Scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across a shocking image of what looked like a frozen bag of rats/mice.
A popular Asian/Chinese restaurant bistro here in Atlanta was closed down this morning after authorities received a tip that the owner was accepting shipments of rats and mice from a vendor to prepare in his dishes. The owner and his wife were arrested early this morning and charges are not known at this time. After a full search of the kitchen, authorities found, packaged rats, mice, kittens, puppies and a large frozen hawk.
Anyone that’s ever spent time reading newspapers or online, bells should be going off. It doesn’t take an investigative journalist to see something was off with this “report”. There’s no link to a news source, the owners weren’t named, and what’s the name of the popular restaurant? Oh yeah, that’s not there either. Not to mention the names of the celebrities that frequented the joint takes us back like a really good 90s mixtape:
The restaurant is a popular gathering spot for local celebrities such as Whitney Houston and husband Bobby Brown, Jermaine Dupree, Janet Jackson, Usher, Monica, Puffy, TI, Ludacris, Lil Jon, Toni Braxton, TLC and others. The restaurant has locations off Peachtree Road and Alpharetta near North Pointe Mall.
A quick search on “Asian bistro atlanta” served up no Google News listings, just this article from the Epoch Times about how the viral post was a complete fakeout; that the urban legend has been floating around for nearly 10 years.
According to About.com, the image of the vacuum-sealed plastic bag of mice “came from a website that sells food for pet snakes, not a restaurant freezer.”
That was easy. It took 8 seconds to discover that it’s a fake story. Unfortunately, not everyone spends the time to look deeper.
Pushing ‘Otherness,’ Perpetuating Stereotypes
My friend shared out this image from someone named Yunq Tune, whom re-posted this mythical “Chinese bistro” (again) 5 days ago. His original post got the expected three-lettered shocked responses (“eww,” “smh,” “wtf,” “omg”) of people that bought into the story.
As of this post, the image has been re-shared on Facebook more than 108,000 times
Unless there’s an ulterior motive, I’m dumbfounded that smart, responsible people would actually post/re-share this shit. All it took was a quick Google search to find that it was a fake.
As an Asian, I am more sensitive to spreading irresponsible information about a misunderstood group. You would be too, if you were on the end of “Chinese eat dogs” and “Chinese eat cats” questions and jokes all your life. Making it even more relevant is the fact that my parents owned a Chinese restaurant for over 30 years.
The post has been re-shared over a hundred thousand times. This crap just perpetuates ignorance; that Asians chase down cats, kidnap dogs, or capture rodents and serve them up as chicken or beef in their restaurants. This is the same bullshit I heard when I was a kid 20 years ago, and somehow the urban legend still exists despite no real reports of this deceitful behavior to support it.
All this has a deeper social impact. It pushes old pre-conceived beliefs, stereotypes, and overall ignorance. It keeps the doors open to a whole slew of other social problems. Problems that are way too long to list or go over here. Agh.
Right now, there’s a couple teenagers in a Chinese restaurant talking with their friends about whether they’ve heard about that “Chinese restaurant that was closed down because they were serving rat meat”