As a man of the South, I’ve spent a lot of time in Publix. Their deli is actually a destination, where hungry lunchers devour the legendary chicken tender “Pub Sub” with aplomb, and between the cinnamon buns and chocolate chip cookies, I could spend all day in their bakery just getting buzzed off the aromas.
I’ve also encountered an Express Lane Vigilante a time or two—you know, the inconsiderate doofus who drops way more than the allowed ten items on the conveyor belt, then studiously ignores the dirty looks from all the poor saps standing in line behind. So when the Erica Thomas controversy popped up in my Twitter feed, as most stupid non-story stories do, I could easily sympathize with Eric Sparkes, the guy who took it upon himself to strike a blow for shafted shoppers everywhere and shame Thomas for her callous appropriation of the express checkout line. And I imagine I’m not the only one.
Thomas, of course, being an elected official with an entitlement streak much bigger than her title as a Georgia state representative would suggest, tried to turn the incident into a career enhancing moment. Tearfully taking to Facebook, she posted a live video about how Sparkes had berated and humiliated her, latching on to the media’s latest Trump-inspired meltdown by claiming that Sparkes had also exhorted her to “go back where she came from”—which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, as Thomas doesn’t exactly look or sound as if she hails from anywhere but the United States of America.
Sparkes, on the other hand, revealed that he himself is of Cuban lineage—and that’s where the plot starts to thicken:
A Publix employee told a Cobb County officer that she witnessed part of the conversation and heard Thomas “continuously tell Eric Sparkes to ‘Go back where you came from!’” but did not hear Sparkes utter those words to Thomas.
So now Sparkes, who admitted to calling Thomas a “lazy b*tch” but denied ever telling her to go back where she came from, has a witness to back him up. And not only that, the witness says Thomas was the one who used the media-designated Phrase That Shall Not Be Uttered on Sparkes.
Could it be she knew of his Cuban heritage, and in a fit of pique said the nastiest of all nasties to him?
And if so, according to media standards, doesn’t that make Thomas as bad as (cue musical stab). . .DONALD TRUMP??!!?
What’s really interesting, though, is how this story came to light just as another “victim” of this racist, bullying phrase—Ilhan Omar—is finding out the hard way that Twitter is forever:
Call me cynical, but I get the feeling that the media will soon be dropping the whole “Go back where you came from is racist” thing faster than they dropped Michael Avanetti.
UPDATE: Guess I should’ve known Rashida Tlaib would be in on the action:
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