A Japanese-American woman who attended a conference at a Philadelphia hotel was left in shock when her bill arrived with a racial slur on top.
Eileen Yamada Lamphere was among the attendees of the 2018 Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) National Convention, which was held at Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel last week.
The convention featured council sessions, exhibits and other activities that promote Japanese-American civil rights.
The venue was likely the last place Lamphere expected to find casual racism — until her bill arrived.
To her horror, it had the racial slur “Jap” written in capital letters.
“As I was being brought up, that term was like calling African-Americans the ‘N’ word,” Lamphere told NBC10. “It was kind of like a punch in the stomach. Because it’s like wait a minute, this is 2018.”
“It was an insult not only to me, but everybody that was at the convention.”
Lamphere took to Facebook to complain about the incident.
Rob Buscher, head of Philadelphia’s JACL, told NBC10 that the term brings back memories of the anti-Japanese campaign in World War II.
“Any time that this word comes up, of course there’s this kind of deep-seated trauma that comes back. Any other time that a school bully has hurled this or a teacher or some passerby on the street.”
In response to the offensive experience, Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown will initiate a sensitivity training for its 350 employees.
Philly.com quoted a spokesperson as saying:
“We are continuing to investigate this matter and deeply regret that one of our guests experienced this issue.
“Based on the results of our investigation we will take the appropriate actions, including refreshing our sensitivity/diversity/inclusion training, to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
For its part, JACL offered to participate in a session to help educate the hotel staff better.
“We appreciate the responsiveness of the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel and will be participating in a training session to better inform their front line staff about the history of anti-Asian racism, why ‘Jap’ is not an acceptable term even when used to abbreviate Japan, and how to be better accommodating to Asian American and Pacific Islander guests.”
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