A couple was shocked to receive an anti-Asian slur on their hotel folio after checking out out of a Marriott property in Pennsylvania. But their disinterest in holding the culprit accountable demonstrates a softer bigotry that also merits our scorn.
So Much Bigotry In the Marriott“Ching And Chong” Controversy
I first read about this incident last week and put it to the side, waiting to see if Marriott actually issued a statement on the explosive allegations. In short:
- On June 13, 2022 a couple spent the night at a Courtyard Marriott in York, Pennsylvania
- 37-year-old Jamie Chung, who has an Asian and Jewish heritage, stayed with his 35-year-old girlfriend Tierney Oberhammer
- Upon checking out, a clerk pronounced his last name with a “strange emphasis” as if she was mocking an Asian accent
- When Chung opened his folio, it was addressed to his name with “‘Ching and Chong LC” under it
- He reported the incident to Marriott corporate
- Marriott said it was a mistake (a typo) and also claimed this was a franchise hotel and not under Marriott’s control
- Points were offered as a gesture of goodwill
- Chung turned down the points, instead asking the hotel chain take his issue more seriously
It seems we have a pretty clear case of racism, right? Or at least of bigotry. An agent who made fun of the couple. A folio that followed with an old racist trope on it.
We should all condemn such a needlessly idiotic display of ignorance.
But the story does not end here.
The couple is placing (nearly) all the blame on Marriott, which is not unfair, but also perhaps a bit of a stretch:
“Marriott is a big, powerful company that employs and provides services to a lot of people. What they do and say matters. They need to do better. This is about company culture, training, accountability, basic human decency, and the hypocrisy of Marriott’s inadequate response to racism within their organization, especially given their stated company values.”
Perhaps Marriott should be thankful there are not more bad apples in a company with thousands of properties and over 120,000 employees…
But Chung doesn’t want the employee who created the racist invoice to be punished:
“There is so much nuance and complexity to this story, including historical context, that we worry will be overlooked. It is not lost on us that this racial slur was delivered by a fellow POC. The last thing we want is for this to exacerbate tension between minority communities, who have been pitted against one another in this country. Racism affects everyone, and we stand against it.”
Sorry, but I find this an unfortunate display of bigotry itself.
Do you really think that employee was so stupid that she did not know what she was doing? Do you really think that because she was a person of color she should not be held accountable like others would be for the same transgression?
This equivocation is bigotry; the soft bigotry of low expectations.
I expect all people to treat me the way they wish to be treated. I will not tolerate racism from anyone, regardless of their skin color.
I find it outrageous that a couple would complain about being the target of racism and then essentially excuse the racist, blaming it on the system. It’s time for more personal accountability.
A couple received a folio from their Marriott stay with a racist anti-Asian slur on it. While they wish to hold Marriott accountable, they do not appear willing to hold the actual employee accountable because she was a person of color. This merits criticism, though different, on both sides. People should be held accountable for their actions, regardless of skin color.