Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Elementary, my dear Watson, elementary

This morning, the morning crew, particularly Crank, had a shining moment.  We actually thought they had a grasp on what the word, stereotype, meant.  While talking about the Boston Bombing, all three referred to the unknown bomber as a terrorist.  When callers began to make the connection of terrorist to Muslim, Crank made it clear that they were using the term to refer to the violent act and no one should be jumping to conclusions based on stereotypes.  Terrorist did not automatically equate to a "brown skinned person".

Just when we thought that maybe, finally, Crank and team were beginning to understand the word, stereotype, Crank and Phoebus launch into a story of their adventure of trying to find a Mexican store.  To find the store, Crank relied on stereotypes.  He figured a Mexican store would have to be located somewhere along a railroad track so he and Phoebus turned down Railroad Road in Georgetown.  At first, Crank was disappointed, or, more accurately, frustrated, because he was certain his stereotyped view of a Mexican store being located on a railroad track should be true, but none was to be found.  They turned around, and the stereotype "was so obvious", they missed the store on the first pass.

Anyone with a high school education or GED could tell you that where Mexican stores are located is not based on a stereotype, but is based on deductive reasoning.  If, for example, they wanted to find a high-end retail store, like a Neiman Marcus or Saks Fifth Avenue, they would know to look in a big city around the wealthier side of town.  They wouldn't find the store along railroad tracks.

If they wanted to find a middle-range store, like a Walmart or Target - you know, those stores where the poor middle class people shop, but expect to be treated like their wealthier peers on the other side of town - they would know to look outside of the city, on a major thoroughfare, somewhere between the outskirts of the city or town and the suburbs.

If they want to find a locally owned store that caters to everyone else, they'll look where the store's targeted customer base most likely lives.  They probably wouldn't find the big name stores, high-end or middle range, in these areas. 

Through deductive reasoning, a Mexican store is going to cater to the Latino customer base.  They will open a store where there is a concentration of Latinos.  Here, on Delmarva, Latinos tend to be low-skilled, low-paid agriculture workers or shellfish and chicken processing workers.  They can't afford to live in the middle range of town, much less the high end of town.  The Latinos congregate in the poorer sections of town where the poor middle class people think they are too good to live at.  No one wants to live along railroad tracks, so the rent and property values are definitely in the range of the average Latino worker.  It makes sense, then, that the Mexican store will open in the same neighborhood.

Deductive reasoning.  Elementary my dear Watson, elementary.  No stereotyping involved.  Now, if only Crank and team could learn that.

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