|Mediterranean Food Market|
Back in early October, I pitched a story on local ethnic grocers to my editor. He gave me the nod and slated it for publication on Nov. 20--today--which serendipitously coincides with President Obama's scheduled remarks on the subject of immigration tonight.
|Tink Holl Food Market|
The research and writing of the article, The Diverse Language of Food: a Guide to Ethnic Markets, was both grueling and exhilarating. I am very proud of the result. It reflects this town and its people. It's about where we've been, where we are and where we're headed.
The people I met as I gallivanted around Cleveland snapping pics and interviewing for this piece were a true inspiration. These are the real Americans--hard working as they endeavor to deliver the very best of the best to their customers. They embrace diversity. They know it's the only way to run a business.
|Marco Mougianis at Mediterranean Foods,|
the shop his Gramp opened some 50 years ago
Diversity is what built this country. It's the only thing that will save it.
|Bob has manned the counter at Krusinski's for 53 years|
Now then, dear reader, imagine this. About a week ago when I was deep in the throes of penning my article and a bit breath-taken by it all, I took a break to go to the gym, where I mounted an elliptical machine next to two white men in their sixties. Here are some snippets of their conversation, spoken loudly enough to be heard by anyone within three or four feet.
One mused on people who file for bankruptcy. "I'd shoot all those sonsabitches first. I wouldn't even leave any for pallbearers."
There was another comment about Obama wanting to let "them" all in and how he couldn't remember "the numbers" in California, but "you wouldn't believe."
Race predictably came up.
"Can you imagine if they had a white scholarship fund? Nope. You can only do that for the n-----s."
That's what it looks like folks--the very worst this country has to offer, and a far cry from this quote from Enrique Muniz Jr., owner of La Borincana.
"All the Africans working here are refugees. They came here legally through the Catholic Church. No one wanted to hire them, but we opened our arms and hired them."
|Enrique Muniz Jr.|
I imagine Obama's upcoming remarks will spur a great deal of talk about immigration in gyms and bars and coffee shops around the country. Which side of history will you be on?
As for me, I'll be here in CLE shining a light on the little corners and rooting for the good guys as the Irish and Hungarian and German blood courses through my veins.
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