The term revelations is most often associated with the Biblical book of the same name in which God reveals the long-hidden truth to the peoples of Earth. In modern times, many truths regarding the nature of racism in America have come to light, seemingly exacerbated by the election of President Barack Obama as the first president of African descent to be elected in the United States back in 2008. Much of the narrative has to do with individuals who engage in institutional racism yet swear on their Aunt Petunia’s good foot that racism or prejudice have nothing to do with their actions. However individuals familiar with the many ways in which racism can permeate business, housing and all aspects of American society have to consistently put out these fires of ignorance. One such fire is blazing in Charlotte, North Carolina at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel as these words are being typed.
According to the Charlotte Observer, hotel patron Patrice Wright and her husband frequently enjoy drinks and snacks at the hotel but were taken aback by a surcharge added to their bill that added 15% to their bill.
“When she brought the receipt, there was a CIAA surcharge that was included,” Wright told WBTV. “And we thought that’s interesting because we have frequented the establishment several times and never had any surcharge that was associated with any organization that was in town.”
For the unenlightened, the CIAA stands for the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and its members compete on the Division II level of college basketball. Such storied HBCU programs as Livingstone College, Winston Salem State University, Fayetteville State, Virginia State, Bowie State and many others. For many Black folks, attending the CIAA tournament is an opportunity to support historically black collegiate athletic programs and to be around alumni as well. This year’s tournament took place in Charlotte, North Carolina between February 26 and February 28.
We spoke with Lut Williams of The Black College Sports Page about the CIAA Tournament and the controversy that's brewing down in Charlotte around the Tournament.
So, why a tax on the majority Black CIAA tournament?
In an email to WBTV, the hotel said, “Due to the size of the CIAA event, we instituted a modest 15% service charge for our lobby beverage servers, on whom the event places significant demands throughout the weekend.”
So, what are the significant demands that CIAA attendees would present to beverage servers that say attendees of the ACC tournament would not present? Well, the majority of the CIAA fans are Black, and the ACC tournament fans would like be mostly White. The stereotypes of Black people being stingy with tipping, whether justifiable or not, wreak of institutionalized racism. How the Ritz-Carlton’s management didn’t abort this idea immediately raises many questions.
The Observer says that WBTV asked if the hotel has a service charge for other big events in the city and if there was a service charge for the 2014 CIAA. Hotel management didn’t answer those questions.
Though she and her husband were not informed of a CIAA gratuity before or after the check arrived, Ms. Wright told WBTV that she and her husband added a gratuity in addition to the surcharge.
“We left a gratuity in addition to the CIAA surcharge,” she said. “I’ve been to several different conventions and conferences, and we went to the Ritz and I’ve never seen that before. And if they had to do it, it should be blanket. It should not be identified by CIAA.”
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel has yet to respond to the outcry. The Shadow League tries really hard not to run around throwing the word racism for every little misunderstanding. However, in this instance, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, flies south for the winter, and follows the elderly around the local ponds looking for bread crumbs, then it ain’t an eagle.
And even though more will be coming on this situation in Charlotte, we still gotta' call it what it is.