As some of you know, I work in a restaurant. I’m a server. I get to deal with douchebag customers every day, so I am mostly pretty desensitized to it. But today I had a lady that just floored me with her douchbaggery, and it’s not the first time I’ve heard someone say this, so I really feel like it’s time to step up and call this horrible practice out.
I was taking drink orders at a table of African-American folks. One elderly lady asks for “A lemonade mixed with iced tea”, a rather cumbersome way to order a common drink better known as an Arnold Palmer. In fact, I couldn’t even figure out what she was saying the first time (it’s pretty loud in my restaurant) and when she said it again I reply with, “Oh, an Arnold Palmer.”
She wags her finger at me, “No, a Tiger Woods.” OK, like I said, I’ve heard that one before and I know full well why she is calling it a “Tiger Woods”. Because Tiger Woods is black, and Arnold Palmer is white. Yes, really.
It’s called an Arnold Palmer because Arnold Palmer basically invented it. Even if he wasn’t the first man ever to mix iced tea and lemonade, he was the one who made it famous. It doesn’t matter if he is white, black, fuschia, or teal. Tiger Woods, on the other hand, did not invent the Arnold Palmer. I don’t know if Tiger Woods drinks Arnold Palmers or not, but I bet you if he does when he orders them he says, “I’ll have an Arnold Palmer”. If Michael Jordan invented a drink, and I went into a restaurant I wouldn’t say “I’ll have a Michael Jordan, except I call it a Larry Bird because Larry Bird is white, like me.”
This, to me, shows me right off the bat that this person is a stupid Anglophobe. And guess what? I’m white! I serve black people all the time, but it kind of makes me uncomfortable when someone like this basically professes their ignorant disdain for my race and I’m still stuck serving them margaritas. It feels genuinely insulting. And when she said that, of course I didn’t tell her what I really thought of the term because I was still hoping to get a tip - that’s why I’m there, right? (for the record, they did end up giving me a 15% tip) But it’s bugging me enough that the next time I hear it, I am going to set the record straight (in a polite, factual way of course), tip be damned.