A Blog about recording and performing musician Randy Granger told in his words. His life as a songwriter, performer, educator, serious Foodie and full-time musician with all the triumphs, lessons, life on the road observations told with humor, irreverence and reflection. An award-winning composer and songwriter Granger blends Native American flutes, the Hang, voice and world percussion into a completely unique contemporary Southwest World sound.
In the Chihuahuan Desert near the Organ Mountains, New Mexico
So and friend and I were
on line at Genghis Grill here in Las Cruces, NM. It's a recently opened chain
and I've eaten at them in other cities. We were in their "protein"
section where you choose fish, chicken, meat etc. for your bowl. One of the
employees dishing out the proteins (an African American younger guy) sees a
friend in line after us. He says to him, "You look like a fucking faggot
in that shirt." hahaha My ears are
jarred, like nails on a chalkboard, Rossane Barr singing, I stop, walk back and say, "Excuse me did
you just call him a fucking faggot?" He says, "Yes." I calmly
yet with direct eye contact tell him that I was particularly offended by that
language and was pretty certain the manager would be as well. I go on to say it
isn't okay to use that word, and especially when you are an employee in a very
public setting with paying customers. I explained it was as inappropriate as
someone using the "N" word in his presence. Asked for his name. We continued on a little more upset than we'd
have liked and certainly not as receptive to a good meal digesting. On the
grill line I hear a female employee telling another employee to “Fuck off.” I'm
thinking, what the hell? I don't eat out much but this is not cool. I’m not a
prude at all but I expect a certain level of restraint at a restaurant from
employees not in the kitchen. Otherwise I'd hang out at a bar or sporting event
to eat. Profanity changes the atmosphere. It makes it feel threatening,
hostile. We’ve become accustomed to expect language that is profane, violent,
demeaning as if we are all living inside the latest summer movie meets Breaking
I ask for the manager and
get the assistant manager. I explain what happened to him. He is pretty shocked
and apologizes. Soon after the GM comes to our table and asks what happened. I
explain the story calmly yet I’m assertive saying it made our experience
uncomfortable and in the age of Yelp, twitter and facebook it takes nothing for
this to go viral. Heck, I have friends who post every interaction and critical
review of everywhere they eat. Including whether or not the waiter had a cute
butt.The GM was upset too saying he
feels like a baby sitter to 80 employees. Many of who are working their first
paying job. My friend asks what kind of sensitivity training and protocols
there are for these issues. He assured us there were many in place. He then
bemoaned the quality of the work pool here in town where we live. A complaint
I've heard over and over in our economically depressed area in the 47th
poorest state. Still.
The GM, my friend and I
agreed that these are younger people, some employed for the first time, and
that they joke like that often with each other. Even so we also agreed that
level of unprofessionalism and lack of any type of awareness at having a job
involving the public is--well not something we can do much about expect
instance by instance demand better.
I decided to confront it
head on instead of ruining our meal, seething and vowing to boycott and venting
all over social media. I chose not to be victimized in that moment nor let my
friend feel that way too. I had had enough of feeling like they business is
doing you the favor allowing you to spend your money and descend to the level
of rowdiness and private party atmosphere. The whole place felt like that as
soon as we walked in so it shouldn’t be surprising. I mentioned this to the GM
and he said it was a shift change. I asked if that was an excuse. He paused and
said it was and that he was sorry for that. I was impressed by how seriously the GM took
our concerns. He came back several times and we chatted becoming more
comfortable each time with his body language. He took the employee in the back
and reprimanded him, pulled aside several other employees who were present and gave
them a serious talking to from what I could read on their faces.
As if on cue, the
"gay" employee brought us our bowls with a huge smile and warm
greeting. He saw my name Randy on the ticket and said, "You're Randy
GRANGER aren't you? I'm a big fan and have heard you several times. I love your
music." That just further illustrated that I did the right thing by using
the opportunity to educate rather than internalize the anger. We wanted to ask
him what it was like to work there. We decided instead he is part of that
generation and probably has developed some immunity as we did growing up and
entering the work field.
The GM comped our desert,
which was considerate of him but woefully inadequate. That was my whole goal in the first place, of
course, a free meal. I joke. All of us have a responsibility to address
bigoted, sexist comments when we hear them regardless of
the intent of the person speaking. I offered to do sensitivity training for the
crew. Having done hiv/aids training in schools, prisons, jail, for city/county
employees I can handle myself with grace and ease in the most hostile environments.
Not that I want that challenge.
As gay marriage as become
legal here I've witnessed lgbt community members point the finger at each other
for not doing enough, wearing the wrong clothes, being silent and just
generally picking each other apart. What this is is internalized oppression
they've felt for years from the dominant community. It is sad for me to see it.
I want to tell them our battles aren't with one another. They are still with
ignorance and fear in the larger world. Don't denigrate each other because it
makes you feel better. Have the courage to stand up in a public place and say,
it isn't okay to call other people, or each other, fucking faggots any longer.