Cover Photo: photograph of a young woman working behind the counter at a restaurant
Photograph by Patrick Tomasso/Unsplash

“Just a Waitress”: On Abuse Faced by Women of Color in the Restaurant Industry

Abuse and harassment within the restaurant industry is very much intertwined with other forms of racial and economic oppression and violence.

This is Exit Interviews, a new column by Nadia Owusu on the experiences of women of color in the workplace.

The New York Times 

Harvard Business Review

bottle service girl

The New York Times

Seeking attractive hostesses. Seeking elegant cocktail waitresses.We like girls with a funky fashion sense. Look expensive. Red lips are encouraged.

Nadia Owusu’s first book, Aftershocks, was published by Simon and Schuster in 2021. She is the recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award. Her lyric essay chapbook, So Devilish a Fire, won the Atlas Review chapbook series. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New York Times, Washington Post’s The Lily, the Literary Review, Electric Literature, Catapult, and others. Owusu grew up in Rome, Addis Ababa, Kampala, Dar es Salaam, Kumasi, and London. She is an Associate Director at Living Cities, an economic racial justice organization, and lives in Brooklyn.