Greektown Ethnography

I took a trip to Greek town Casino in Detroit Michigan with my father, this trip was something of an unexpected trip but I figured it was a great place to observe the behaviors of many different cultures as Greek town casino is the home of a multicultural society. I wanted to observe the behaviors of those between African American’s and Caucasian persons. I wanted to see if one race over the other tended to gamble more or if one culture got more aggressive as the night went on. While we know that casinos in Michigan restrict the age limit of gamblers did age affect those that gambled or was it just those of a certain race.
The crowed is about sixty percent African American, Thirty Percent Caucasian and the other ten percent is in the category of what is called the “other’s” category. The age groups range from the young newbie’s that just turned twenty-one to late eighties. The bells and whistles are going off on nearby machines; the crowds grow increasingly big at different tables as the more a person wins. Yet those who come for just something to do keep sat at their machines playing their slots.
Looking around the people didn’t seem any different the African American’s seemed to stay localized to the slots area whereas the Caucasian’s seemed to play at the tables more. I found a patron playing a penny slot named Gladys who gave me the rundown of the people and their actions. According to Gladys the Caucasian people tend to play on tables more and consume more alcoholic beverages as where the African Americans tend to gamble more at the slots and tend to smoke more than those of the Caucasian culture. I continued to observe the patrons to see if what Gladys was saying was true.

Great majorities of the Caucasian’s were in fact at tables and about sixty percent of them had a drink at hand. While majority of the African American’s were at a slot machine or an electronic table with no human interaction. I wondered if there was something to the no human interaction did African American’s think it was bad luck. Did they think it would make them gamble more? The move I observed the cultures at the casino the quicker I noticed that African American’s gambled more on the slots then the Caucasian’s at the tables.
As the day went on I continued to talk to the staff and patrons regarding he behavior of everyone around. A few waitresses claimed African American men; young or old were rude when it came to providing service. They were more touchy feely and made sexual comments, not to mention they left a lousy or no tip at all. Whereas Caucasian’s regardless of age, or gender provided better tips, manners and compliments said Allison the head supervisor of the wait staff. The pit managers claimed that Caucasian’s placed higher bets if there were a female table dealer where as African American’s placed higher bets if it was a male dealer.
He went on to tell me that most Caucasian’s started their gambling in the casino with twenty-five dollars and that African American placed bets of one hundred dollars to start their gambling fiasco. While it seemed obvious that regardless of shape, size or color everyone at the casino claimed not to care whether the won or lost. But as long as they had fun that was all that mattered to them.
In conclusion the African American’s tended to gamble more than Caucasian. But the Caucasian’s tended to get rougher as they drank and lost more. It was right then and there that I realized that the casino wasn’t really about money but about freedom. People of all different cultures were coming to Greektown casino in the hopes that they would possibly win, someone would listen to their story, and most of all that they would have fun and escape their everyday life. Regardless if a person had a drink or cigarette in hand, they were there laughing and spending whatever money they came with. It didn’t matter who it was, African American, Caucasian or a member of the other category each and every one of them had a smile on their face and were laughing they were just there to have fun.

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New York University

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