A black barista's poised response to a customer's extremely racist demand has taken Facebook by storm, BuzzFeed News reported on Monday.
Josie Ajak, a woman who manages a Gloria Jean's coffee shop in Australia, recently had a customer ask for a "white" barista to serve her instead. Ajak responded to the woman with a smile and said, "that's fine," she told BuzzFeed News. Ajak then told other members of the staff that they wouldn't be serving this woman.
ATTN: has reached out to Ajak for comment and will update this post if she responds.
Jade Arevalo, a friend of Ajak, wrote about Ajak's handling of the exchange on Facebook, and her post has generated a lot of discussion on the social media platform:
"Josie is one of the most kind and friendly people you could meet but irrespective of her character, she did not deserve to be excluded like this," Arevalo wrote, noting that the woman who made the racist demand was in a wheelchair. "So, next time you're in the centre (sic) and want an awesome drink, come give Josie a hug and say hi. Order a white hot chocolate and watch her laugh at the irony of not saying dark when you order a normal one (it's totally a thing.) Just don't tell her she's not worthy of your time and money because seriously, it's hurtful and she'll tell me about it and I'll tell everyone."
Arevalo's post has received 17,000 Facebook reactions, a response that Ajak described as humbling.
“There have been phone calls to my store from all over Australia, from regular white Australians just calling to say ‘hi’, show their support, [and] say they’re proud of me," Ajak told BuzzFeed News.
Following the warm comments she received on social media, Ajak wrote on Instagram that she has appreciated the love and accompanying hashtag #BuyACoffeeFromJosie in her honor:
Ajak noted on Instagram that this is part of the larger issue of discrimination against certain groups of people:
"Regardless of which color, gender, age, size, and shape you are, we are all deserving of love and should be treated accordingly. To everybody who has ever been refused service because of their skin color, this is for you. There is absolutely no room for racism anywhere in the world!"
Ajak shared this post on Facebook as well:
Ajak's experience reflects a larger issue of racism in Australia.
According to an article published earlier this year by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), around 20 percent of Australians report experiencing racial or religious discrimination at some point in life. Around eleven percent reported being excluded at work or from social gatherings due to their race. ABC writer Tim Soutphommasane noted the perplexity of the persistence in racism in a country where 86 percent of people support multiculturalism, according to 2015 survey findings from The Scanlon Foundation:
"If Australian multiculturalism is such a success, what explains the persistence of racism? Perhaps the easiest explanation is that any multicultural success remains incomplete. Our sensibilities are still catching up with the changes that have occurred within the composition of our population. And it's more than just social sensibilities that have lagged behind. Our institutions and organizations have failed to change to reflect our multicultural realities. Another way of saying this is to say that racism exists in structural forms. It resides not only in social interactions, but also in the systems and rules that govern what is normal and what is deviant."
Read Arevalo's full post about Ajak below:
[H/T BuzzFeed News]