Ã¯Â¿Â½PAGE Ã¯Â¿Â½ Ã¯Â¿Â½PAGE Ã¯Â¿Â½2Ã¯Â¿Â½ Racial Discrimination
Running Head: RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
The account of the behavior endured by African-American customers in these restaurants is terrible," said attorney David Sanford, who filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Rome, Ga., on Dec. 13. "It can't be the case that Cracker Barrel doesn't know about it. We have sufficient proof correct now to propose that Cracker Barrel, to the very highest level, is responsible." The company denies the accusations. (Arthur, 1991)
As I said, I've by no means been in a Cracker Barrel restaurant, though I've passed by them many times during my travels throughout the South. I've forever been turned off by the name, which I suppose is meant to evoke down-home cooking; it always makes me think of bland processed cheese. For one more, "cracker" carries an unfortunate association with good old Southern-redneck hospitality.
"Yeah, right," I used to quip when my children clamored that we stop at Cracker Barrel to eat. "We go in there for flapjacks and end up dangling from some tree." But I know black families who make a meal at Cracker Barrel part of their traveling routine, and they were stunned by the accusations of racism and discrimination lodged against their favorite Southern restaurant. Their experiences, they say, have always been positive. They say the food is wholesome and delicious and that Cracker Barrel staff, no matter how harried, has always treated them courteously. Their accounts are impossible to reconcile with the corporate culture of bigotry described by the plaintiffs. So which practice represents the norm at Cracker Barrel? Can such questions ever be truly resolved in a courtroom? Indeed, news of the accusations set off a lively little debate about whether such class-action discrimination lawsuits are appropriate,