Instances of discrimination against people of Chinese descent have been on the rise recently in the United States. Whereas some are getting punched in the face for speaking Mandarin in public, others are apparently being mocked for their accent when speaking English. You just can’t win.
Last month, Chinese American mom, Peiyin Shih, visited a Dunkin’ Donuts store in Forrest Hills, New York, along with her one-year-old son and his nanny. Rather than getting a delicious chocolate donut, she instead got humiliated by an employee there. Later, she described her experience in a Facebook post on Dunkin’ Donuts page:
For those without VPNs:
Hi, I went to this Dunkin Donuts located at 100-05 Queens Blvd, Forest Hills, NY 11375 with my nanny & my one year old son today 5/30/2016 at 3:38pm. Besides juice & hot chocolate, we order Glazed chocolate donut. Staff Yaibur R. told me that I have to say the whole name of the donut. I point it to him & tell him that I want the “glazed chocolate donut” with a accent. He is like “What? What are you saying?” I point it again & say “that chocolate donut.” He does not even want to look & help me. He just look at me & say “you have to say the whole name of the donut.” I say why should I say the whole name. You already know what I want. You just want to make fun of me. He said you just have to say it in order to order it. I said I want to talk to your manager. He said you don’t have to see the manager. Manager is not here. You think he will be here all the time. He has home. Today is holiday. He has to go home. I say what is your name? He point his name tag & say “Here is my name. Do you know how to say it?” I insist to see the manager. Of course that staff ignore me. And then, this customer start to scream at me. When I start to use my phone to record, that Dunkin staff finally stop making fun of me. But this customer start to approach me & scream at me saying that he is going to take my phone away & throw it outside of window. I say don’t touch me. I am calling the police. The customer even say that I must be illegal. How humiliated. The staff is just standing there laughing. Doing nothing. I called the police. This guy keep making fun of me before he run away. He even call the police & tell them that i am just a Chinese lady who doesn’t like the Dunkin personnal’s attitude. Language violence? Discrimination? Bully the women with a children? Is this represent Dunkin Donus? This behavior of discrimination & arrogant is unacceptable.
That post has since gained 31,000 likes and over 16,000 shares. Dunkin’ Donuts responded within 30 minutes of Shih making the post:
Shih also posted an image of the customer that she says threatened to throw her phone out the window.
Last week the story went viral on overseas Chinese media and was even covered by mainland Chinese and Hong Kong news outlets. The unholy backlash has descended upon Dunkin’ Donuts Facebok page, which has been inundated with angry comments and complaints from Facebook users of Chinese descent. The top comment under Dunkin’ Donuts most recent Facebook post is an AsAm News article about the incident. Underneath, Dunkin’ Donuts has responded:
At Dunkin’ Donuts, our goal is to make all guests feel welcome at Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants. The type of conduct alleged by a franchisee’s crew member in no way represents our company’s strong commitment to the fair treatment and well-being of all guests. The franchisee who owns and operates this location has informed us they looked into the situation and reached out to the guest to resolve the matter. The franchisee has also informed us that the crew member no longer works for his organization.
Despite this statement, angry commentators are undeterred, condemning the company for refusing to issue an official apology for the incident.
One wrote: “Is it that difficult (for your) company (to) say SORRY?”
Another commented: “Thank you so much for uniting all the Chinese in the world! It’s such a hard task!”
Another responded: “All of these employees should be dismissed, and concerned citizens should boycott Dunkin’ Doughnuts.”
So many things to boycott, so little time.
By Arnie Yung
[Images via Facebook]