Delivery discrimination — staff editorial

Residents of Q Street SW – a predominantly African-American neighborhood – have filed suit against Domino’s Pizza for refusing to deliver pizza to their doors. Instead, residents must come outside to pay for their pizza. Given the relatively low crime rate of the area, the residents of Q Street SW have a right to seek redress.

In fact, the 3200 block of Prospect Street in Georgetown, where another Domino’s is located, has a higher crime rate than Q Street SW, according to The Washington Post. But Domino’s delivers to the front door in that area of Georgetown.

The main difference between the two areas beyond crime rates: Georgetown is a majority white neighborhood, while Q Street SW is mostly African American in makeup.

Domino’s lawyers contend that the area in Southwest is dangerous, but the crime statistics show differently. Furthermore, Domino’s advertises to the African-American community, featuring blacks in commercials. Domino’s allows African Americans to buy its product. In this case, however, Domino’s appears to be refusing to offer the black community the same service it would offer to white communities. If the controversy is a case of misperception, then Domino’s needs to do a much better job of explaining this discrepancy in delivery service.

Stereotypes die hard. And in a perfect world, businesses would give predominantly black areas the benefit of the doubt. But the opposite is too often the case.

Look around any black neighborhood in the District – large-scale business investments are sparse. Thus residents are forced to spend their money outside their home neighborhoods. The cycle of capital leaving minority neighborhoods and little investment entering those same minority areas is abominable.

So whenever discrimination presents itself the courts must intervene. Any business has the right to look out for the safety of its workers. But procedural changes must be founded on some standard, such as high crime statistics.

Domino’s delivery policy should be based on the orders it receives, not to whom it is delivering.

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