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Dear Urban Diplomat: how can I convince my racist boss to hire a black sushi chef?

Dear Urban Diplomat: how can I convince my racist boss to hire a black sushi chef?

Dear Urban Diplomat,

I manage a Japanese restaurant, and I recently interviewed a sushi chef who is insanely talented and happens to be black. Unfortunately, the owner has said that our predominantly Asian customers would never buy sushi from someone who’s black. He says he’s not being racist, just realistic. What’s the best way to get him to give in? Shame? Logic? Subpoena? Or should I relent?

—Hire Ground, Richmond Hill

He’s a big ol’ racist, and he’s hiding it behind a smokescreen of pragmatism. If you’re willing to stand up for what’s right, there are a couple of ways to go. Tell him he’s risking a human rights complaint if he doesn’t hire such a clearly qualified chef. That may scare him into doing the decent thing (or prompt him to fire you). The other approach is to suggest bringing in your candidate for a three-month contract as a temporary employee. That’ll give your boss enough time to see that most customers discriminate when it comes to food quality but not when it comes to the colour of the chef’s skin.

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com

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