Dining while black can be a frustrating experience. There’s always that nagging suspicion that being on the receiving end of poor service is due in part to your race. Sadly, for a mother and her 9-year-old son, it was blatantly clear why they were being discriminated against at a Baltimore restaurant.
NBC News reports that Marcia Grant was at Ouzo Bay when she was denied service because of the way her son was dressed. Her son was wearing an Air Jordan shirt and a pair of athletic shorts, which apparently went against the restaurant’s dress code. In a video Grant recorded of the incident, a white manager at the restaurant informs her of the dress code. Grant pans the camera over to a white child wearing similar attire as her son who is leaving with his family after having been served. The manager then says he didn’t get a look at the child.
Grant expressed her dismay at the situation on Facebook. “I have faced racism time and time again, but it’s hard AF, when you have to see your child (9yo) upset because he knows he’s being treated different [than] a white child!!!” Grant wrote.
Atlas Restaurant Group, which owns Ouzo Bay, has called the video “disturbing.” “This should never have happened, the manager seen in the video has been placed on indefinite leave. We are sickened by this incident. We sincerely apologize to Marcia Grant, her son and everyone impacted by this painful incident.” a statement released by the company said. The company went on to say that they would be making changes to their dress code that would exclude children 12 and under. “While dress codes across Atlas properties are the result of ongoing input from customers, in no way are they intended to be discriminatory.” the statement continued.
This isn’t the first time an Atlas restaurant has garnered controversy over its use of dress codes. Last September, a dress code implemented at The Choptank banned “baggy clothing, sunglasses after dark and bandanas.” According to the Associated Press, the restaurant would go on to change the dress code after backlash.