This New Orleans Restaurant Is Guilting Whites Into Paying More

Saartj-New Orleans
Saartj pop-up restaurant in New Orleans. | Photo credit Eater

If you are heading out for a meal in New Orleans, you’ll want to skip a pop-up restaurant called Saartj. That is, unless you don’t mind being served a plate of Nigerian food with a side of white privilege and seasoned with white guilt. Oh, and it’s more than double the price.

Tunde Wey, the restaurant’s creator, want to “educate” customers on the wealth gap that allegedly exists between whites and African-Americans. To illustrate his point, Wey guilts white customers into paying $30 for their meal instead of $12.

How does he do it?

After they order their meal, Wey lectures whites about income disparities, citing facts from an EPI study that examines wealth distribution. The study suggests that obtaining a college education increases income in black families 50% less than white families, $60,000 and $1130,000 respectively. 

When speaking to the customers, Wey asks them questions like “have you ever inherited money or received gifts from family like a car, college tuition payments or other high value gifts?” At the end of the discussion, he asks them what they will pay.

According to Wey, he’s not attempting to inflict guilt. Rather, he says, it’s a form of “positive social pressure” intended to create a feeling of obligation among whites. “Refusing to pay more comes off as anti-social and people don’t want to be judged for that,” Wey said.

The Results

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Astonishingly, 78% of whites bought into the lie and paid the extra money. Wey subsequently offers the $18 to black customers as a symbol of wealth redistribution. However, that’s where the social experiment gets even more interesting.

While whites were guilted into paying more, some black customers freely offered to pay the $30 for their meals. Of course, Wey denied them that opportunity telling them “No, it’s not for you.” Turns out, the free money wasn’t for them either.

Most of the black diners refused the extra $18 paid by their guilt-ridden fellow patrons. That’s because they figured out that taking something you haven’t earned is not the pathway to success and independence. A look back at the history of welfare reforms, which in many ways is wealth redistribution, proves that.