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1)
ATTENTION SHOPPERS

Now that you have learned about federal law and discrimination, in this discussion give advice to Martina. Read the poem and for additional support watch the video (scroll through to find her reading “Attention Shoppers”). Enjoy!

What advice would you give to Martina?

The poem is below:

Attention Shoppers
by Michele Serros

Discrimination breeds in the Ralph’s supermarket on Venice and Overland. Not in employee opportunities, race, age or sex. Nothing like that, but rather in the temperature controlled depths of the frozen food section. My classmate, Martina, pointed this out to me one day.

She and I were both on aisle nine, going for mixed frozen vegetables. We were making Spanish Rice for a big fund-raiser later that night. Now Martina was no cook. She was an activist. Maybe what you’d call militant and maybe what you’d call serious, but still, I liked to hang out with her. She was smart. Anyway, the vegetables make it, you know, colorful, festive like. And since we both thought Veg-All was gross and there was no way we were gonna’ cut down carrots to micro-mini cubes or pick peas out of their casings like her mama does, frozen veggies would have to do.

Seconds after she opened the glass door Martina said: “Look! Look at this!”

She pulled out two frosted bags from the bottom compartment. “Malibu Style Vegetables. And, check this out, Latino Style Vegetables, as if we all eat alike . . . I’ve never seen this . . . Man, even in the lousy freezer they divide and they discriminate!”

“Martina,” I asked her, “they’re vegetables. How can they be discriminating?”

She went on: “Man, you don’t even see it. You’re so, so unaware. Look, look at this picture. Latino Style Vegetables, they have the vegetables cut up all small. Like, what’s that supposed to mean? Like, little food for little people, little minds, little significance? . . . And this Malibu kind, the broccoli, the carrots, are cut up large, all big and grand, like ‘of great worth,’ or something. The cauliflower, which is WHITE, is the biggest vegetable in the picture, overpowering all the rest.”

“Oh, Martina,” I told her, “you’re seeing something that just isn’t there. You’re crazy to get so worked up over vegetables. Now just grab a bag and let’s go.”

“I’m not crazy,” she protested. “This is how it starts. And look, look at this, the Latino Style Vegetables are all spilling out of this wicker basket, all overflowing, messy like. Insinuating that we are overflowing, overcrowding what they think is their land. And what’s with this wicker basket? You know, we don’t use baskets to cart our food around. The Malibu Style Vegetables are all neat and in order, properly arranged in a nice WHITE porcelain crock. No problem-causing vegetables here. They’re orderly, dignified.”

“Dignified vegetables? Martina, is there such a thing?” I was getting so embarrassed. People were starting to look at us.

She was no longer paying attention. I had lost her to her newfound cause. She continued to prove her point.

“. . . and look at this, the packaging. Malibu Style kind is labeled ‘From Ralph’s Private Selection.’ Private, as in ‘Not everyone is welcome, no entry to YOU, especially you, wetback. Go back!'”

By this time a small crowd had formed. Everyone was listening to Martina. She didn’t care, she continued, “Malibu Style are twice as expensive as Latino Style. Why? Are they better vegetables? Did white people from Malibu pick them themselves? Did they take off from some corporate meeting early or leave the tennis court midgame to fly up north, put on their designer jeans to get on their hands and knees to pick their own kind of vegetables? Did they? Did they?”

Martina waved the bags over her head and then flung them to the ground. The crowd cheered as an array of green, orange and white exploded on the supermarket floor. She stomped on the soggy newly integrated vegetables, mashing them into the linoleum.

And then this extraordinary thing happened. One by one people started to pull frozen produce bags out of the freezer compartments. I saw a Korean woman and her two children stomp on Oriental Style Vegetables, a young guy in cowboy boots kicked Country Style Vegetables down the aisle toward the checkout lines, and a handsome, dark-haired man ripped apart a bag of Italian Style Vegetables. More and more people began to pull bags out of the compartments and destroy the corporate invention of “stereotypes in a bag.”

Martina stood back by the Sarah Lee frozen desserts to enjoy the beauty of the revolt she had created. But her clenched-fist victory was soon interrupted. An angry and overweight manager pushed his way though the crowd and ordered a breakup. “You,” he said, pushing his finger into Martina’s chest, “are trying to incite a riot in MY store. You see this here?” He pointed to his name badge, which stated: Bob G. Smith-Store Director. “I’m in charge here. I want you to take your friend and get out of here, NOW!”

Martina picked up our plastic hand basket and threw our other groceries onto the floor. The crowd cheered even louder. She looked straight into the store manager’s eye and said, “Man, take your finger out of my face. I’d rather shop at Pavilions than come back to your sorry store! You have a lot to learn, Mr. Store Director!” Martina then grabbed my arm and pulled me through the crowd. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like leaving. This was exciting! I pulled back and asked, “Hey, why are we leaving now? I mean, things are just starting to happen! We could snag a bag of frozen fries or some ice cream. Maybe we’ll even get arrested!” Martina stopped and turned around. She looked even more furious. She then looked straight into my eyes and said, “This isn’t about excitement, free food, or getting on TV . . . Man, you really have a lot to learn.” She let my arm drop, broke through the crowd and headed for the front glass doors. She left behind a new revolution of liberated consumers, the vegetables we no longer needed, no longer wanted and left behind me, thinking just how smart she really is.

Michele Serros is from my hometown, Oxnard, California, and an alumnus of UCLA, my alma mater. She is a frequently anthologized poet and commentator. ?Attention Shoppers? is reprinted from her collection, CHICANA FALSA, published by Riverhead Books in June 1998.

Michelle reads this poem at 22 minutes;21 seconds into the video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=US3ll3fv33A&t=388s (Links to an external site.)

2) Media and Politics (pls give short answers to these questions)

1. What is considered media?

2. How am I influenced by the media?

3. What role does media play in the political process?

3)Public Opinion

Some polls projected that Biden and Harris would win by a large margin. In reality, the race was much closer. If the polls were not accurate in their predictions, why do they continue to be used as a tool to predict election outcomes year after year?