Thursday, March 4, 2010

Loo, loo; vind to my loo!

(Alternate title: No, I’m just here for the naan.)
I’ve been mulling (or perhaps chewing) over this story ever since Mark Steyn posted a link to it in his sidebar a wee bit back.

Aussies urged to vindaloo against violence

Melburnians have always been known as foodies, but now they have a new reason to eat out.

Fed up [heh] with violence and the bad wrap [sic—or was it meant as a friendly non-racist ethnic flatbread pun?] her city was receiving, Mia Northrop decided to embrace Melbourne's love of food in a show of support for the Indian and migrant community.

On February 24, she is encouraging people all over Australia to take part in Vindaloo Against Violence.

Ms Northrop, who works as a digital media designer, says the idea is simple.

"The idea is that you just go to your local Indian restaurant and just dine on Indian food as a way of embracing the Indian community," she said.

As opposed to just going to your local Indian restaurant and just dining on Indian food because you are just hungry or just like the taste.

And anyway, how would anyone know? Diners were urged to register online for the event, but does it stop there? Do you wear your heart on your sleeve and announce your racism-free attitude when you come in the door of the eatery (thus embarrassing—or perhaps annoying—the proprietors, as in, "Hello there! Some of my best friends are folks like you!"), or do you say nothing and allow them to think that it’s just a good business day?

I know this event has passed, but it got me wondering about something: while the Melburnian “foodies” (what is a foodie, anyway? In my day, they were called gluttons, but no matter) were bending over backward trying to show the local “migrant communities” how totally non-racist they were, was anyone vetting the eating establishments themselves to find out if they were racism-free zones? You wouldn’t want to support racism in any way, would you? Even if it was exceptionally tasty?

Were the migrant-community restaurant owners interviewed as to their political, racial and religious views? Where they asked if they harboured hatred or prejudice or dislike against any identifiable groups? Were Hindu restaurateurs asked for their views on Sikhs or Muslims? Were Muslim eatery-owners asked if they hated Jews or other assorted infidels? Were Indian Christian (yes, there are some) restaurant-owners asked if they disliked gays or atheists?

And if so, were those establishments singled out and/or boycotted by the totally non-racist Vindaloo Against Violence Foodies? If not, why not?

Put in a slightly different setting, if you lived in the Southern U.S. and you knew that a really great steakhouse was owned and operated by a good old boy with old timey religion KKK sympathies, would you refuse to patronize his establishment? Or would you “Prime Rib Against Prejudice” in order to show him how tolerant you are of diversity?

Well, no, that’s different, the Vindaloo Against Violence Foodies would say. And as soon as they figure out how, they’ll let you know, but right now, that fragrant rogan josh and butter chicken are just too… distracting…. buttery… chicken…. korma… mmm….

In the meantime, the takeaway lesson is that when it comes to being totally non-racist, the policy is Tell, but Don’t Ask. And that it’s OK (praiseworthy, even) to patronize the business of someone who may hate your western culture and might even want you dead, because that’s what multiculturalism is all about.

And besides, the naan is free with the buffet.

Postscript: because this is Canada, and the word “racism” probably already has us flagged at the CHRC, allow me to state that I really like vindaloo.

1 comment:

  1. Open your mind, Mrs. P. Only persons of no color can harbor racist attitudes!