A New Orleans-based Nigerian pop-up restaurant is causing quite a stir for conducting a social experiment that forces white people to come to grips with racial disparities.Restaurateur and chef Tunde Wey at Roux Carré started his social experiment to see how white customers would react. “If you are white, you will be asked to pay $30, he told The Times-Picayune. "If you are black, Latino, or Asian, the bill will be $12.”
While the prices are not mandatory, Wey was curious if white customers would pay the price. At first glance, the prices seem arbitrary, but they reflect the disparity in median household incomes of white people in New Orleans ($67,884) versus black ($25,324).
This is the final week to experience Tunde Wey's social experiment highlighting the racial wealth divide in New Orleans at his pop-up at Roux Carre. Bridging this divide through entrepreneurship education and economic inclusion advocacy is at the heart o… https://t.co/StF7pbeks7 pic.twitter.com/U6WcP1Pxed— Roux Carré (@RouxCarre) March 1, 2018
“The point is not to charge people more for lunch based on their race. The point… is to make people experience, in a concrete situation, how income disparities… affect daily decisions like what to pay for lunch, as well as life-altering opportunities and even personal health.”
Wey recruited college volunteers to collect data and the customers' reactions as he told them about the pricing. Despite the allegations of racism thrown his way online, he told NPR that many “are enthusiastic, some of them are bamboozled a bit by it… But the majority of white folks, nearly 80 percent, decided to pay.” Grad student Anjali Prasertong, who helped design the experiment, said the number of enthusiastic people “was definitely higher than we expected.”
The experiment will run until March 11.