Race Money Now + Beyond

The origins of tipping at American restaurants are rooted in racism

In the United States, it’s a common custom within the service and hospitality industry to tip waged workers. The federal minimum wage for tipped workers in the US is $2.13, compared to the main federal minimum wage which is $7.25, and has remained just short of two dollars for many decades.

People have been critical of the exploitative practice of tipping for years. The critiques mostly surround corporations utilization of tipping to legally get away with paying their workers an unlivable wageEssentially, customers are responsible for paying restaurant worker’s wages through tips.

And although tipping is optional, many Americans view not tipping service workers as rude or unethical due to their low wages. The other spectrum of people’s critiques simply highlights how grossly low and unethical paying individuals $2.13 is.

Restaurant workers are more likely to live below the poverty line than the general population, and that likelihood increases depending on things like race and gender. Activists have been trying to raise the minimum wage for hourly workers for decades. The Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, would additionally raise the minimum wage for tipped workers for the first time in almost three decades.

American capitalism makes our economy inherently unethical and predatory.

The stagnation of wages for tipped workers is itself abhorrent and a clear illustration of how predatory capitalism is on lower-income and working-class people. Workers’ wages being reliant upon (optional) tips from customers, rather than a guaranteed right from million or billion-dollar corporations is unethical. However, upon an even deeper examination into the custom of tipping in the US, its history is more corrupt than most know. 

Tipping actually originated in “medieval times as a master-serf custom wherein a servant would receive extra money for having performed superbly well,” Rachel E. Greenspan explains in an article for TIME. In the mid-1800s, wealthy Americans discovered the concept of tipping after travels to Europe and brought the custom to the states in order to seem dignified and well-traveled. 

The custom stuck in the Post Reconstruction Era, after slavery “ended,” as a way to opt-out of paying Black people who were now looking for work. Restaurants would pay Black workers little to nothing and forced them to rely on (optional) tips from white clientele, which “entrenched a unique and often racialized class structure in service jobs, in which [Black] workers must please both customer and employer to earn anything at all,” says Dr William J. Barber II in an article for Politico. Thus, legally continuing the practice of slavery but in a re-imagined way.

The custom was nationally unpopular for a while and only a custom done in the South because many people felt forcing customers to tip was condescending and classist. People thought it cruel to suggest poor people should give an additional amount of money on top of their bill. As a result, some states even made laws against the practice.

Additionally, tipping was thought to be a concept reserved only for Black workers, whereas white workers deserved to be fairly paid for their work. However, as Black people began moving north for economic opportunity and to escape segregationist laws, the custom of tipping followed, becoming the national standard within the US’s restaurant industry.

It’s imperative to know the history behind malpractices deemed as “normal.”

Fast forward to today, conversations (or arguments) surrounding the ethics of tipping at American restaurants occur often on social media between wait staff and restaurant workers and restaurant-goers. I’ve always found these discussions to be futile because the ethics of greedy corporations are never questioned, which in turn produces no real, systemic change for waged workers.

Rev. Dr William J. Barber II further states in his article, “We may live in a very different society from 150 years ago, but the subminimum tipped wage still exacerbates the inequalities passed down from that time.”

American capitalism makes our economy inherently unethical and predatory. So, rather than people regularly arguing amongst each other on whether working-class people are responsible for paying the wages of other working-class people, we should be collectively challenging our government to pay us livable wages.

Although the history of tipping in America is racist, raising the federal minimum wage benefits all working-class people regardless of race. Thankfully, an organization of restaurant industry leaders called Restaurants Advancing Industry Standards in Employment (RAISE) was founded in 2019 to champion living wages, basic benefits, and fair promotion policies for waged workers in the restaurant industry.

In addition, wages for hourly workers reliant on tips are being raised in isolated policies across the states like in Michigan or Washington DC. However, there obviously needs to be a national standard that correlates with the cost of living in America.

With racism being examined so closely this year, it’s imperative to know the history behind malpractices deemed as “normal.” And instead, challenge or dismantle those norms to begin building an economy that equally serves all.

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USA Editor's Picks World News Coronavirus The World

21 wholesome and heartwarming things that happened this year

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been quite the year. I’m talking garbage trash fire kind of year. Amidst the devastating news, exposed issues, and various crises, we could all do with a dose of positivity. So I’ve gathered a number of heartwarming, wholesome, good news that’s happened this year.

1. Tattletales from Tanqueray


View this post on Instagram


2.A post shared by Humans of New York (@humansofny)

Brandon Stanton, the founder of Humans of New York, caused quite a stir when he shared Tanqueray’s story, where she talks about her experience as a stripper in the sixties.  After their initial meeting, Tanqueray (real name Stephanie) shared her life story with Stanton, who planned to turn her tale into a podcast. But when Stephanie’s health worsened, he shared her stories over a 32-post series named “Tattletales from Tanqueray”, to raise money for her care and trust. Let me tell you; her story has some TEA. Between wayward presidents, lost loves, and flirty celebrities, her intriguing tales delve into the intricacies of New York City’s nightclub scene. Fans rallied around her stories and raised 2.65 million dollars for her trust. Although the fundraising campaign is over, I encourage you to read her story; it’s truly remarkable. 

2. Tabitha Brown serving us wholesome content

Amid the chaos that was 2020, Tabitha Brown has been blessing our feeds with her online presence documenting her journey on a plant-based diet. From her quirky Tik Toks to her uplifting videos, Brown’s mission to spread love and light has certainly been one of the brighter parts of the year. We stan a joyful queen, and that’s our business.

3. Goats about town

As lockdown has kept many indoors, some animals have taken the opportunity to explore the undisturbed outdoors. In the town of Llandudno, Wales, the goats have taken it upon themselves to roam the streets. Want to see more of the frolicking fuzzies? Check out this thread.

4. A legend playing this uplifting song…

Yo-Yo Ma, the legendary cellist, released a new album with British pianist Kathryn Scott, titled ‘Songs of Comfort and Hope’. The album was inspired by the cellist’s quarantine performances; using the hashtag #SongsofComfort, he tweeted clips of himself playing a collection of popular songs and new tunes in a bid to uplift people during anxious times. With his uplifting tunes, Ma reached millions of people. I don’t know about you, but watching these musicians peacefully do their thing certainly puts a smile on my face.

5. Dancing in the streets

The Dance Theater of Harlem went viral earlier this year when they posted a video, showing beautiful ballerinas leaping through the streets of New York. Created for Harlem Week and the African American Day parade, the choreography features eight of the company members. Five minutes of perfection, if you ask me.

6. … and around the city

Likewise, a violinist and a ballerina decided to take advantage of Amsterdam’s empty streets. They collaborated to make a beautiful video to spread hope to others through their art. So beautiful.

7. An adorable stowaway

A saw-whet owl is being held by a worker wearing a lime green hoodie
[A saw-whet owl is being held by a worker wearing a lime green hoodie], via Reuters
When workers were transporting the Rockefeller City Christmas Tree for its annual stint, they found a stowaway— a saw-whet owl. The feathered friend, now named Rockefeller, was taken to a wildlife shelter and has now been released into the wild. After the dismal comments about the state of this year’s tree, this little cutie certainly brightened things up.

8. Senior Socials

An old man and woman standing together in front of green foliage
[An old man and woman standing together in front of green foliage]
Since lockdown began, many seniors have found themselves unable to connect with friends and family. To combat this social isolation, various programs have been started to connect seniors with volunteers on the phone. For many seniors, these calls have been a ray of light in their lonely communities. Just imagine all the wholesome conversations being had!

9. A lonely elephant is lonely no more

Kaavan the elephant's trunk, touching the trunk of another elephant
[Kaavan the elephant’s trunk, touching the trunk of another elephant], via Four Paws
Kaavan, also known as the world’s loneliest elephant, has finally made a new friend. After decades spent living alone in poor conditions, the elephant was transported to Cambodia’s wildlife sanctuary, where he’ll spend the rest of his days roaming around in a freer space, with other elephants to keep him company.

10. A new take on album art

Residents of Sydmar Care Home found some creative ways to have fun during the lockdown. Their activities manager, Robert Speker organized an activity where the residents posed for photos to recreate classic album covers. Each picture even had a personal touch for the resident, and the caretakers too part as well. The fun pictures went viral, to an overwhelmingly positive response from people. From Adele to Bowie, these seniors sure know how to have a good time.

11. Reindeer contemplating nature

If you’re struggling with deciding whether to focus on the beautiful sky or the beautiful reindeer, I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone.

12. Dwayne Wade’s reaction to a proposal


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A post shared by SportsCenter (@sportscenter)

This couple in the middle of an adorable engagement got quite the surprise when an unsuspecting guest strolled by— former NBA superstar Dwayne Wade. After walking by, he joined in on some of their photos and congratulated them on social media.  Dwayne Wade’s reaction is the literal definition of wholesome.

13. These students planning a sweet surprise

@vizzywapduring these tough times it’s important to show extra appreciation! #fyp #foryoupage #zoom #dontletthisflop #college #covid #professor #thankyou♬ original sound – James Blake

The pandemic has certainly had an impact on education, with many schools opting for virtual programs. Teachers have been a large part of helping students adapt to the new learning modes. So after a semester of teaching students virtually, this class planned a sweet way to thank their teacher. Because not all heroes wear capes.

14. Time Magazine named its first ‘Kid of the Year’

Gutanjali Rao wearing a lab coat and sitting on a white cube
[Gutanjali Rao wearing a lab coat and sitting on a white cube], via Sharif Hamza for TIME
In a partnership with Nickolodeon, Time Magazine awarded its first prize from a pool of 5000 young leaders and changemakers. The winner, Gitanjali Rao, is a fifteen-year-old scientist and inventor whose work spans from combatting cyberbullying to detecting water pollution. She hopes to create a global community of young creators who will change the world. This young queen is certainly going places!

15. Italians making the best of lockdown

Earlier this year, when Italy went on lockdown, its citizens still found a way to connect joyfully with each other—through music. Neighbors turned their balconies and rooftops into concert venues, serenading others with ballads or belting out songs together. All over the country, people used the power of music to lift spirits and stay connected.

16. The first IVF cheetah cubs were born

A cheetah cub
[A cheetah cub], via Grahm S. Jones.
These cheetahs aren’t only special because they’re so adorable. They are also the first cubs successfully born via IVF. This is seen as a breakthrough for the scientific community, especially because this is the third attempt, but first success. Cheetahs have been classified as a vulnerable species, but due to habitat destruction, hunting, and other conflicts, they are nearing endangerment. This development could potentially pave the way to help the cheetah population.

17. A sweet chain reaction

The back of a car with bright tail lights going through a drive-trhu
[The back of a car with bright tail lights going through a drive-thru, via Erik Mclean on Pexels
Earlier this week, a customer at a Dairy Queen drive-through decided to pay for the customer behind him. This kind act sparked a chain of giving, where over 900 cars chose to pay for the customers behind them. People found out about what was happening and started visiting that particularly Dairy Queen just to keep the chain going.

18. The adventures of Sapphire the fairy

This heartwarming thread by photographer Kelly Victoria went viral, and for good reason. On a stroll one day, Kelly came across a fairy garden set up by a four-year-old wanting to spread some cheer. So Kelly wrote the little girl a letter, pretending to be a fairy named Sapphire. And thus began a regular correspondence that boomed into a magical friendship. This wholesome interaction is truly definitely the stuff of fairytales.

19. Good vibes

@420doggface208Morning vibe #420souljahz #ec #feelinggood #h2o #cloud9 #happyhippie #worldpeace #king #peaceup #merch #tacos #waterislife #high #morning #710 #cloud9♬ Dreams (2004 Remaster) – Fleetwood Mac

Tik Tok star Nathan Apodaca, aka Doggface, started a wave on the Internet when he posted this clip of his commute to work after his car broke down. The video went viral, starting a trend where others grabbed their skateboards and a bottle of Ocean Spray Cranberry juice. It even caught the attention of Ocean Spray’s CEO and Fleetwood Mac’s co-founder. But the good vibes didn’t stop there. Ocean Spray provided Apodaca with a new truck, filled with cranberry juice. And after fans discovered he was living in an RV, they pooled enough donations for him to put a down payment on a house.

20. This generous artist

Many artists have been negatively impacted by this year’s pandemic, which has caused a lot of independent artists to lose their income. So one artist decided to do something about it. NYC-based painter Guy Stanley Philoche spent 65,000 dollars buying over 150 works of art from friends and strangers. Artists supporting artists—we love to see it.

21. And finally, a great way to start the morning

Multi-instrumentalist Acoustic Trench and his trusty sidekick Maple have been responsible for a lot of YouTube’s most wholesome videos. In this one, he plays the kalimba while his adorable pup wanders through a field. These vibes are on point.

2020 has certainly been a challenging year, but through it, there have been some uplifting moments of kindness; between strangers and friends alike. Through the turbulent times, I hope we can all find reasons to smile.


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Mind Love Wellness

The body positivity movement is nothing without fat acceptance

I remember the first time someone criticized my weight.

I was in fourth grade, and for some reason, some girls in my class and I were going around in a circle talking about what made us pretty. I said I was happy with the way I look, and a girl in that group that I would be prettier “if I lost a few pounds.” That’s the time when my insecurity with my weight started. As I’ve gotten older, I have grown increasingly aware that even while many people talking about body positivity – fat acceptance is often either left out of these conversations or ignored altogether.

Well, it’s time that this changes. Besides the fact that everyone’s body should be celebrated – no matter what they look like – fat activists actually started the body positivity movement.

According to Time Magazine, the fat acceptance movement started in the 1960s, at the same time as the Civil Rights movement and second-wave feminism.  Time Magazine wrote that these activists  “staged [an] event in New York City’s Central Park, dubbed it a ‘Fat-In’ and ate ice cream while burning posters of über-thin model Twiggy.” While this event was important invisibly promoting fat acceptance, shamming Twiggy for her stature was unnecessary.

The term “body positivity” came around in 1996, roughly 30 years after the fat acceptance movement started. Connie Sobczak and Elizabeth Scott, LCSW, founded The Body Positive, a nonprofit, to encourage people to have more healthy and peaceful relationships with their bodies. Connie’s own experience with an eating disorder when she was a teen and her sister’s death from an eating disorder inspired the two women to create the nonprofit, according to its website.

Nothing about the nonprofit itself promotes fat-shaming, but fat acceptance somehow got lost.

Fat acceptance is needed more than ever, and one can look at the media to see just how present fat-shaming is. You don’t have to look far to see a celebrity being fat-shamed in the tabloids or social media, like how  Kim Kardashian was fat-shamed on the covers of weekly tabloids when she was pregnant. Fat-shaming also has financial implications for people outside of the public eye. The Council on Size and Weight Discrimination found that “workers who are heavier than average are paid $1.25 less an hour. Over a 40-year career, they will earn up to $100,000 less before taxes than their thinner counterparts.”

Any discrimination should be illegal, so it’s absurd that people who are deemed to be heavier are paid less.

Despite fat acceptance not being as prominent as it should be, people are definitely fighting for it. Model Tess Holiday is a fat acceptance activist, and she fights weight-based discrimination in the fashion industry. Holiday, who has a large following on social media with 1.8 million followers on Instagram, refuses to “walk in a show unless they were actually making [her] size,”  which she believes encourages designers to be more diverse in their sizing.

Fatventure Mag founder and editor Samantha Puc, who was interviewed by The Tempest, shared with us that she created her publication because she wanted to share her experiences and others’ experiences “about leading an active lifestyle” as a self-identifying fat people.

We have a long way to go in terms of embracing fat acceptance.

To work to get there, let’s stop judging people for their size. We never know what anyone is going through – whether it be battling a disease that makes them lose or gain weight,  having an off month, or they’re the happiest at that size – so let’s be kinder to each other.

Editor's Picks World News Politics The World

Taking photos up a girl’s skirt is totally legal in Texas, judge says

Upskirting is a form of sexual violence where an individual takes a photo up another person’s (primarily a woman’s) skirt without their consent.

Celebrities, such as Emma Watson and Cara Delevingne, have called out paparazzi for taking upskirt photos of them, and countless other women have had these inappropriate photos of them taken as well. Now, the United Kingdom (England and Wales) are working to pass a resolution through Parliment that would make upskirting a crime punishable by up to two years in prison.

The campaign to make upskirting a criminal offense in the UK began being pushed for by UK citizen Gina Martin and other women who have been a victim of upskirting. Martin had upskirt photos taken of her in 2017, but police did not prosecute the offense because they deemed the photos “not obscene enough” to fall under the UK’s voyeurism laws. Under the current law, upskirting has to be prosecuted alongside other offenses in the category of voyeurism, even though there are gaps in the current laws that allow the crime to go unpunished.

Due to the gaps, there have only been 11 charges made under the law since 2015, according to information obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request. Additionally, less than half of the police stations in the UK keep appropriate records of how many reports of upskirting have been made, which means there is no way to accurately assess how pervasive the issue of taking upskirt photos might be within the UK.

The first attempt to pass the bill that would have made taking upskirt photographs illegal failed in Parliament due to an objection from one of the members of Parliament; however, a new bill is being introduced and it is believed that progress will be made towards the bill before Parliament recesses for the summer.

According to TIME, the new bill will again be debated on July 6 in the House of Commons, and hopefully this time, there will be no objections to the measure.

The bill being brought forth will protect both women and men, as it includes provisions that make it illegal to photograph up men’s kilts as well. Hopefully, the decision from the UK to make this serious sexual offense its own separate crime will help inspire other countries to follow suit.

In the United States, there are no laws on the federal books that make upskirting a crime, which means that the States are left to determine if upskirting is a crime in its jurisdiction and what the punishment should be. This leaves a lot of variety in criminality and leaves millions unprotected against upskirt photos.

For example, we can look to 2014 decisions on upskirting that took place in Massachusetts and Texas. When Massachusetts State legislators realized there were no laws that protected against upskirting, they passed a measure that made taking upskirt photographs punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine that was to be determined by the age of the victim.

In Texas, however, a Texas court determined that its citizens had a constitutional right to take upskirt photos under “freedom of speech” protections. Whether that decision would hold up in a higher court is yet to be determined, but the lack of federal regulation leaves millions of women (and men) at risk of having no protection against these inappropriate photographs.

Upskirting is a serious offense, and it is unbelievable that in the digital age, the legal system hasn’t evolved yet to address the nature of this cybercrime.

Thankfully, the UK is taking the first steps in order to punish those who commit this crime. We don’t know when the US will follow.