Is Discrimination Wrong ?

A clever holiday display from Veselka in New York's East Village. Photo: Allan Stevo

A clever holiday display from Veselka in New York’s East Village.

In Defense of the Customer

September 10, 2017

Allan Stevo

Last night I went to my favorite Slavic restaurant in the United States, where I have all of my favorite servers. For some reason I ended up with a Jamal serving me, some guy I never met before.

I don’t go to that restaurant for Moroccan tagine or Tex-mex fajitas or some generic American food like corned beef hash, I go there to feel more in touch with my Slavic roots and to eat some of the soul food of the Slavic kitchen.

I want that to be accomplished by a Vitali or a Piotr or a Jano, or at least some guy who’s trying. Though I recognize that there are Slavs named Jamal, and that Bosnia is Muslim and Slavic, the Middle Eastern Jamal doesn’t fit that restaurant or my needs when I walk into that door. He’d be great at some personality-less Denny’s or at a place that isn’t a cultural experience for me. He would also be great in a place where I want Muslim culture, especially Middle Eastern Muslim as opposed to Nigerian Muslim culture or Pakistani Muslim culture. But ultimately, for the reasons I step foot in that place, Jamal does not belong at a Slavic restaurant.

Is that wrong of me to say? Absolutely not. I know what I want and need and if I keep getting a Jamal I’ll just stop going to that restaurant. Discrimination is good. It is proper. It is the act of distinguishing between a greater experience and a lesser experience and stating an interest in moving toward the greater.

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Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

Photo credit: Allan Stevo

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