2014-04-22

What Are We Teaching Our Youth?

From Slate.com:
In the fall of 2008, when I was 11 years old, I wrote to the CEO of McDonald’s and asked him to change the way his stores sold Happy Meals. I expressed my frustration that McDonald’s always asked if my family preferred a “girl toy” or a “boy toy” when we ordered a Happy Meal at the drive-through. My letter asked if it would be legal for McDonald’s “to ask at a job interview whether someone wanted a man’s job or a woman’s job?”

A few weeks later, I received a short response from a McDonald’s customer satisfaction representative claiming that McDonald’s doesn’t train their employees to ask whether Happy Meal customers want boys’ or girls’ toys, and my experiences were not the norm.

This response was unsatisfying, so I began visiting more than a dozen local McDonald’s locations with my father to collect data. Ultimately, we brought a complaint to the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities against McDonald’s for discriminating on the basis of sex. Despite our evidence showing that, in our test, McDonald’s employees described the toys in gendered terms more than 79 percent of the time, the commission dismissed our allegations as “absurd” and solely for the purposes of “titilation [sic] and sociological experimentation.” All in all, this was a pretty humiliating defeat.
The byline in this article indicates that its author, Antonia Ayers-Brown, is a junior in high school. This would seem to indicate that Ms. Ayers-Brown's parent(s) or legal guardian(s) have nothing better to do than to help her bring human rights lawsuits against fast food corporations for the manner in which their employees distribute toys.

No matter where you stand on the burning issue of complimentary toy distribution, we should all agree that parents who would teach their children to litigate when they see something objectionable are frankly teaching their children the wrong lessons.