It's not easy working in the service industry. That's a fact of life, every day presents a new array of (largely interpersonal) challenges from customers to coworkers, accidents, emergencies, and happenstance—that's the unpredictability of working in restaurants—but racism should not be one of them. 

And yet it is.

What proof is exists of that, you ask? Well, the recent experience of Virgia Beach IHOP server Rachel Mau for starters. Just last weekend Mau, who is of Filipino descent, claims that she served a table of high school age patrons who left her no tip on what ended up being a tab exceeding $100. What's worse yet are the notes she found scribbled on the receipts. 

One read, "build that wall, Trump Daddy" and another read "nah."

Sure the restaurant was busy, sure their food might have taken longer than usual to arrive at their table. Sure, they even have a right not to tip Mau if they feel like their service was bad (although if you know anything about the American economy, wages in the restaurant industry, or human decency, you know that's it's morally repugnant to stiff someone with no tip whatsoever, unless, say, they racially abused you), but they do not have the right to dish out hateful speech or dismissive language dripping with racist undertones. 

But this isn't just about a racist comment or two or pointing a boogeyman finger, this is about the entitled, classist attitude behind the comments and the social implications of human decency run amuck. 

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Ever heard the phrase "put your money where your mouth is?" Well, if indeed you do think it would be helpful to the United States to build an expensive, ineffective, frankly ridiculous joke of a wall (to fix political and social issues you clearly don't understand), I don't see how stiffing a hard-working server at your local pancake house will accomplish that. Putting your money where your mouth is to "make America great again"—sorry, I need to pause for a lengthy cringe—would be to tip your server and participate in the American economy as a productive member of society. 

Presumably they won't be able to graduate high school without a passing grade in American history, but I sincerely hope that their teachers, and all teachers, take their lessons through present day politics...Or we're all f*cked. 

In the grand scheme of things, Rachel Mau's life will not come to an abrupt end because of this instance. Indeed she will most definitely continue to grow as a human who is able to find strength in spite of (and because of) interactions with fellow citizens—a glass-half-full side effect that anyone who has experienced discrimination knows all too well. But that's not the point.

The point is that there are teenagers—yeah, the future of this country—running around thinking they can, a) treat other humans like garbage, b) jump on political bandwagons based on disgustingly simplistic and flatly wrong ideas about race relations in a country that is one of the largest melting pots in the world, and c) think that they have a right to abuse whoever they want for whatever reasons they deem appropriate. 

This is one of far too many instances reported by food industry staff members who have been stiffed by, and suffered written and verbal abuse from, customers with empowered, racist beliefs over the past several years. Don't believe me? Google it. Remember that time—also in Virginia—an American server of Mexican and Honduran heritage found a note that read "we only tip citizens" on a check left at one of her tables? I do.

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These instances aren't just one-off moments, they're not unfortunate, occasional manifestations of lingering racist sentiments that no longer influence widespread social interactions across the county. These are what Jenée Desmond-Harris of Vox calls data points "in a growing list of recent examples in which explicit racism appears to be getting a pass, a platform, or even a reward in contexts where it once seemed safe to assume that this would be out of the question."

And she's right, we live in a time where citizens feel empowered to express intolerance and exhibit abusive behavior without fear of consequence. Blame the presidential election, blame the alt-right, blame Fox News, blame whoever you want. The bottom line still comes down to the fact that we should all be scared people aren't afraid of so blatantly and hatefully disrespecting each other.

And so, I have one question for this particularly racist group of Virginia Beach teenagers.

Who the f*ck do you think you are?