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October 31, 2007 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-10-31

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The Michigan Dail - WednesdIay, October 31, 2007
A TIP FOR DEVELOPING YOUR Slow Food movement: A global effort to preserve
local plants, animals and traditional techniques of food
COCKTAIL PARTY VERNACULAR preparation. It has 70,000 adherents in SD countries.

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WenedyOcoer31 006 - heMihianDaly S

Escaping the shadow of,
the Twin Towers: Arab
Americans post-9/11
In an excerpt from his soon-to-be-released
book about Arab Americans, Political
Science Prof. Ron Stockton, who works on
the Dearborn campus, talks about the racial
tensions that followed in the wake of 9/11.

ot surprisingly, Arab
Americans do not form
their opinions on foreign
policy issues in conformity with
general patterns, but neither are
they entirely different. To empha-
size the similarities would deny
the uniqueness of the group just
as emphasizing the differences
would take the group out of his-
tory and out of the country, as if
nothing in the American experi-
ence had an impact. As we noted
earlier, the Arab-American expe-
rience exists on both sides of the
hyphen.
Arab Americans have two
qualities that make them distinct.
One is that they are an ethnic
population charged with concern
for their homelands. This qual-
ity is not rare in itself, but the
nature of their arrival in the U. S.
is different from the experience
of many other ethnic nationalist
groups. As Shryock and Lin note,
the influx of Arab immigrants has
been "triggered, and has been
periodically sustained, by com-
plicated, often horrible, geopoliti-
cal events," in which U.S. policy
played a disturbingly important
role. Other groups - Cubans,
Jews, Lithuanians, Armenians,
Irish - all found sympathy in the
U.S. for their national causes. The
same is not true with today's Arab
Americans. If there is anger or
passionate distress in this com-
munity, as individuals look back
to their homelands and what has
happened to Them, it should not
come as a surprise.
They are also unique in a sec-
ond way. Arabs and Muslims are
the only group in the country
singled out for systematic moni-
toring and even harassment. Not
only do security forces have them
under surveillance, but private
organizations and political inter-
est groups attempt to reduce or
marginalize their involvement
in politics. Michael Suleiman,
author of "Arabs in America:

Building a New Future" and other
books about Arab Americans,
calls this a "politics of exclusion."
The stories are endless: persons
appointed to advisory commit-
tees or staff positions or grant-
ed public service awards have
their appointments and honors
challenged and even cancelled.
Political candidates return dona-
tions from Arab Americans, both
Christians and Muslims. Often
the grounds are vague. Individu-
als are said to have made a loosely
defined "anti-Israeli" or "pro-ter-
rorism" statement or are linked to
someone with such views. These
rejections involve the very nature
of citizenship. Citizenship is not
just a passport and the right to
vote. It involves the right to full
political engagement, including
the right to assemble in organi-
zations that disagree with pub-
lic policy, the right to petition
for redress of grievance through
challenges to authority and the
right to participate in the political
process. As Haddad notes with
regards to returned campaign
donations, "many in the commu-
nity feel disenfranchised, given
the importance of donations in
providing access to elected offi-
cials and determining American
policies." In this sense, there is
a convergence of civil liberties
issues and foreign policy expres-
sion, and many Arab Americans
would see them as two dimen-
sions of the same issue.
President Bush may have con-
tributed to the problem. In his
speech to the Islamic Mosque in
Washington after the attacks of
Sept. 11, 2001, Bush drew a dis-
tinction between radical and
mainstream Muslims. This quali-
fication was beneficial at the time,
protecting a vulnerable minority,
but it contained a trap not imme-
diately obvious. It compelled
Muslims to claim the mantle of
moderation. Put bluntly, they
See BOOK, Page 10B

LEFT: Taylor Smith works inside the Bread Box in Zingerman's Deli, offering advice about baked goods. RIGHT: Annie Quinn works in what's called the Sales, Service, and Sandwich
Department at Zingerman's Deli, helping customers choose food and taking their orders. Smith and Quinn are part of a large fleet of food-savvy employees who have been trained in
hyper-attentive customer service.
A cottage in dustry that's not cottage cheese:
Th e surprisig size oftheZigrans
With more than 500 employees and tens of millions of dollars in
income, Zingerman's takes the corner deli to a whole new level

e've all heard of the sandwiches
- the cheese, the bread, the meat.
We know how good the food is,
how it's imported from all over the world
and how we have to pay upwards of $15 for
macaroni and cheese.
Zingerman's food has become an integral
part of the culture of Ann Arbor. Just ask the
people who stand in lines reaching through
the front doors of the deli and down the red
brick of Detroit Street. It all seems simple,
but there's more to the company than the
average Ann Arborite might expect.
There are seven separate Zingerman's
businesses in the city, which, together, have
donated large sums to local causes, employ a
surprising number of people and operate on
one of the most bizarre, and, by some mea-
sures, most successful business models in the
country. The deli on Detroit Street was only
the beginning.
Last Tuesday, in a crowded room with a
low ceiling and yellow walls, more than 25
business representatives sat and listened,
intently to a panel of randomly plucked
Zingerman's employees - a manager, a chef
and a waitress among others - speak about
the Zingerman's way of doing business. The
seminar, which lasted most of the day, cost
about $1,000.
Although it brings in surprisingly little
profit, the Zingerman's business model has
managed to command the attention of profit-
able businesses across the country. And it's

not just food ventures - at Tuesday's seminar From the beginning, Weinzweig said
there was even one business representative Zingerman's was going to do its own thing.
from NBC. While corporate types listening "We wanted to have a really unique place,"
to restaurant workers might seem strange, he said. "We knew we didn't want a chain, or
Zingerman's does a pretty brisk business a copy of somewhere in New York or Chi-
spreading its gospel of obsessive customer cago."
service and an egalitarian workplace. In fact, When asked his favorite thing to get at
it has an entire business, Zingerman's Train- Zingerman's, he looked flummoxed.'
"Today?" Weinzweig mused. "That would
be the hand-made cream cheese from the
creamery."
W hat ekactly are you Thecreamery,Weinzweigexplains,makes
pyingfor when cream cheese the way it was made a hundred
you buy that $12 "No vegetable gum. Hand-ladled, not
extruded, you know, pumped, no preserva-
sandwich? tives, no sweeteners. It's all done by hand."
What would he put it on? "I don't know - a
fork is good."
Above all, Weinzweig said, he and Sagi-
ing Inc., or ZingTrain, which often runs naw wanted a place where someone could
seminars out of the top floor of the cafe. really enjoy food.
In the back of the room sat a lanky, bespec- "We knew we wanted a really good place
tacled man in faded jeans with the sleeves on for people to work, and we wanted to deliver
his t-shirt, as they always are, rolled up about great food ina nice atmosphere," Weinzweig
half an inch. The man is Ari Weinzweig. He said.
co-founded Zingerman's in 1982 along with
his friend and fellow food-lover Paul Sagi- With 511 employees allbased in Ann Arbor,
naw. It started with a love of dining, but Zingerman's is one of the largest employers.
Weinzweig has since developed the Zinger- in the city. According to a list compiled by
man's philosophy into a commodity almost Ann Arbor Spark, the area's economic devel-
as popular as the food - even authoring a opment agency, aside from the Pfizer Global
few books about Zingerman's, one of which Research and ProQuest offices, which have
is solely about customer service. both announced plans to leave the city, Zing-

erman's is probably the fifth largest non-
public sector employer in the city behind
Borders Group, Inc., with 1,200 employees,
Toyota Technical Center headquarters with
900, ABN AMRO Mortgage Group Inc. with
850 and Dominos Pizza, with 550. Though
the agency doesn't compile employee sta-
tistics for retail agencies, it's safe to assume
that there aren't too many other Ann Arbor
businesses with more than half a thousand
workers.
"Boy, that's kinda scary, isn't it?" Weinz-
weig said of the statistic. "Do we have a
responsibility (to open up new jobs)t Yes.
We're staying in the community absolutely."
But all these employees have to get paid
somehow, and their wages contribute to the
staggering prices. of course, there are people
who would be willing to sacrifice beingtreat-
ed like royalty by a multitude of employees
in exchange for not having to be royalty to
afford the food. But though it might not seem
like it, in terms of price gouging, Zingerman's
is actually pretty merciful.
Zingerman's brings in all kinds of exotic
foods, from hot chocolate from Ecuador to
oil from Italy. As you may expect, all of this
foreign food doesn't come cheap. They could
be charging a lot more, though. Although
Zingerman's brought in about $31 million
last year, the profit margin was slim, about
3.5 percent.
"We try to balance all these pressures,
See ZING'S, Page 11B

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