Wednesday, June 11, 2008

yes, it's 2008 & it still exists

1st, i just want to say "amen" to julie's "zimbabwe" post. it breaks my heart when i read/hear about events like that. forcing people to choose between voting and eating? how little we americans really understand about the varied cultures around this planet.

on to what i came to write about.

last monday was our friend chad's birthday. so julie & i, along with chad's roommate jonathan, met for ice cream. we arrived just before the store closed, so we sat outside to enjoy our tasty treats. as we chatted about various topics, we noticed people would go to the door, notice the store was closed, and walk away. 2 particular instances of this caught our eyes. the 1st one involved a family of 5 as they walked up, looked in the establishment to confirm it was closed, and walk away. about 10 minutes later, this same situation happened with a high school couple. this time, the employees of the store unlocked the door for them & let them in.

what's the difference between these 2 occurrences? the family of 5 was of Mid-Eastern descent, while the high school couple was Caucasian. this left us nothing shy of shocked at this display of racism. the only consolation that i can think of is at least the family of 5 didn't see this sudden change in ice cream availability due to skin color. it scares me to think that we were tho only ones who noticed what happened. racism is not only a black/white thing, it exists between any 2 ethnicities, and all of it needs to stop. i simply hope that this event opens at least my eyes more to how i treat people who are not like me.


Julie said...

I would agree with your post except for the fact that I'm sure the family saw that the availability was about race, no doubt. It was probably an instance where it happens all of the time even with something like ice cream. They probably aren't naive enough to think that it was just about ice cream.

GadflyGimp said...

To be the devil's advocate, what are the possibilities that A) the employees felt that a family of five may cut into more serving and cleanup time and B) that they might have known the couple in question?

I ask because I know from experience of working at a coffeeshop/custard/etc. shop that many little factors add up to what a closing staff might consider when accepting that "last customer." We used to close up our sandwich station 15 or so minutes early simply because of the effort and amount of time it would take to break it down and put it up for the night. However, a regular (or even someone who has called ahead and asked us to make 'em a pastrami on rye) might be given special consideration.

I think it's a dangerous preposition to assume that all inequalities are based on race. I've been in a store in Kalamazoo before a good 20 minutes before close and been told that they were cleaning up, same with (ironically) a franchise of the same sandwich conglomerate here in the Greensboro, NC era. Would it be right to assume that Jared is the only white man that this international gives service to in the final posted half hour?

GadflyGimp said...

Whoops. Kindly pardon all my grammatical errors. It IS 1:30 in the morning.

ourpjlife said...

but isn't it also dangerous to assume it's not racism? no where do i infer that all elements of inequality are based on race. however, many are rooted in it. as caucasians (& the traditional majority in power), we don't think about issues of racism as much because they don't happen to us. research "white privilege" to find out more about that issue.

as for this incident, the store was closed when both sets of people walked to the door. so neither set of people should have been served. but the caucasian couple were. that's all we knew when the incident happened.