Dr. Omar Amin, an Scottsdale resident was shopping at a Barnes & Noble, looking into getting some books for his two grandkids who live in Wisconsin. Sounds like a nice story, right? Wait.
So, the guy – who’s in his 70′s, by the way – is in the kids section when he gets a phone call. He walks over to an area by the window, so that he doesn’t disturb the shoppers and sits on the floor to take the call. A store employee tells him to leave because he’s violated a rule that men cannot be in the children’s section by themselves. The employee – Todd Voris – also told Dr. Amin that a shopper complained about him.
Of course, this is all told from Dr. Amin’s perspective, but the facts seem pretty straightforward: in our hyper-scared society, Dr. Amin seems to be a victim of our paranoid mentality.
Oh, by the way, did I mention Dr. Amin is an Egyptian native, who speaks with an accent. And I’d like to remind you, dear readers, that this happened in Arizona – a state that is home to Governor Jan Brewer and Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
The anti-feminist backlash of course was in full force - comment threads full of men (and some women) who were decrying some sort of omniscient feminist cloak that is hurting men. This isn’t about misandry, this is about absurdity.
Let’s also point out that the idiots who claim this episode as another example of over-policing, would be thrilled if Dr. Amin was stopped in line at an airport for a security check. Even if Dr. Amin wasn’t exhibiting any “terrorist-like” behavior, but was chosen because of his ethnicity, the same folks who are now defending him would be saying that TSA is just doing its job and that we have to be vigilant. You can’t have it both ways, guys.
We need vigilance, but we also need common sense. If you’re in a public place with your kid, you should assume that anyone can do something to your kid - whether it’s a man or a woman, and you need to keep an eye on your kid. Too many times, I’ve wandered through the aisles of shops and see kids roaming around, free like antelope, grazing.
I would like to mention that I’ve been to bookstores and have looked through children’s sections and have never been approached by employees – I’ve always been treated with respect – but that could be also because I’m usually coming home from work, so I’m decently dressed (at least according to “business casual” standards – completely arbitrary, btw), and I’m white. I can imagine if Dr. Amin was a black or Hispanic man, he’d probably get similar treatment (maybe even worse).
This isn’t a case of feminism gone wild: this is a case of an employee making a grave error in judgment and not apologizing for it.
But what’s interesting is that the fear of the male pedophile is nothing new: think about it, how many parents would feel comfortable to have their little girl babysat by a teenaged boy? Or how many parents would hire a man as a nanny? If you were bringing your tot to preschool and saw a smiling man welcome the kids in, instead of a kindly woman, would you be concerned? Think about it…