Tuesday, October 13, 2009

He's lucky he's cute. And I'm chicken.

Something said by a bar manager during a bar training session held at my place of work still bothers me and sort of illustrates perfectly why I loathe hospitality so much sometimes. Our trainer Ashley was explaining that when serving certain beers you shouldn’t pour all the way to the top of the glass, because some ‘beer connoisseurs’ (I know. I know.) like to have nose space in order to adequately discern the fragrance of the beer. According to Ashley, though, some customers don’t display the same levels of refinement:

“You sort of have to read the customer, like if you serve a beer like that to a New Zealander they’ll be all like, ‘What are you doing, top it up bro!’ But that’s just a lack of education.”


Ashley, despite the fact I have a huge crush on you I must tell you that was an incredibly arrogant privileged classist and yes, racist thing to say (given that the accent you put on while imitating a New Zealander was of the exaggerated Maori type).

Here’s the thing. I could go through an entire PHD scholarship and never come across information pertaining to the manner in which I must drink some obscure beer in order to appreciate its subtle finery. If you were to then call me uneducated using a single encounter in some pompous bar as your evidence, I would probably throw that beer in your face.

You seem quite intelligent and despite a bit of industry arrogance you are quite a nice guy. But you’re hardly the most educated person I know. Some respect for others wouldn’t go astray.

It is so offensive to call anybody uneducated. It implies a smug superiority and usually plays on old stereotypes regarding class and race. These are still very real inequalities that affect people – class and/or race can decide whether an underprivileged person can or can’t access education.

Given that you were not talking about issues affecting society, but the way to enjoy some pretentious beer, makes the ‘lack of education’ slur doubly offensive. Some perspective, please.

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