Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Of Profiling and Snails

For those of you who haven't been paying attention there has been quite a bit of hubbub over the possibility that a white police officer was being racist when he arrested a black Harvard professor after he forced an entry into his own home (I know, weird huh?). The hubbub only increased when our dear president waded into the fray to offer his opinions on things.

I have no interest in the incident particularly but it started me thinking, am I discriminatory in the way I view others, namely in making a vertebrate/non-vertebrate distinction? On Saturday Merry and I were at a BBQ to celebrate Pioneer Day (I should note that we were not celebrating the Donners at this BBQ) and I tripped over a cinder block, which caused me to lose the hot dog I was so eager to eat. As I picked up the hot dog off the ground and started to eat it I noticed that I had unwittingly exposed an entire city of snails to examination by the kids (it made me think of Godzilla poking around in a trailer park).

It kind of makes me wonder why they would have a "Godzilla v. Mothra" but not "Godzilla v. Snailtron", yet another one of life's persistent questions

After looking at the snails for a while and talking about how gross they were, the kids did what naturally follows and picked up the snails and started playing with them; much as Godzilla would play with a Japanese businessman before eating him. Needless to say this was distressing to Merry and several of the other women who repeatedly enjoined the children to leave the poor snails alone.

At the time I thought all the angst over the snails was a bit overblown, I mean, if the French children can eat them for lunch, shouldn't the American children be able to play with them after dinner? Of course this line of reasoning has its problems which returns me to my initial point about not celebrating the Donners as a part of our BBQ. After a great deal of thinking about snails and my own prejudices I realized that I harbor a very strongly held prejudice against things without back bones.

When it comes to the invertebrates I am kind of a jerk, I let children terrorize snails with impunity, I eat lobster and crab without a thought of remorse, and I kill house flies and mosquitos with a gusto; in fact I seek out opportunities to smash them. All of this pondering leads me to realize that although my prejudices will probably never raise the ire of our president, they will probably raise the ire of Merry when I let our children enjoy ravaging colonies of snails and rolly pollys.

1 comment:

Sam said...

Dave, We're going to have to meet, simply because this was the best blog post I have ever read. I'm afraid I share many of the same prejudices and wonder if it might be reasonable to consider starting PATWBBA (Prejudice against things without back bones anonymous) Although it may need to include gigantic lizards that terrorize trailer parks as well. (I think I'm pretty prejudiced against them even though I'm not a Japanese businessman. I'm guessing Snailtron would agree.)