SAMOANS NOT ALLOWED IN ANCHORAGE RESTAURANT

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Community members charge racism

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, April 11, 2010) - Samoan residing in Anchorage, Alaska, weren’t allowed to karaoke at a restaurant there because of their race. The group says they were told to leave Asia Garden restaurant last Friday because the restaurant didn’t want any trouble.

They say an Asian woman who was standing at the door pulled them aside and said there was a stabbing a few weeks ago involving Samoan males and because "Samoans all look the same to her," she couldn’t let them in.

According to Anchorage Police, there was a non-serious stabbing reported January 31 at the restaurant and, according to the 911 caller; it was a group of Samoan males.

That incident did not result in an investigation.

One of the women in the group was a well-known radio DJ in town, Corina Delgado, who called a meeting Thursday at The Dish Japanese restaurant to raise awareness about racial discrimination.

Delgado said she couldn’t believe that race could be the reason they were denied access and went back in to double-check. She was given the same response.

"The actions of few can not be a blanket of judgment on an entire race of people. It’s wrong," said Delgado.

One of the people claiming discrimination explained what happened to her and her husband when they arrived.

The owner of Asia Garden didn’t deny the allegations, but didn’t expand much either.

"The lady said ‘I’m sorry. If you are Islanders you cannot come in here,’ and I said ‘why is that?’ and she said ‘well, we had some trouble a few weeks ago with some Islanders and since you all look the same to me, you can’t come in here,’" said Lotu Uti, one of the people in the group claiming they were discriminated against.

"Big misunderstanding, you know. I’m not racial. I’ve been here 33 years. I’m really sorry they took the meaning like that you know. They are welcome here and everything," said Fay.

Fay would not give KTVA reporters her last name.

Businesses do have the right to refuse service to anyone but it is illegal to refuse service based on race.

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