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Everyday Ethics

Wal-Mart seems to be playing a much larger part in our blog than usual lately, but apparently that’s where all the news happens. 

Actually, the incident I’m referring to in this case actually occurred three years ago, but the trial is approaching soon, and CNN recently hosted a small panel interview with John King to discuss whether or not this was a case of racism. 
Here’s the backstory: Heather Ellis, a Wal-Mart shopper, became involved in a verbal tussle with a cashier — she claims the cashier asked her for id even though she was paying cash and refused to hand over her change. The cashier claims she cut in line (wow, I’ve wanted to call the police on line-cutters, but this is ridiculous). From any account, it sounds as though things went from bad to worse quickly. The cashier called for the police, tempers rise, the situation turns into he says, she says. 

Far be it for me to judge something I didn’t witness firsthand (at least without some credible facts in the form of video or eye witness accounts); I certainly can’t say whether or not this was racism, or a justified arrest of someone disturbing the peace and resisting arrest. What I can say: 
  • My first reaction to this “panel” was a fair amount of scorn. I’m generally a fairly satisfied CNN-viewer, but this (in my opinion) blatant attempt to fan the flames was ridiculous. Plus, does anyone else find it transparent as heck the way pitted a black woman against a white woman in reversed stereotypical roles? I’m not saying they should have gone with the stereotype, but I felt the whole thing ended up very Jerry Springer-esque. Not credible on either side.
  • 15 years for a Wal-Mart scuffle? For cutting in line? Not in the least justified. Nor, I would say, is continuing the hoopla for some 3 years. The one true thing both panelists mention is that this whole trial is a waste of time and money.
  • Does it, and should it, matter that this woman is educated and a preacher’s daughter? If, in fact, she is innocent (or somewhat innocent at least) I would hope that her education or lack thereof had no bearing in the matter. The fact that the three people in this video so casually use her education as a possible defense is disturbing.

 Watch the video, judge for yourself and let me know what you think. 


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