Breaking Down Racial Stereotypes

When we arrived in beautiful South Haven, Michigan for our week of relaxation (if that’s possible with two kids under the age of two) I was very hungry (this happens often). We pulled into the local McDonald’s and went inside for their version of the Southern Chicken Sandwich (it has nothing on Chick fil A). There was a high school basketball tournament going on across the street so a bunch of kids were hanging out in the McDonald’s.

There was a black teenager sitting by himself eating a salad. Two white teenage girls scope him out. He’s clearly an athlete so I figure the girls are looking at his ripped biceps. I was wrong. They approached him and sheepishly asked, “Hey, man. Can we get a smoke?” His response was priceless.

He started at them for a moment and then gave a disgusted look before loudly asking somewhat rhetorically, “You smoke???” He shook his head while the girls faces turned red. They ran out of the restaurant and back across the street to the tournament hoping to hide their rejection and embarrassment.

The only thing better than seeing two teenage girls trying to sneak a smoke behind their parents’ backs, is them assuming the black kid in the restaurant would obviously have a cigarette.


17 thoughts on “Breaking Down Racial Stereotypes

  1. You silly guy!! Your assumption of their alleged assumption is purely presumptuous…Were there other kids approachable or were they cliqueish? They may have felt more comfortable with him because many of their friends may be black….
    One never knows so I will NOT assume….
    On the other hand….hard to beat Chick-fil-A…and how is your paid vacation going, Cisco?!! Enjoy it!!! I surely would!! Have a great day…miss you!!

  2. Really??? That’s racism? I thought you were going to tell a story about how they asked the young black man to leave because he was not wanted in there, or how they called him a name. Maybe they could have told him to pull up his pants? Asking for a smoke would not, and will never be racism.

  3. Quite far from racism, Cisco. It might be stereotyping, but even that would be a stretch and you would need to somehow go inside of these girls’ heads to figure out what they were actually thinking. Labeling something like this racism is exactly what continues to fuel the fire…

  4. Was that really racism? Reading your account I feel I am missing something. Could they have assumed he had a smoke because he was simply a boy, not just a black boy?
    Or maybe they were scoping him out and they were really bad at pick up lines.
    Or maybe I’m just really naive to see where smoking = black.

  5. People of color are really hard up for examples of racism if this is the best you can do.

    Also, if you keep stirring the mess it will never go away. Of course then all the benefits of being a minority will never go away either, affirmative action, quotas, grading benefits, etc.

    Furthermore, Cisco I feel your comments are an example of racial stereotyping of white people by people of color. Everything we do you filter through your own color, frantically looking for a slight you can cling to in an attempt to explain your own culture’s difficulties. You disappoint me Cisco.

  6. I’ll be the only reply that agrees with you, Cisco. These girls would not have approached a generic white guy for a smoke, they were looking for the more obvious bad boy in the place. Good for that young man who, instead of being flattered by the approach of some young ladies, stuck to his principles and loudly rebuffed (and embarrassed) them. We need more guys who stand up and say, this is not OK!

    1. I’m tracking with you Carole. Thanks for understanding. Maybe “stereotypes” is a better word than “racism” but there were white kids in the restautant and they didn’t get asked for a smoke.

  7. Very subtle stereotyping. I must admit, I wouldn’t have picked up on it either. It might have been more obvious, had I been there to witness it. Still, perhaps there’s a certain level of acceptance to this form of stereotyping in our society? I’m curious to know if your wife noticed it too?

  8. I honestly wouldn’t have seen that as racism eather, but more the mysterious world of teenagers. I raised a bunch of them and those girls could have had a different agenda in their cute lil air heads. Whoops – that comment could be stereo typing too. Sometimes it is just life not racism. Relax and breath.

  9. I would agree with the many other comments. It might be racism, but it also might not be. Certainly, it is not overt. I would, however, agree that subtle racism is more prevalent in our day than overt racism. Both are repugnant.

    I think the lesson here, however, is about the dangers of assuming or guessing at the motives of the human heart. I think the bible calls this judging others and can lead many a well-meaning Christian down a dangerous path of becoming a Pharisee. We’re all dead in our trespasses and need Jesus’ redeeming blood. Let’s get after that and leave the judging to God alone.

  10. I would hardly call that racism, but I will tell you a story about racism that my family experienced at McDonalds… this was 20 years ago…. My mom went to a McDonalds with my younger brother. At the register, a white kid told my mom that they don’t serve “chinks”. My mom came home very upset, my brother was too young to have done anything. I was infuriated. I phoned Mc’s corporate office and told them of their employee’s racist remarks. The employee phoned my mom to apologize and McDonalds mailed us $50 in gift certificates as their way of compensating for their employee’s racism. My mom refused to use the gift certificates and promptly ripped them up and threw them away.

  11. Cisco . . Long-time fan, but in disagreement with your stereotyping comments. Far too easy for you and others to make such observations. Never has there been a more divisive topic, all to often made on the premise of assumptions. Racism assertions and misrepresentations of that bogus reality has become big business. Sharpton, Rev Jesse,
    and an endless, tedious list of people who proper by exploting this issue beyond the absurd. Certainly, racism in various forms exists, but it’s ownership extends beyond the incessently maligned caucausian race. Cisco, your presumptuous observations simply follow an exploitive path so often chosen by those who make a living under the guise of the great protectors of presumed evil-doers. So often, simply bogus. Best to you. Bill

  12. I don’t even set foot in a McDonald’s, Cisco, due to their racist “Black 365” indoctrination efforts. Wendy’s is where I trade due to their pro-adoption/anti-abortion beliefs. Yes, I have a child (now 31 years old) whom we adopted.

    Guess I’ll never see if a couple of idiot girls asked a male for a smoke. By the way, are you certain these halfwits didn’t want to obtain something that’s illegal instead of just a garden-variety cancer stick? Wonder what the price for their ‘smoke’ would have been?

    Although through the years I’ve regularly agreed with your stances on political and social, issues, I believe you were way off on thsi one.

    1. Yuck, in my last line I inserted a useless comma (after “social”)and did a typo on “this”.


  13. I, too, don’t like to assume situations (you know what they say assume means), but, I can definitely understand why you would think that. I probably would have pondered the same incident too, Cisco. I would have thought, *Why did they ask him, and not some other random guy or girl in the restaurant.?* *Was it because he black or buff?….hmmmm* That would be my whole thought entirely. Anyway, wish you had walked by the guy, patted his shoulder and told him *Good job, bud*. (for refusing to give those girls cigarettes) regardless of the situation. 🙂

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