So I live on W 138th in Harlem and there is a greasy spoon called, Jimbo's Burger Palace, on 137th and Lenox. All the staff inside the restaurant is either Mexican or Latino/a. Like two weeks ago I saw a hand-made sign that was calling for a "boycott" of the Jimbo's. Now, I feel that perhaps because they primarily service the black community in Harlem, there should be an African-American or Black-American in the restaurant as well. My girlfriend, the Panda, thinks that that shouldn't matter and says, justifiably, that they can hire whoever the hell they want; they just can't pick and choose who they want to serve.
Now, because the neighborhood where I live is predominantely black, then I thought that this might be an interesting thing to explore. I mean, is it right for only Vietnamese to work in a restaurant that is predominantely Dominican. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 "prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin." But I don't find support here for hiring someone based on their culture, which is an aggregate of all the criteria in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Because the owner of a restaurant is a certain culture, does he or she have the right to hire people only of that culture.
As more and more non-blacks populate Harlem, I foresee this problem becoming stickier and sticker. For now, though, I would advise anyone, tourist or otherwise, to eat at Jimbo's because their turkey burgers are divine. Just one turkey burger can fill a moderate size room up with delectable grease fumes. Everything on the menu is pretty damn good, in relation to its price. Just today, I got two bacon, egg, and cheeses for less than seven bucks. Because of the proliferation and predeliction in Harlem for cheap Chinese restaurants and Palaces of Fried Food (Kennedy Fried Chicken, etc.) Jimbo's is a welcome and totally functional part of the neighborhood.
Which makes me think of Super Magic Laundry and how all the employees are Chinese and no one has said anything. I mean, if this emotion extends to restaurants, then why shouldn't it extend to laundromats, clothing stores, and supermarkets. I mean at the Met Supermarkets the cashiers are predominantely Dominican and Senegalese and no one says anything. Is Jimbo's being unjustly dealt a dose of race relations. Why Jimbo's?
Needless to say, since seeing the signs, Jimbo's has hired a black waitress. Which I guess says something about the pressures of affirmative action even in an racial or ethnic enclave.
Que Viva Jimbo's Burger Palace!!!!!
A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.