The thoughts of a writer.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Bad Taste at Joe's Crab Shack

The story that broke yesterday about the photo of a lynching found in a table at Joe's Crab Shack in Roseville is (I think) offensive to anyone who possesses a sense of right and wrong. It is inappropriate no matter what color anyone is. It should be removed and an apology from the corporate powers would be in order—though in no way is it mandatory; as we live in a country that preserves freedom of speech—even if that speech is stupid and outdated. Yes, unfortunately, there was probably a time when this picture with its caption about not liking the gumbo would be considered funny by some. But today it is not. It is inappropriate, just as the NAACP's own name should probably be changed because it would certainly be inappropriate for me to call its membership "colored people;" yet that is the name of the organization isn't it? Perhaps a hyphenated name would more reflect the political correctness of the current era. While I find the picture embedded in that table at Joe's Crab Shack offensive, I do not believe that it automatically gives the NAACP or Black Lives Matter the right to issue a list of demands. Demanding that money be "donated" to an African-American youth group is not within their rights. In fact, one might argue that any youth group that excludes all but one race is racist in and of itself. But that is not the debate here. The issue is that the picture should be removed. The company should apologize (the restaurant manager did so immediately upon being informed of the picture); but this is in no way mandatory and if they do not, no legal action should be enacted. If you don't like this, the appropriate response would be to choose to not patronize the establishment. Insults are not grounds to issue a list of demands and threats of protests—because freedom of speech is a sacred belief in our society. I don't like the picture and I don't want to see it. But I also don't like demands made up by angry people who belong to an organization with an outdated and possibly offensive name. So, when the corporate apology comes, and I believe it will (and if it doesn't you won't find me eating at Joe's Crab Shack—which is my choice), the appropriate thing to do is to drop the demands and accept the apology and to move on and stop bringing up the past—unless of course you have never made a single mistake yourself ever in your entire life. Then go ahead and have at it!

—KJC

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