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May 29, 2001 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2001-05-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - The Michigan Daily -5

The waiting is the hardest part
still hurts to think about last sum- respect. They laugh at all your jokes.
Smer: The dimly lit building, the They pretend to be sorry you didn't like
moke, the alcohol. It was so impor- the soup. They treat you like royalty. Tell
tant to smilgpretty, to act like I enjoyed you to have a good night. Say that your
the insults and the greasy 53-year-old children - who have spent the last
men with their leering looks, their lewd three hours screaming and grinding oys-
comments and their crinkly dollar bills. ter crackers into
Sometimes they called me stupid. the carpet - are
Sometimes they slipped me their phone adorable. The least
numbers on square bar napkins. I you can do is be
always felt so dirty at the end of the civil. When dining
night, but at least I had a fat wad of cash out, remember:
to show for it. "Waitress" is
That is, before I tipped out the not a proper
bussers and the bartender and gave the noun. Address
broiler guy a little extra on the side for your server by her
helping carry steaks out to that party of name. However, do
30. AUBREY not use her name
The worst thing about working in a H ENRETTY more than once per
restaurant is that you have to deal with .. sentence, twice per
Restaurant Customers on a daily basis. visit to your table.
(Note: When I say "Restaurant Cus- Excessive name use is just creepy. In the
tomers" I do not mean "human beings;" event that you do not know her name,
Restaurant Customers are actually "Oh, miss" is also acceptable, but not
members of the leech family.) The aver- when you drag out the vowels.
age Restaurant Customer is equal parts If she says it's decaf, take her
drill sergeant ("YOU ARE NOTHING, word for it. Why would she lie to you?
YOU MAGGOT! BRING ME MORE Besides, if she was lying the first time,
BREAD RIGHT NOW, SOLDIER! what makes you think she won't do it
AND MAKE IT HOT!), four-year old again?
child ("Is it done yet? Is it done yet? Is it Your waitress is broke. Some wait-
done yet?") and tenured English profes- resses have to share their tips with
sor ("This whitefish is not fit for human enough people to populate a small
consumption"). country. Also, contrary to popular
Though I was fortunate enough to belief, waitresses do not make mini-
escape the intellectual prostitution that mum wage. They do not make half min-
is the food service industry, I left behind imum wage. If you can't tip at least
a host of bright, overworked, underval- fifteen percent, cook your own damn
ued women and men who deserve your food and serve it to yourself.

Your waitress is probably smarter
than you are. So don't treat her like a
child or a sex object. Many waitresses
are working their way through college
or grad school. I once worked with a
grad student who was teaching a class
on neuropsychology. She really enjoyed
having Customers tell her she was too
dumb to do her job.
Your waitress has other tables. I
know this may come as a shock, but
your waitress is busy. If you order a
small green salad and a glass of water
on a Saturday night, don't expect to see
her for more than twenty seconds. And
don't act all insulted about it, either. The
same economic model that allows you
to choose between JC Penny and
Bivouac allows your waitress to choose
between your fifty-cent tip and that
other table's fifteen-dollar one.
Finally (and this goes back to the
part about your waitress being intelli-
Your waitress understands spoken
words. Hand gestures such as waving
your glass in the air when you want
more grapefruit juice and pointing dis-
gustedly at your empty plate when you
want it removed are completely unnec-
essary. Also, anyone who whistles to get
his waitress's attention deserves to be
shot in the stomach. She's a human
being, not a dog.
Which is more than I can say for
some people.


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A responsible critique of.BAMN
inority leaders on this campus dential ticket of BAMN, that his current
have a tough challenge ahead. job would conflict with his running for
AMN (under the auspices of student government. Curtin goes on to
Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coali- assure him that he will not win, that in
tion) is running a conference this week- fact, DAAP does not want him to win.
end (June 1-3) on our campus to They instead want another candidate,
organize for a national march on Wash- Agnes Aleboua,
ington, DC in defense of affirmative who is running for
action. A prominent display on the that seat, to win. Of
BAMN website states that the confer- course, this DAAP
ence is "open and democratic." All deci- candidate is sur-
sions at the conference will be made on prised at such a
the basis of "free and open discussion statement and asks
and democratic majority vote." This for more clarifica-
statement, of course, comes as a shock to tion, to which
many of the minority leaders here, AMERG. Curtin calmly
including myself We have never known A R responds to the
BAMN to encourage any type of free AHR effect that the only
and open democratic policies. a) reason she had
Perhaps BAMN is turning over a wanted him, a
new leaf with this proclamation. I doubt ' member of the X-
it. I have no doubt that as a result of this American community to run, was in
column (as occurred as the result of order to get members of his community
some of my other actions last fall) I will to vote for DAAP without regard for his
be labeled a "right-wing collaborator," or own chances of winning. It is this kind of
some other artful description of the same fleeting arrogance, this kind of political
thing. That kind of rhetoric is not the talk ineptitude, this kind of ideocentric think-
of an open and democratic organization. ing that has discouraged the vast majori-
But it is nothing new to us. Most minori- ty of colored people on this campus from
ties on this campus have lost their collec- working with BAMN.
tive morale as a result of the exclusivist So, colored people have a challenge.
actions of BAMN, but many have Do we say, "the hell with it," and simply
worked on despite them, notwithstanding let BAMN go on functioning and pur-
BAMN's labeling of their actions as porting to speak for us? Or do we forge a
insignificant and so on. new ideology that allows us to speak for
In fact, allow me to share a quick ourselves? Of course, we must advocate
true story with you. Imagine this. A the latter. We need to move on from
member of the X-American community defining our aspirations in the terms of a
decides to run for the student govern- few students and some paid socialist
ment with the Defend Affirmative activists from other cities and start
Action Party, an arm of BAMN (of demarcating our own territory independ-
course, you may insert Asian, Arab, Lati- ent of BAMN. We need to stop blindly
no, or whatever you like for "X"). This allowing cynical politicians like Jesse
DAAP candidate expresses his concern Jackson (a man who has lost his moral
to Jessica Curtin, one half of the presi- authority to speak on civil rights for rea-

sons much deeper than fathering a child
out of wedlock) to use our campus as a
political stomping ground, and start
becoming our own spokespersons.
Black, Asian, Latino, Arab, Jewish, Mus-
lim and all interested students need to
take our own stake and define ourselves
not as anything anti-BAMN, but rather
as something vibrant, something purely
democratic and true to our desires as tra-
ditionally oppressed minorities on this
campus. This does not mean, of course,
totally abandoning the upcoming confer-
ence. I would encourage any progressive
activists to attend and voice their prob-
lems with BAMN, along with their alle-
giance to any truly democratic
movement that we can all be proud of. It
is a fine line, one that calls for some
courage and one that calls for a willing-
ness to be singled out, labeled and even
chastised by some sure to be present
extreme attitudes at this conference.
Yelling and screaming about how
BAMN has betrayed us won't do the
trick. We need tobe bigger than that, for
I am more than confident that most of
the colored people on our campus can
intellectually outdo any of the empty
attacks that would surely come. Rise up
intellectually. If they wish to scream, let
them scream. But we must not appear as
exclusivist as they. We can demonstrate
that we are bigger, for if BAMN is right
about anything, it is that some kind of
civil rights movement must be fashioned
to fight the racism and oppression that
has now taken on new and sophisticated
forms that would have never existed
forty years ago. Let'sbe part of it, ina
manner that is uncensored, egalitarian
and honorable.
-Amer Zahr can be reached via

AT ahenrtt@umicI.edu

L -

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