Saturday, February 19, 2005


Rutgers University has banned the "Fat Dyke" and the "Fat Bitch". Both were the names of sandwiches listed in the menus on the sides of food trucks that park along the College Avenue campus. Students from the school's gay organization and several female students complained to the administration that the sandwich names were homophobic and sexist.

The independent food trucks are licensed by Rutgers. Following the complaints the university ordered that the offending names be removed. The vendors' contractual obligations include "showing respect to all students, faculty and staff, and operating in a professional, courteous manner," Rutgers spokeswoman Sandra Lanman said in a statement.

By Wednesday afternoon, they were covered up with duct tape or magic marker. "It's not like it's a bad thing. I'm not trying to discriminate or anything," Sam Algar owner of one truck told The Star-Ledger of Newark. "It's extraordinary. It's funny."

But, Steven Goldstein, chairman of Garden State Equality, a statewide gay and lesbian political organization, isn't laughing. "These sandwich businesses manage to be sexist, homophobic and offensive all in one grand slam," he told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "This is how hate crimes start, when people feel it's OK to make biased comments publicly."


Sandwich background:

If you've ever been to Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, you've undoubtedly heard of The Fat Darrell sandwich. Well MajesticGroove Entertainmentä is proud to announce that this artery clogger was created by none other than our founder, Darrell W. Butler, during his pre-personal trainer days.

It all started out with the Fat Cat a Rutgers University staple 1979 that consists of two cheeseburgers, french fries, lettuce, tomato and onions. That Fat Cat remained the number one selling sandwich at the school ever since it was created in 1979...that is until 1997 that is when a new king was crowned-The Fat Darrell Especiale. And while many other students have tried to create their own sandwiches since then, none have or may ever duplicate the startling success or longevity that the Fat Darrell has enjoyed.

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Some sandwich-relevant student comment:

Bonnie Schubert, a Rutgers College sophomore, said she does not understand the need to change the names and was never offended. "They're just words, just something funny," she said. "If they didn't want to eat there, they could choose to go somewhere else."

Rutgers College sophomore Barjdeep Kaur said she doesn't believe that covering up the names was necessary. "I don't think it really mattered," she said. "If you don't like the names, don't buy the sandwich."

The controversy emerged when members of the LGBT community on campus said they were offended by the names of certain sandwiches. The outcry was brought to the attention of PATS, and all names deemed offensive were asked to be taken down, otherwise a citation would be issued to the offending Grease Truck.

Kathy Lopes, a Rutgers College sophomore, said she's concerned about all the changes that have to take place to please everyone. "Everyone's all stuffy. Now, the food has to change their name," she said. "Soon everything will have to change."

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And more wicked Rutgers sandwich names:

But the lunch crowd was all right with the sandwich names. "They're just part of the culture of this corner," said Amy Gehrmann, a secretary who works at the university. "It's fine."

The Fat Phillippino? "I think it's kind of cool," said Jeff Torralba, who was born in the United States 17 years ago but whose parents come from the Philippines. "I don't think they're using the word in a bad way or anything like that." "Fat Phillippino!" a cook yelled from the RU Hungry wagon. "Uh, that's mine," Torralba said and went to pay for his sandwich.

The Fat Phillippino is one of the sandwiches Rutgers complained about. It will be renamed. "No big deal," said Ryan Gaboy, whose ancestry is in part Italian. "I'm not offended by these names." The Fat Romano sandwich is all right? "Sure," Gaboy said.

Well since it's OK to refer to name a sandwich with a euphemism for a gay man, would it be all right with Gaboy if, instead of a Fat Romano, Elfeiki were to use an ethnic insult to name one of his sandwiches? "No problem," Gaboy said. "I'd probably order one."

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Andrea Sobel shudders at those oh-so-positive messages aimed at boosting kids' self-esteem. She has heard her fill of "good job" or "great picture" or any of the highly exaggerated claims that parenting experts and educators spouted as the way to bring up well-adjusted children. Sobel, the mother of 16-year-old twins in Sherman Oaks, Calif., says they could tell "what was real and what was fake," even when very young. "I was tired of going to the sports field and seeing moms say, 'Great job at going up to bat.' It hit me early on that kids could see through inane compliments."

Those often-empty phrases, however, raised a generation. Kids born in the '70s and '80s are now coming of age. The colorful ribbons and shiny trophies they earned just for participating made them feel special. But now, in college and the workplace, observers are watching them crumble a bit at the first blush of criticism. "I often get students in graduate school doing doctorates who made straight A's all their lives, and the first time they get tough feedback, the kind you need to develop skills," says Deborah Stipek, dean of education at Stanford University. "I have a box of Kleenex in my office because they haven't dealt with it before."

To be clear, self-esteem is important to healthy development. Kids who hold themselves in poor stead are thought to be most vulnerable to trouble — from low academic achievement to drug abuse or crime. For those from disadvantaged backgrounds, the stakes may be higher and the needs even greater. But empty praise — the kind showered on many kids years ago in the name of self-esteem — did more harm than good. "Instead of boosting self-esteem, it can lead you to question your competence," says developmental psychologist Sandra Graham of UCLA.

Self-esteem became a buzzword more than 20 years ago, fueled by parenting experts, psychologists and educators. Believers suggested that students who hold themselves in high regard are happier and will succeed. That culture was so ingrained in parents that protecting their children from failure became a credo. This feel-good movement was most evident in California, which created a task force to increase self-esteem. "At the time my children were raised, we were suffering from a misguided notion that healthy self-esteem results from something extrinsic that tells you you are a good person," says Betsy Brown Braun, a child development specialist in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and the mother of 26-year-old triplets.

It wasn't limited to the West Coast. Raising self-esteem became a national concern, and educators thought it could help raise academic achievement. But schools got sidetracked into worrying more about feelings, says Charles Sykes in Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can't Read, Write, or Add. "Self-esteem has virtually become an official ideology," he writes.

A 1991 teacher training session in the Houston area taught the evils of red ink and told teachers to pick another color, says Pat Green, a teacher since 1982. "They said it had a very negative impact, because red is so symbolic of wrong answers," she says. Some also said grammar and spelling errors should be overlooked so students wouldn't be discouraged from writing, Green says. "It was so 'don't damage their self-esteem' to the point where you would praise things that weren't very good."

Cassie Bryant, 22, is a product of those times. "I kind of became an award junkie," she says. She believes the awards motivated her and helped her get into a competitive college. But, she recalls her first semester at New York University as "brutal." "I had always been in honors in high school, and the writing teacher said, 'I don't think that's a good place for you.' I started crying right there. I had never been told that before."

Now, the tides have turned. Schools teach the basics to improve performance on standardized tests, and self-esteem programs have evolved from phony praise to deserved recognition for a job well-done. Girl Scouts of the USA promotes self-esteem by emphasizing strengths and skills while encouraging feelings of competence, says developmental psychologist Harriet Mosatche, senior director of research and program. "It used to be, 'Whatever you do is great.' That old-fashioned misuse of the notion of self-esteem is not positive. It's unrealistic, and not helpful," she says.....

Overall, research shows that self-esteem scores have increased with the generations, says Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University who compared studies on self-esteem of 66,000 college kids across the USA from 1968 through 1994. Such studies are typically based on self-ratings. She also has noticed that the undergraduates she teaches tend to have an inflated sense of self. "When you correct writing, they'll say, 'It's just your opinion,' which is infuriating. Bad grammar and spelling and sentences being wrong is not my opinion, it's just bad writing," she says.

So when the criticism flows, some college students are increasingly seeking counseling. Sam Goldstein, a neuropsychologist at the University of Utah, likened some students to bubbles — on the surface they seem secure and happy, yet with the least adversity they burst.

Neil Howe, co-author of Milliennials Rising: The Next Great Generation, urges colleges and employers to better understand this group, born in 1982 and later, who are in college or recently graduated. Howe believes "milliennials" are a very connected, team-oriented generation that could benefit society. "It's a positive for the workforce and possibly for politics and community life and citizenship," he says.

But employers such as Sobel, director of recruitment for an entertainment firm, aren't so sure. "One of the things the managers talked about is an incredible sense of entitlement for people who don't deserve it," she says. "They'll come in right out of college and don't understand why they're not getting promoted in three months."

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