I recently read a news article about a restaurant that was criticized for serving a racist burger named “Uncle Tom”. They claimed to not know that this was offensive. This first grabbed my attention because we talked about the meaning behind the reference “Uncle Tom” today in our class discussion. The second reason this grabbed my attention was because of the unbelievable ignorance behind the claim that the restaurant owner didn’t know this was an offensive term. Also, the restaurant opened a mere four months ago, amidst significant racial conflict throughout the world. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin is one of the most famous American novels in history. It describes the suffering of African American slaves. Also, as we discussed today in class, the term “uncle tom” is still relevant today as a derogatory term for a black person who are overly subservient to white people. It is completely unclear why the restaurant owner was motivated to name a burger after
This next made the question my perception of how informed our society is. Perhaps being a college student as a prestigious university in the south has given me a skewed perception of reality. I am lucky to be educated about racism and the societal struggle to overcome this issue. I am potentially misinformed about how racism is interpreted by society as a whole. On the other hand, I believe it is our obligation, as citizens, to be informed about current events and significant societal issues. It is truly offensive that this restaurant owner is uninformed to the extent that he is. I also think people need to be more sensitive to others and aware of how their language may offend someone’s cultural identity. Steps need to be taken to ensure that all members of society are informed about current events and cultural issues. This will help assuage many of the issues at hand.