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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sydney cafe owner makes racist mistake

Ten days ago when a Brazilian man, Nilson Dos Santos applied for a job as a barista at Forbes and Burton in Darlinghurst, the interview went something like this.

'We sat down and he said "But you're black", I said "yes" and he told me "but my customers are white, I don't think they'd like to have their coffee made by black people, that's not part of the coffee culture, you're African."  

Cafe owner Mr Hu

'So I stood in the middle of the cafe and said "Excuse me, I don't mean to bother anybody but I just asked for a job and and he told me no because I'm black and I shouldn't make coffee for white people."

That's when all the customers and one employee came to stand beside him and walked out.

Cafe owner Steven Hu arrived in Australia from Shanghai nine months ago and needs to run the business for two years to qualify for an Australian visa.  "I didn't ask any questions because I prefer the barista to be local, not from Italy or other countries.  In some people's opinion, African people can't make good coffee" Mr Hu said.

The cafe has since shut its doors and is being investigated by the Fair Work Ombudsman and Mr Dos Santos now has a full-time job making coffee at Coco Cubano in Darlinghurst, just a few minutes walk from Forbes and Burton.

Last weekend Mr Santos decided to walk by the cafe where all the trouble started and was shocked to find it closed and the windows splattered with raw eggs.  "I broke down and cried" he said.

"I always loved Australia and now I'd say I'm in love with this country.  This is my home, this is where I want to be.