Did you see this?
Probably not because who cares about receipts from fast foot joints like Papa John’s? But if you look carefully, you’ll notice that an employee tried to be “funny” and wrote in “lady chinky eyes” to identify the Asian customer.
Here’s 6 things you should know:
1. Umm, don’t hate. My slanted eyes are beautiful.
2. The customer’s name was 24-year-old Minhee Cho – the exact same name as my wife. Some of you asked and emailed me. Unless my wife has a private jet, she was not in New York this past weekend. She was home in Seattle so this was a different Minhee Cho.
3. Minhee Cho posted the picture on her Twitter account and the next thing you know, it went viral. The last time I checked, it was viewed 209,154. Wow. And before you knew it, it was posted on Huffington Post and the New York Daily News.
Can someone say “the power of social media?”
4. I was pretty upset. Bummer that this still happens. Sad to say but it happens to my kids at school. Real bummer.
5. I obviously don’t know the 16-year-old employee and honestly, I really wished she wasn’t fired. Really. I know that our initial mindset is usually inclined towards thinking that justice = firing but I disagree in situations like this. Jobs are scarce. 16-year-olds that are working seem scarce.
Rather, I just wanted Papa John’s to invest time and money on cultural awareness and sensitivity – not just for the employee but for all the employees including the manager who blamed this incident on the influence of “modern music” or “hip-hop music.” Double huh.
And wished that other companies would see this as a great opportunity to check their company’s cultural sensitivity.
Wonder if cultural sensitivity should happen even at churches. Another post later on this.
6. This is a big deal despite what folks sometimes think. Why is this important? I know what you ‘re thinking. Someone always thinks this way:
- This isn’t a big deal.
- There are more important things in the world.
- Grow thicker skin.
- I’m sure they were just trying to be funny.
- They meant good.
- It’s a pizza receipt.
Yes, I’ve heard them wall – w/ the exception of “it’s a pizza joint.”
But it is a big deal. Small things matter. They add up. They impact people. You should know that slitting your eyes or calling someone ‘chinky eyes’ has been used and said historically in the past and present as a way to mock, offend, and degrade Asians locally and globally. And if we don’t make a big deal of this and other instances, it will continue to not only occur but be perceived by some as acceptable.
But it’s not acceptable. Not in my face. Not to my children. Not to this Minhee Cho. And not even on my fast food receipt.
But want to know what’s awkwardly funny?
I – temporarily – made a decision to boycott Papa John’s Pizza when I saw this receipt on Saturday morning – until at least some formal apology and plan for cultural sensitivity was shared. Yesterday, I went to church and after our morning services, we had a meeting at our church basement. While we occasionally serve pizza, we’ve NEVER served Papa John’s but behold…12 boxes of Papa John’s Pizza.
Couldn’t help but to laugh – awkwardly.