It’s hard to imagine a better test of critical thinking skills than reaction to the alleged hate crime, recently perpetrated in Long Island by two Italian pizzeria employees against an African-American couple.
The husband and wife—Willie Marshall, 60, and Alfie Marshall, 65—visited Paesano II Pizza in Greenlawn the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and implausibly claim they were sucked into a maelstrom of racial epithet-hurling, violence, and targeted retribution for President Obama’s reelection.
By the Marshalls’ account, the pizza they were served was stuck to the inside of the bag, so they requested new slices. The pizzeria employees—Frank Meringolo, 25, and Michael Meringolo, 20—refused.
The Marshalls claim they decided to leave, but the Meringolo brothers started cursing and insulting them—which is totally believable, because everyone knows that lowly service industry employees are far more likely to yell at and harass difficult customers than vice versa.
The Meringolos allegedly began flinging salt and pepper shakers, then launched a glass Parmesan cheese jar at Mrs. Marshall, leaving a bloody head wound.
According to the Marshalls, Frank and Michael then left their posts, stormed the front door, and started kicking and stomping Willie’s face, causing a “cheek fracture.” During the scuffle, one of the brothers supposedly shouted, “N*****, this is for Obama!”
The first reaction of anyone with any critical thinking skills to this story would be a flurry of questions about suspicious details and bizarre motives that don’t add up:
- Why would two twentysomething Italian brothers hail racial epithets and attacks on two elderly black people for making a customer service request?
- Even if the Meringolos were seething with anti-black prejudice, what made them think they could get away with such an attack, which would potentially have unfolded in front of other customers and possibly surveillance cameras?
- Don’t the Marshalls have more to gain from a lawsuit than the Meringolos?
The first reaction of most liberals would be, ‘I knew it—racism is alive and well in this country, and worse than ever! Right-wing teabaggers will stop at nothing to sully the legacy of our first black president.’
(I’m sure the first reaction of MSNBC was to consider offering Willie Marshall his own talk show.)
The Meringolos say Mr. Marshall threw the cheese jar and injured his wife when he charged toward the brothers and bumped his wife into the door. Obviously we need more details, an investigation, and evidence of how the two parties’ stories hold up over time. The Suffolk County Police Department is considering filing hate crime charges, and the Marshalls’ church is planning a march outside Paesano II.
In this age of phony rape charges by a black stripper and phony racial profiling cases, have we learned nothing? Why does the public always accept the alleged hate crime victim’s splashy version of the story without subjecting it to a whit of scrutiny, while jumping to the conclusion that America is a hotbed of racial resentment of the Obama presidency?
It’s important that Americans remember that in our judicial process everyone is innocent until proven guilty.