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Panda Express: Latest political correctness target

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POSTED March 13, 2009 4:24 a.m.
Berkeley despite all of its posturing as being a bastion of tolerance is perhaps one of the least tolerant places on earth.

This is the town where the more radical element defines tolerance as those who agree 100 percent with their ideology du jour. While chasing the Boy Scouts out of the marina where they ran a successful Sea Scouts program for years and provided structured activities as well as strong role models, the justification was based on the charge Scouting discriminated against gay youth. That simply is not the case.

Scouting does ask adult volunteers whether they are gay but never have asked youths to pass a sexuality test to join. As for teens who want to openly express their sexuality – whether it is hetero, same sex or who knows what – Scouting isn’t the organization to join. It is not a singles or couples club for teens.

Yet the entire debate in Berkeley got framed as scouting discriminating against gay youth and not their policy of not having openly gay volunteers. It is totally off-base to frame Scouting in terms of whether they discriminate against gays as there have indeed been gay Scouts and gay Scout volunteers. There always have been and always will be. They just had the brains enough to understand Scouting isn’t about sex.

In Berkeley, though, protestors feel an obligation to define whatever they’re opposing in their own terms specific to their own biases and not their target’s relationship with society as a whole.

The case in point is this week’s Great Panda Express Protest.

A group of students are trying to prevent Panda Express from opening on the University of California campus as they have done elsewhere in the UC system.

Why?

Here are the reasons: They don’t want Cal to look like a strip mall. They say students can already buy cheap “indigestible” Chinese food at Cal Berkeley. They say Panda Express offerings have too much fat and sodium. It’s an affront to the free-speech movement. It is an improper expression of the Asian community.

Let’s see, Panda Express isn’t killing off rain forests, it’s not forcing workers to slave in a Third World country for 25 cents a day, and it has no known instances of sexism or racism.

It’s just that Panda Express doesn’t meet the view of the world the protestors have. They believe the university has an obligation to use a food co-op type enterprise to prepare and sell Chinese food. If large American business is so distasteful, maybe the protestors will be as pure as they claim they are and swear off stepping into any building on campus or take part in the program at a school of education where “monolithic” – their term – American corporations such as Panda Express have dumped money into over the years.

Since this is Berkeley, that is not going to happen. The only people who have to be transparent and pure are the protest targets.

Back in the 1990s, Burger King wanted to expand in Berkeley. They even were going to add a first to their menu – veggie burgers.

By the reaction you would have thought Stanford grads had proposed buying the UC campus and turning it into an annex of the Palo Alto campus while painting everything cardinal red and white plus converting Telegraph Avenue into a strip mall for added measure.

Burger King was literally chased away because the protestors were upset about cow killing.

Now why would they want to give the general public who isn’t dialed into non-meat choices a chance to see that there is something that might just fit into their lifestyle that isn’t meat?

The retort of the protestors was the fact that it was the wrong kind of vegetarian product as it was being cooked unhealthy.

It all comes down to one thing and one thing only – you can have free-will and independent thinking as long as you end up agreeing with the protesting elite. If not, you get chased out of Berkeley. That is how tolerance seems to work in Berkeley.

It’s ironic in that the protestors are no different than those in the suburbs they despise who get their dander up and protest against multiple family housing going in next door or rally against cell towers going in down the street.

The protestors are just practicing a more subtle form of NIMBYism – not in my backyard – that is actually more discriminatory. Suburban protestors typically make outrageous statements like multiple family housing breeds crime, blight and such things. The more radical Berkeley protestors trying to chase something out of their town cloak their biases not because they are devious but because they have a self-righteous streak as wide as the Bay Bridge is long.

If you feel like striking a blow for freedom of choice, drop by a Panda Express and order one of their politically incorrect meals. Manteca has two of them which must mean we’re lackeys of imperialistic and capitalistic America.
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