Category Archives: racism sucks

McRib – The Gay Marriage of Fast Food

Why do you hate me?

Does my kind of love offend you?

Sure, my food choice is different from most.  Some would even say it is depraved or unnatural.  But all I am looking for is to be treated as an equal in the fast food world.  I just want my love of a frozen pork patty sandwich to be looked upon as equal to that of any frozen beef product sandwich.  In reality, is my frozen pork really any different from all those frozen hamburgers?  I understand that there are those who will oppose my choice in fast food love based on religious convictions, but I am not asking them to eat the sandwich.  I just want them to recognize that I have the same rights as they do to enjoy the sandwich I love, in the manner in which I love.

In what way I’m I hurting you?

My sandwich does not, in any way, diminish the purity or quality of your sandwich.  I am not looking to eliminate your sandwich because I believe my sandwich is somehow superior.  In fact, the addition of my sandwich will actually help boost sales in the market place, adding much needed revenue to our still slumping economy.

And you can cut out all that crap about “protecting the children.”  Children raised by frozen pork patty people are in no more danger than those raised by frozen beef patty people.  Those like me, who love this sandwich, are not looking to convert your children.  Let them eat beef.  Let them eat chicken.  Let them eat cake!

Isn’t it really about just treating all people the same?

Years from now, I envision a world were we will look back on this little chapter in history, and feel ashamed that we treated those who enjoyed a processed pork patty sandwich covered in a tangy BBQ sauce with such disdain.  Posting naked pictures of the frozen patty all over the internet for everyone to gawk at, shunning it as a disgusting and disturbing thing.  Making people feel that they are somehow immoral or perverted because their tainted love of this type of sandwich constitutes some sort of deviant behavior.

I say it is time to stop the hate, and rectify the wrongs caused by the bigoted anti-frozen pork patty people.  Stop spreading the hate.  We need diversity in our fast food choices.  We need to embrace those who embrace the frozen pork patty.

Equal rights in sandwich choice, will lead to equal rights for all.

The McRib Sandwich

Cover Story

We have all heard the old saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”  I actually used it myself  just the other day.  I had received my passport in the mail, and as per the instructions, I double-check all the information.  I quickly discovered that my date of birth was incorrect, so I called the 800 number to ask what to do.  I was instructed to bring my passport downtown to the Kluczynski Federal Building and fill out a form, and that a corrected passport would then be sent out to me.  I did as I was instructed, and as I entered the building I was greeted by security and metal detectors.  Of course.  Because in this day and age, we can’t be too careful.  So I waited in line, put my coat and the contents from my pocket including keys and a cell phone in the tray and proceeded through the detector. 

BEEP…BEEP…BEEP

The young lady on the other side of the detector told me to remove my belt and then proceed through again.

BEEP…BEEP…BEEP

Having set the machine off twice, I am now told to step aside for a more detailed search.  The young woman follows, and she waves the wand up and down my body, and each time it beeps as it passes my right pants pocket.  I reach in and find a quarter.  The young lady smiles, but then tells me she still needs to check a few things.  She pats down my arms and waist and then asks me to lift my pants leg to check my socks and shoes.  As I do, she is stunned by the presence of almost a dozen Celtic style tattoos on my right leg.

Oh my God.  I would never have expected that!

That is when that little phrase from all of our childhoods crept across my lips.  You can’t judge a book by its cover.

Everybody has said it.  And we understand the meaning behind the phrase.  The only problem is we really have no other choice.  Without actually reading the book, how else are we going to judge it?  Sure, you can take recommendations from friends, or read reviews, or stick with certain authors you like, but when it comes right down to it, how do you judge a book you have yet to read?  If you are like me, you look at the cover.  You read the dust jacket.  If there is a picture of a long-haired Fabio type guy riding a horse on a beach with a young scantily clad heroine next to him, I am not going to give that book a second look.  If there is a gun or a knife with spots of blood on the cover, it is more likely to draw my attention.  Book publishers design books covers to be judged.  They know what target audience they are aiming for, and they use the cover to attract them.  So then why is it so surprising when that same concept overflows into everyday life?

No matter what side you find yourself on with the new Arizona immigration law, we can all agree on one thing.  While trying to put a stop to illegal immigration in the southern states, nobody is looking for a French Canadian.  Is it discriminatory?  Absolutely.  Is it fair?  In no way.  But is it the truth?  If you ask me if I think people should be just stopped on the street and told to prove they are a citizen or in this country with proper documentation, and I would instantly say no.  The simple idea brings on images of communist Russia or Nazi Germany.  Is that what the intent of the Arizona law was?  Probably not. 

We can all also agree that there is something wrong with our immigration policy, but we also want our government to protect us from threats like the failed car bombing in Times Square.  This is why rules are set up for the proper and legal crossing of international borders.  For my trip to Ireland this November, I needed to get a passport, and in order to do that I first needed to obtain a copy of my birth certificate.  I had to prove who I was, and declare my intentions in order to get a passport, all the time being reminded that any discretion or misinformation could be punishable by federal law.  Although I have much sympathy for the plight and poverty that brings people from south of our border into this country, I also have a hard time justifying their actions simply because there is more opportunity here.  To be blunt, they are breaking the law, no matter how good their intentions were.  There are many people who legally immigrate to this county every year.  But they do it by following the rules.  Is it easy?  No.  And it shouldn’t be.

Because the truth is, you can’t tell a book by its cover.  But if you take the time to read the book and discover what is on the inside you can better assess which books are good and which are bad, and I would at least like to have the option of figuring out which books are the good ones before I stock my shelf.  If you disagree with the rules, then by all means do what you can to change them or make them more fair.  But the answer is not to just excuse all those who have broken the rules.  I don’t agree with the Arizona law, but if those who choose to break the law feel safe in hiding among those who took the time to follow the rules, do we have any other choice but to judge a book by its cover.

Why Racism Sucks

Although the basic answer may seem more than obvious, I am not so naïve as to believe that everyone shares my views on this topic.  I would like to believe that everyone would like to live in a world where race , religion, or sexual preference has nothing to do with our day-to-day treatment of people, but we don’t.  And as I will explain later, I am including myself when I make that statement.  This is one of those hot bed topics that always seems to cause a stir, no matter how lightly you tread upon the subject.  So with that in mind, I am just going to trudge forward and let the chips lie where they fall.  Some may agree with me, others will not.

As with many couples, over the past few years, Maureen and I have come to know each other very well, and we have developed an unspoken instinct towards each other.  There are times when we can have a conversation with almost no words at all.  There is almost no second guessing anymore.  We both seem to know how the other will react in certain situations.  As an example, this last Sunday we were going to dinner and watch the Super Bowl at Maureen’s parents, and our schedule was going to be a little tight.  One of our stops was to pick Alex and Molly up from their mother’s house.  We were supposed to do that at 4 on our way out of town.  While running some errands, I was dropping Maureen off at the gym while I ran to the grocery store.  At that time, Maureen asked if I would give my ex-wife a call to see if we could pick the kids up a half hour early because her mom wanted to start dinner early.  I looked at the clock that said 1:45 and then looked at my phone.  I decided to save myself the phone call.  Knowing us, we would be lucky to make the four o’clock pick-up time.  After the store, we still had to make an appetizer and two side dishes for the dinner.

When I got to the store, it was crowded.  I had to go back out to the parking lot to retrieve a cart, because the store was so busy they had not sent anyone out to bring them in.  I stuck to my list, and surprisingly made it around the store with relative ease.  Here is where things get a little hairy.  My cart was about half full, but I had way too many items for the self check out.  The sign above those registers says 15 items or less, and I am always amazed at how many people stay in those lines even with a cart overflowing with groceries.  I have been tempted on occasion to ask for a re-count.  The store was adequately staffed, and almost every register was busy ringing up customers.  I am notorious for picking the wrong line.  I almost always get stuck behind the lady who wants a price check on every other item, and then writes a check to boot.  But today I got lucky, or so I thought.

I found an aisle with just two customers.  The first was already in the process of reloading her cart with bagged goods, and the second was a young guy flipping through a magazine.  I use the term young because I basically call anyone with less grey hair than I young, but I would say he was in his early to mid-twenties.  He was African/American and there were two things about him that just seemed strange to me.  The first was the fact that the waist band on his pants seemed to hover just above where I would assume his knees should be, and the other was that he was not moving up in line.  The conveyor belt was empty by now, but he had not moved up or placed his magazine down.  Without trying to be pushy, I inched my way up hoping that he would give me enough room to start unloading my cart, but he wasn’t going to budge.  I was just about to say something when I heard a soft voice behind me. 

Excuse me.

It was young woman this time, also African/American and very pretty.  She carried with her three items, one of which was a belt.  It seemed obvious the two were together, and at first I was a little pissed that they pulled this stunt, saving a place in line while there were other customers waiting to check out.  With just three items, they could have easily used the express self check out without much of a wait.  But as long as it got the line moving again, I really didn’t care.  Only the guy was still not moving up.

Excuse me.

Now it was my turn to say something.  The young lady was checking out, and all I wanted to do was get enough room to unload my cart.  Why did he need that much room?  Then suddenly it became very obvious to me.  The young woman who had so politely passed me was paying for the three items with a $100 bill, and now she was asking the clerk to make change for her.  Suddenly, the man with the sagging paints wanted to make conversation with me, asking me if I knew directions to a Wal-mart near by.  I looked him straight in the face and told him that he and his friend needed to stop what they were doing and get out of there.  And then I started telling anyone who would look at me that we needed security here fast.  To use one of the young people’s terms, the woman was suddenly up in my face.  The former sweet voice was now harsh, and then here it came.  I was a racist.

To be very honest, race does come into play here, but not in the way I would have expected.  I second guessed myself.  My instincts were telling me something was wrong, but because of their race, I didn’t want to jump to any conclusions.  Having worked with money for many years, I know the short change scam, but I was being too cautious.  If it had been a white couple, I think I would have reacted more quickly.  But now the same thing that had made me cautious in sounding the alarm, was now being thrown back in my face.  I turned to the kid who was working the register, who by the way was also African/American but was obviously still in high school, and told him that he should hold on to the change until he got a manager over here first.  Unfortunately, in the confusion, the clerk gave back the money, and the couple made a break for the door.

As I said before, I am not so dumb as to think racism does not exist, but I also know that it goes both ways.  This is not the first time I have been accused of being a racist, and I am sure it wont be the last.  For some people it has become an easy excuse.  If things are not going your way, it’s not your fault.  The other guy is a racist.  And that is a problem.  Because then it takes away from all those who really are involved in a situation where they are being descriminated against.  It is like the boy who cried wolf.  If you keep shouting about the big bad white racist, then it is going to be that much harder to get the world to listen when it is really needed.  I know racism still exists.  And I am thankful that I have parents who did their part to show me the right way to combat it.  And I can only hope that I have now passed those same feeling on to my own kids.  I don’t want my kids to have to live in a world where people are still judged by standards that have nothing to do with what they are like as human beings.  I didn’t stop that couple from taking advantage of that store clerk because of the color of their skin.  I did it because they were doing something wrong.  And for me to look the other way, no mater what their race, would have been wrong too.

And that is why racism sucks.