Kaitlyn Mason cries at a rally supporting her quest for a job
21 year old Kaitlyn Mason is suing the Afro-Soul diner in Dearborn Michigan, alleging that they “reverse discriminated” against her by not hiring her for a waitress position.
Mason, who admits she has no prior waitress experience, applied for the position after being fired from a local CVS for stealing from the register. Voletta Price, the owner of the diner, says she didn’t know about the theft–or Mason’s race–while viewing her resume, and that Mason wasn’t called for an interview because she wasn’t as qualified as the other candidates.
Mason says she doesn’t believe Price, noting that the Afro-Soul diner is being “racist” in not giving her an interview.
The Afro-soul diner is a disco-themed restaurant, with all of the waitresses, mostly Black women, adorning Afro hair styles characteristic of the 1970s. The diner has been in business for over 22 years, and Mason is the first to complain of the policy.
“Why does it have to be Afro soul? They’d be mad if I made a pig tail soul restaurant,” Mason surmises.
Her story was first reported in a controversial breaking news segment that interrupted Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign speech on Monday. 3 of the 4 major networks left Sanders’ speech and cut to news of Mason’s job hunt. Social media site Twitter experienced a temporary shutdown, as angry users posted their outrage at once.
Many opined that Mason’s story wasn’t worthy of national news, much less breaking national news in lieu of a presidential candidate’s speech. Nevertheless, Mason’s plight has reached national consciousness, even leading her to the oval office.
Mason met with President Obama on Thursday to discuss her belief that she was being denied her “right” to work. Obama has faced criticism from many civil rights organizations for seeing Mason, but was resolute in his intentions.
“Kaitlyn thinks her civil rights have been violated, so it’s a matter of national harmony that we at least discuss her concerns,” Barack Obama said on the steps of the white house. Mason was standing next to him, in tears as she plead for the “chance to work.” She notes that she has only applied to three other positions, but “really wanted” to work at Afro-Soul because she’s always loved their fried chicken.
“I’m willing to sacrifice. I can get an afro wig! I’ll wear Black face,” she said.
Outraged supporters defended Mason on Twitter. Media personality Stacey Dash tweeted, “she’s willing to wear Black face for the job! Let her put it on and work!” A Change.org petition reached over 400 thousand signatures yesterday, over four times that of Michael Moore’s climate change petition, which was posted the same day.
Price is unfazed by the groundswell of attention to Mason’s cause, noting she “doesn’t know what people want [her] to do.”
“The girl is unqualified, she stole from her last job, and she doesn’t fit the desired aesthetic for the cafe.”
Dearborn citizens had a “right-to-interview” rally for Mason and have staged a boycott of the diner, but the mostly white demographic of the boycotters hasn’t affected the business. Price notes that white residents rarely patronize her restaurant anyway.
“It’s nice to have something for us,” Price said via e-mail.
When told of Price’s comments, Mason said “am I not one of ‘us?’ I want to be, and I have a right to be!”
TV Host Ellen DeGeneres has invited Mason to her show next week, where it’s rumored that Mason will receive a “sizable” check and an assistant regional manager position at Burger King.