April 26th, 2010

Angry

Taste of Decatur = Waste of My Saturday = Scam

I love the fact that now, when you have a bad customer experience, you can share it and find out, hey, you weren't the only one.

My experience Saturday at the Taste of Decatur "festival":

Taste of Decatur Not So Tasty
http://www.decaturmetro.com/2010/04/25/taste-of-decatur-not-so-tasty/

(BTW, been asked to clarify that this event was NOT in any way related to "Garden of Eatin: A Taste of Decatur" festival put on by Decatur Cooperative Ministries.)

And here are multiple blogs backing me up:

Taste of Decatur Was a FUBAR from the Get-Go to the Letdown
http://airbornecombatengineer.typepad.com/in_decatur/2010/04/taste-of-decatur-was-a-fubar-from-the-get-go-to-the-letdown.html

A Rant on Taste of Decatur
http://random-oenophile.blogspot.com/2010/04/rant-on-taste-of-decatur.html

Taste of Decatur: How not to organize an event 101
http://pandasandcupcakes.com/?p=616

And here's a news article:

Event Leaves Bad Taste in Decatur's Mouth
http://decaturnewsonline.com/news/article_6dce19f8-5071-11df-ad54-001cc4c03286.html
sideview, obamame_sideview

Empathy

One thing I find sadly lacking in this world of cynicism, sarcasm and satire is a general lack of empathy. Or at least a willingness to skim over empathy except in rare cases when we're asked to really think about what we're saying. Once we look at our words and views, we might say "Oh, well that's not really fair..." However, most of the time we don't stop and do that, but just go on flippantly dissing other people, people with other beliefs, etc.

One example of this, which is so common it's a great example, is the way many people characterize young black women in low-level retail jobs. These women are slandered in casual conversation, email, the media, etc., as "ghetto," a waste of space, ignorant, too into their nails, having poor taste, having bad hair, not talking "right," etc., etc. I hear and see it happening all the time. Now, it's true, sometimes there is humor to be found but it bugs me that so much of the humor, dissing, dismissing comes at the expense of people who aren't exactly responsible for their own situations.

I mean, a girl raised by a single teen dropout mom in a tiny apartment in southwest Atlanta who didn't have any "finer" education, who grew up surrounded by people mostly like her, who hasn't ever had the means to "better" herself and finds a job as a checkout girl is the best she can do... Is it really so funny? What other way could she be, given the situation and opportunities (or lack thereof) she's had?

I'm just citing one example of a theoretical person, but everyone out there, poor, rich, black, white, etc., has their own circumstances, and those circumstances might not always (and I would say, usually aren't) entirely their fault. The same goes for homeless people -- do you think a 55-yeard-old man stood up in class at age 10 and say "I want to be an alcoholic living under a viaduct when I grow up"? Don't you think they tried to avoid their fate? Anyone can make a bad choice and, coupled with bad luck, bad education, bad family history, mental illness, or whatever other individual circumstance, that choice can lead downward. Blaming the victim or characterizing them as bad, evil, worthless, etc., really to me shows a lack of empathy, a lack of imagination.

Not saying I'm guiltless in this, but there are too many people who seem never to put on their feeling hearts and are always just being *ssholes when talking about other people who they think are "lesser" than them. I don't know how to solve these issues of poverty, drug addiction, illiteracy, etc., but I do know that empathy and understanding are necessary.
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