I was upset that a state delegate from my home of Prince George's County has decided to play the race card in her dealings with the Treaty of Paris restaurant in Annapolis ["Waiter's Case Puts Race on the Table," Metro, July 20]. Anyone who frequents restaurants knows that service can vary, depending on staffing levels and the number of customers. Patrons also know that sometimes the order of people in line gets mixed up. Waiting 10 or 15 minutes for a table is not a huge burden, but taking away the maitre d's livelihood seems like a harsh punishment.

If racism were truly a factor, Del. Melony Griffith could take her money to any of the many restaurants in Annapolis happy to accept her business. Claiming discrimination at the drop of a hat will only dilute her ability to bring fair treatment to her diverse constituency.

JOSEPH LUCAS

Temple Hills

"Waiter's Case Puts Race on the Table" was so interesting I had to respond. I am a 30-something black woman who has empathy and sympathy for both sides, because the issue of race has become, once again, a powder keg.

Both sides made good points, but both seemed to show a lack of respect and awareness. Jeb Bello, the maitre d', was wrong not to acknowledge the two women when they first came into the restaurant. No matter how his day was going, he was there to serve the customer.

Prejudice came into play when Mr. Bello opted to wait on the white couple instead of the black. Del. Griffith also took her actions too far, escalating the issue to the point of getting Mr. Bello fired. I believe she used unnecessary "clout" to get her point across. She could have found many creative ways of enlightening Mr. Bello on rude and possibly racist behaviors. Getting him fired only removed the symptom -- not the problem.

I hope when a black person decides to use the "race card" in the next altercation, he makes sure that that is truly the issue so the white person really gets the true message of what he is doing.

SONYA McILWAIN

Brooklyn