, this is just another “secret menu” like Chipotle’s quasadillas.

    I doubt most non Asians want shark fin soup, chicken feet, tripe, or dog anyway, and if they do they already know how to order it.

  18. Lilyara says:

    @Kornkob:

    I stand corrected. I apologize for my ignorance. But I still stand by my comment that people with similar backgrounds/beliefs take care of other people within that group. I don’t think it’s wrong and I don’t see why it is considered a hot topic.

  19. Hoss says:

    There must be a deli in Shanghai were I can get a discount on a ham on rye. Things even out

  20. rbb says:

    @Lilyara: Nothing wrong with seeking out authentic Chinese cuisine vs. “Americanized” Chinese food. But, charging different prices for the equivalent items is wrong.

    Your friends should be thanking “all the whiteys ordering “Sesame Chicken” because the “whiteys” are probably the ones keeping that restaurant in business.

    Think about it – if it were economically viable to serve 100% authentic Chinese cuisine, don’t you think they would do it? But, very few can because there is simply not enough demand. As a result, the restaurant has to “dumb” down the food to attract customers that will keep them in business. Simple economics.

    Case in point – your friends attending a restaurant that serve sesame chicken to “whiteys.” If that’s the way they feel, don’t patronize the place and instead support a restaurant that serves food that only meets their standards. Or do they continue to frequent the restaurant so they can have their food subidized by the people they openly sneer at…

  21. On the other hand, if chicken feet appear on are priced differently on both English and Chinese menus, that’s f’d up.

  22. Matthew says:

    “The restaurant has denied the allegations, saying it has one menu for takeout and another for customers who eat in the restaurant.”

    Getting copies and finding a translator is too much work for the Daily News.

  23. pillow says:

    you guys worry too much about these matters, its life, sometimes you will get discreminated against, its not some sort of utopian society where we can all walk hand in hand and cats and dogs can be best buddies.

    I would be hard pressed to find a single person who has not at pone point or another during their life, discrimnated against another person based on race, creed, where they went to university, what drink they like, what kind of pet they keep, if they like the frikken Green Bay Packers (no offense to packers fans, just an example)
    Treat people as you would like to be treated by them, then you have done your bit and stop whining about preferential treatment like it has never happened to yourself.

  24. Lilyara says:

    @rbb: I think you mean to direct that comment towards spatuladeity.

    His/Her comment was:
    From what I can tell, my race likes the fact that everyone else is discriminated against and will automatically go to the restaurant with less white people since the food’s less americanized.

    I’ve gone to restaurants with friends who are otherwise the most reasonable and open-minded of people, only to have them sneer openly at all the whiteys ordering “Sesame Chicken.”

    I, on the other hand, commented about similar races/groups giving preferential treatment to their own kind and then made a stupid comment in anger.

    But I wanted to make the point that the way rent/businesses work in Chinatown is pretty isolated and different from the rest of NYC. I think if non-Chinese patrons boycotted the place, it could still be a sucessful business.

  25. Scazza says:

    @mad_oak: Nice try at a mock there. Actually the reason i “get my friends” is because they KNOW it happens and they are friends of mine and don’t like to see people getting treated like shit, so they help me out. If you think it dosn’t happen then your just bloody niave.

    As for this being false, thats great you think that, maybe chicago is some exception, but I have been to quite a few places where I have recieved this type of bullshittery. Hell, theres a place here in toronto called Pacific Mall, where many times I have seen the shop owners sell burnt DVDs for a dollar or two each, yet all the signs say $5 bucks, when I go over… surprise, fucking surprise, its $5 bucks for me. Also happened when I visited new york, and many times my “asian friends” and me joke about how bad it is sometimes. They even say you should never visit hong kong, as they all try to rip off tourists there.

    Also, to the man with the “white guy gets better service in a store”, thats a sad thing, but I think getting cheated out of money and ripped off is a little worse then some white kid making $6/hour going to the white customer first. Don’t get me wrong, all “racism” is wrong…

  26. DesertFox82 says:

    I think Mayor Bloomberg got it right.

    If NYC consumers object to this kind of thing, they shouldn’t frequent the restaurant. If it is being “subsidized by whiteys”, and it looses a lot of “whitey” business, then it will shut down. Or it will change its practices to attract “whiteys” back. If there aren’t enough “whiteys” there to make a difference, then there was no problem to begin with.

    If this kind of response is taken to a larger scale (as the problem has been indicated to be widespread in these comments and those from the original post), and more “whiteys” are left without a good spot for their sesame chicken, then they will constitute a customer base to be attracted by new businesses which treat them the way they want to be treated.

    _That_ is economics at its simplest.

  27. rbb says:

    @Lilyara:

    oops.. my bad (now where’s that blushing smiley icon…) You’re right, I meant to hit the reply to spatualdeity…

  28. Kangarara says:

    I thought the original post said that it was a question of who read/spoke Chinese, not ethnicity.

    Which is still kind of annoying, but at least not technically racist.

    Lots of places have discounts for ‘locals’ (ski hills or tourist attractions where you have to show a valid in state/province driver’s license to get the cheaper price.)

    If you don’t like it, do as the billionaire says…

  29. kerry says:

    @Scazza: I didn’t ask if you got ripped off, I’m 100% positive you have, I’ve been overseas and shopped in predominantly “ethnic” neighborhoods (it’s certainly not just Asians who are guilty of ripping off people who don’t speak their language. White people do it, too), I asked where you had been refused service. You claim it’s common in every Chinatown. Based on experience, they’re more than happy to serve that pickled pig’s foot and take your money, even if they’re laughing at you the entire time.

  30. spanky says:

    @DesertFox82:

    If there aren’t enough “whiteys” there to make a difference, then there was no problem to begin with.

    Ideally, businesses that discriminate like that would lose business because they discriminate, and not just from those who are being discriminated against.

    Realistically, you’re right that a boycott would probably not affect them, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a problem.

    (To be fair, I’m addressing this generally, as I’m not entirely convinced this specific place is charging discriminatory prices. I’d have to know what the menus actually say, and how they’re used, and I don’t know that.)

  31. Wasabe says:

    “If nobody goes to that restaurant, then they won’t make any money and they’ll go out of business,” Bloomberg told the Daily News.

    Wow. That’s the kind of business acumen that only comes from running a billion-dollar company.

  32. poornotignorant says:

    Even though I’m white and have almost always lived in the USA I would so much like to experience food that is eaten in other countries and cultures. I would like that opportunity without having to learn another language. Next time I go to an “ethnic” restaurant, maybe I’ll ask straight out “Can I have some food that you would eat?” and see what happens.

  33. faust1200 says:

    Ok Chinese. Rule one about being American: Do not document your racism!! (i.e. the dual-menu system) While they’re at it they should test the Coke for urine contamination (i.e. “pee-pee”) Yah I know that’s bad, sorry.

  34. itmustbeken says:

    If a resturaunt did this for white customers, there would be hell to pay.
    You’d have Sharpton and his wig all over their front door.

    We should neither excuse or ignore racism of any kind.

    This brings more light to an under current of asian racism that is getting attention. We’ve had a big dust up here in San Francisco where the local Asian paper ran a column entitled (and I’m not kidding) ‘Why I Hate Black People’.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/03/0

  35. Scazza says:

    @kerry: My bad Kerry. I know what I wrote, but in truthfulness, I have only heard of it happening to a few people I know (I know for sure it happened to a middle eastern friend of mine at the same chinatown here in toronto).

    As for me making it out like it was only chinese, man I know thats not true and I am sorry if it came off like that.

  36. RandomHookup says:

    Sounds like the Mayor has been partaking of a little Dinesh D’Souza. It’s okay for a cabbie to ignore a black male, cause it only makes good economic sense.

  37. acambras says:

    There must be a deli in Shanghai were I can get a discount on a ham on rye. Things even out.

    IMHO, Hossofcourse wins for best comment of the thread. ;-)

  38. Weihovah says:

    bloomberg couldn’t care less. he’s just telling the people what they wanna hear. has anyone actually gone there and checked if there are indeed two menus with different prices for the same food? not likely.

    when you get down to it, it’s a misunderstanding, over a freakin bowl of rice, blown out of proportion by someone calling it racism to maximize the attention.

    anyone who’s been to chinatown can tell you most of the waiters are assholes. it doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, brown, red, or yellow. i’m chinese and i get shitty service most of the time unless i’m in a big group-regardless of race-cuz it means they’ll make more money… and even, it’s a toss up. those tourists should stop crying and read citysearch or zagat and find out how to get the deals.

  39. shoegazer says:

    #Everyone’s a little bit racist – sometimes.
    Doesn’t mean we go around committing hate cri-imes.
    Look around and you will find
    No one’s really color blind.
    Maybe it’s a fact
    We all should face
    Everyone makes judgments
    Based on race.

    Princeton: Not big judgments, like who to hire
    or who to buy a newspaper from -

    Kate Monster: No!

    Princeton: No, just little judgments like thinking that Mexican busboys should learn to speak goddamn English!

    Kate Monster: Right!

  40. oringo says:

    I guess nobody has experienced being discriminated for being Chinese in a Chinese restaurant before. Well… I have. Years ago, I took my mother to a Chinese restaurant on a trip. The restaurant looked like a well-established place. We walked in, and a Chinese waitress showed us a table with a cold face. Few minutes later some white people walked in. The same waitress greeted them with a smile and a warm “how are you?” The attitude was drastically different than when she was greeting us. The funny thing was that as soon as she turned to us to take orders, her face turned cold again. It’s like she had two faces! This face change occurred again when she was taking orders from the white people.

    I can’t remember how long it took them to get our order ready, but it was definitely longer than the other table. My mother commented that the waitress probably assumed that Chinese people won’t tip them as much as the white people. Well… I proved her right by not leaving a penny.

  41. Her Grace says:

    @shoegazer:

    I hate you. I was going to do that one.

  42. Tonguetied says:

    @itmustbeken: The same guy wrote a couple more columns “Why I Hate Asians” and “Proof That Whites Inherently Hate Us,”. He sounds a little messed up on the head but seems to be an equal opportunity hater…