An incident that happened at one of the IHOP restaurants in the city of Auburn in Maine has sparked controversy in recent news. It is no doubt saddening to hear that the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) consumers’ favorite pancake chain may have shown discrimination against a group of people. On Sunday, the server on duty asked that several African American youths who were about to dine at IHOP pay the check prior to receiving their orders.
This may seem like a case of bigotry at first glance – as presumed by the general public as well as the IHOP president himself.
“IHOP and its franchises have zero tolerance for actions that are or allude to discrimination of any type,” he said. 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 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.”
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 server 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 incident from ever happening again. The corporation issued a statement to the public the day after the incident.
Mankind has been said to be evil by nature as portrayed by the Adam and Eve story. While greed and terrorism are undoubtedly some of the most dreadful entities, it is with full certainty to say that racism is the worst of all. Why are people discriminated against because of the color of their skin? Each and every one of us belong to the same biological 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 an outcome of our predominant geographic location. 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 populations 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 have more melanin in their genes, which protects them from getting sunburned as easily.
The most important takeaway from this explanation is that race is merely a social construct, a human invention created to justify inequality. However, people who have an innate racial prejudice are 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 be improving and bettering ourselves every step of the way. Consequently, despite what it may seem like, perhaps we should give the benefit of the doubt to the server in discussion. The reason for her action is clearly 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. Escobar promises that “this is the first time it happened, and that will be the last time.” Needless to say, the approach taken by the server remains disrespectful and ill-mannered.
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