COLUMN: Take the small items off the menu of cultural tensions

Whoever thought butter would cause racial tensions?

  • Nov. 13, 2014 3:00 p.m.

On the Spot by Ken Herar

Whoever thought butter would cause racial tensions?

Well, I witnessed a few instances during last week’s sale in a local grocery store.

Here’s how the story goes: a South Asian woman had over her limit of butter in her cart, and was reaching for the last four that were available.

The Caucasian woman said to the South Asian female those last four are mine.

And so the shoving match ensues between the two.

We must remember, there was a limit of four butters per/person and customers were walking out with way above their suggested limit.

The South Asian lady was told by staff to return the remaining butters to the shelf and give the other customers an opportunity to purchase the three-day sale.

It’s situations such as this that can create barriers and stereotypes.

I’m not trying to pick on any particular community, but the South Asians do like a lot of butter and that’s fine.

But, there needs to be a focus on following  the general rules of retail when applied.

I know this may sound funny, but many people do get offended if rules are ignored.

As we strive to bridge our multicultural communities together, we don’t need butter being on the menu of discussion of racial remarks.

We should not let small issues like this deter us from what we should be focusing on in terms of our cultural diversity relationships.

Also, recently I had a discussion  with a  senior citizen on the topic of how language can be a barrier for those that do not speak the English language.

This lady went on and on about how seniors from the South Asian community should try to learn English.

I shared with her that in a perfect world this makes complete sense, but many struggle with learning a new language.

I understand both sides of the equation very well, but with patience and understanding, we can make everyone feel welcome.

I believe overall the entire community has done a very good job in embracing each other through our differences. Sure, there is room for improvement, but there’s much to be proud of.

Ken Herar@gmail.com