Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Journey man

Against my better judgment, I watched the KMBC so-called local so-called news tonight. It's just been so long since I've had a good dose of homeless pet coverage, and I wanted to subject myself to the sickening stream of political ads.

I'm crazy like that.

So any way, anchorgeezer Larry Moore led off the news with the story of Keith Slater, the 22 year-old KC resident who found a racial slur printed on his receipt after returning a pair of shoes at the Journeys store in Overland Park's Oak Park Mall.

This isn't going to be a commentary on KMBC's coverage, although you can bet your Kenneth Cole's that since the story went national they'll be blanketing their coverage with senseless follow-up stories for the rest of the week.

Rather I just wanted to ask, nay implore, Slater's parents to take a higher road on this issue. Sure, they have every right to be pissed off. Who doesn't get angry when called a name -- even more so for a racially charged one.

But KMBC aired footage of a room full of local media hacks invited into Slater's home where his father threw out not-so-veiled threats of a lawsuit against a store that was clearly screwed by an employee (an employee who has been summarily and rightfully fired).

This goes dangerously close to perpetuating a stereotype.

So please, Slater family, don't play the role of the victim on this. Please don't wax melodramatic about your pain and suffering and the pain and suffering of your children.

Instead, be magnanimous and accept the store's apology. Lament the fact that this kind of thing can still happen in our day and age and try to make something positive out of it.

Teach your son that there are assholes in the world, but he doesn't have to be one. Teach him that he isn't defined by someone's ignorant opinion of him, but rather by the way he treats others.

Teach him, when being hated, not to give way to hating. Teach him to battle a stereotype by showing that the stereotype isn't true.

But don't be swayed by a pack of slimy lawyers trying to cash in on an insulting incident. Doing so may give you an extra 15 minutes of fame. But is that really what you want to be famous for?

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  1. Emaw, occasionally you come out with a damn fine bit of writing. Well done, and Bravo!

    But sadly, you know as well as I do, that this is the 'documenting my pain and outrage' phase, so they can get the lawsuit rolling. All over some ass hole teen-age hack.

    This also went 2 ways. That nut job makes everyone in this county look like shit too. At least according to Tony. :)

    Any who, awesome post, and amen.

  2. Love this post. And I agree. This happened to me at a Joe's Crab Shack once. The bartender was fired and forced to apologize. Funny though, I never thought to involve the media.

  3. As soon as I heard them mention the fact that the "family lawyer" was interested in getting better answers from the store management about the incident, my immediate though was, "Um, their 'family lawyer'? I wonder if they had a 'family lawyer' prior to this happening. Shit, should I have a 'family lawyer'? Maybe I already do, and I just don't know about it? I'd better call dad..."

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  5. of course there will be a lawsuit or settlement, thats the world we live in. More importantly I may sue you for indirectly leading me to read this ; http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=106341812&blogID=442933860

    Now you've gone and done it.

    Good post, and in a perfect world we would all ride unicorns and poo cotton candy.

  6. I don't know any of the details about this case beyond your words in this post - and I must say that I don't want to - but what you say rings through with common sense. And you say it very well.

  7. Enjoy your blog though I don't agree. you've stated your case well, but in this situation I don't agree. It is simply the age we live in that litigation is the most effective means of helping a company learn a lesson. Old fashioned boycotts don't do much, but I will be undertaking one at any rate for myself. It's not a big sacrifice but I don't need to spend my money there. I'd rather spend it somewhere else.

  8. I don't think anyone was calling for a boycott of the store, though. Were they? Hell, I've never even heard of the place!

    There's no point to the litigation, Sarah. The company wasn't responsible for the racial slur, a sick, stupid employee was. They handled that by firing the dope that did it. What's the lesson that will be taught to the company if they decide to sue? That they should know in the future to only employ robots as employees in their stores, so they can manage their actions themselves? ::rolls eyes::

  9. First, has anyone ever been to Journey's? It's about as posh as "Merry Go Round". Yeah, I know you remember that store--or perhaps, "County Seat". It's disgusting. Therefore, boycotting shouldn't be an issue since I have the ability to dress well.

    Great post, couldn't agree with you more.

    I caught a glimpse of the darkened silhouette of the "racist sales associate"--well done KMBC, your credibility lessens with each broadcast.

    Sidebar: When I was in Journalism School, we were taught that unless a source (the darkened silhouette) would identify themselves, they were not a viable source.


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