It is certainly upsetting to receive news that the International House of Pancakes (IHOP), our all-time favorite pancake place has shown discrimination against a group of people. An incident that happened at one of the IHOP branches in the city of Auburn in Maine has sparked controversy in recent news. On Sunday, several African American youths who were about to dine at IHOP was requested by the waitress, who was on duty, to pay the check before getting their orders.
At first glance, this may seem like a case of bigotry – as presumed by the general public as well as the IHOP president himself. Darren Rebelez, the President of IHOP came out to address the issue after someone posted the story on Facebook. On Tuesday, Rebelez made an announcement to clear the IHOP chains of being accused of racial prejudice.
“IHOP and its franchises have zero tolerance for actions that are or allude to discrimination of any type,” he says.
He went on to justify what happened in Auburn as an “isolated incident” and informed the public that they will, of course, take responsibility for it. IHOP is now offering an official apology to the youths and he claims that the waitress will be given the proper disciplinary actions. Subsequently, that particular chain will be shut down on Thursday for further training to prevent this sort of incidents from ever happening again. The corporation issued a statement to the public the day after the incident as follows.
“IHOP and our franchisees strive to create a warm and hospitable dining experience for all guests, and this isolated incident is not reflective of that commitment nor tolerated. The franchisee of this location is in the process of reaching out directly to the affected guests to apologize for an individual team member’s misguided actions as well as using this as an opportunity to underscore the values we uphold as a brand with his entire team.”
Mankind has been said to be evil by nature as portrayed by the Adam and Eve story. While greed and terrorism are no doubt few of the most appalling elements, there is no doubt that racism is by far the worst. Why are people discriminated because of the color of their skin? Each and every individual are of the same species; If you can have enough love and affection as well as compassion towards another species like puppies and ponies, is it so difficult to direct that same compassion towards someone of the same species?
The concept of race, or the variation in the color of our skin is merely a result of our predominant geographic region. Melanin is the pigment in our genes that makes us tanner as it protects us against the harmful UV rays from the extreme sunlight. As such, the population that lived in locations that have more extreme sun exposure, have adapted to their environment by producing more melanin in their bodies after many generations. Those who are darker merely means that they have more melanin in their genes, which protects them from getting sunburned as easily.
The point is that race is merely a social construct, a human invention created to justify inequality. However, people who have an innate racial prejudice is awfully despicable and there is not a single word in the English language that is good enough to justify these actions.
With that in mind, we should aspire to be a better person in every way possible. Hence, despite of what it may seem like, perhaps the waitress at IHOP deserves the benefit of the doubt. This is highly plausible as explained by Melvin Escobar, the local manager. The incident is not a racial-based prejudice, instead it is because there have been cases whereby teens have skipped out on the check after dining. Needless to say, the approach taken by the server remains to be disrespectful and ill-mannered. Escobar promises that “this is the first time it happened, and that will be the last time.”
Featured Image via flickr/Mike Mozart