From bacon-eating vegetarians to bacon of the month clubs to bacon chocolate bars, it seems like bacon is enjoying some extra popularity these days. Half savory addiction and half culinary punchline, bacon is sizzling in the skillet of our national consciousness. So much so that when it came time for my homeroom to pick a theme for the basket we would assemble to be raffled off for a fund raiser later this month, there was a vocal faction in favor of the bacon basket.
I confess that I laughed along with them at the silliness of such a suggestion when we were brainstorming, but when the concept became a serious contender, I spoke against it. Of the twenty-two kids contributing to the basket, three are Muslim, one is Jewish, and one is Hindu, and I could see that the bacon idea was not so amusing to them, much less anything that they wanted to be a part of. Without singling anybody out, I reminded the group that in some cultures and religions bacon is taboo, and it would be exclusionary to adopt it as our theme.
Oh but The bacon lovers were as brash and salty as, well, bacon, and they tried hard to overwhelm the flavor of our discussion."But bacon is sooooo goood!" one insisted. "Shouldn't it be majority rules?" But I told them no, and exercising my role as authority, I flatly took bacon off the table.
Still, even after another theme was chosen, a couple of kids persisted until one of the Muslim students said under his breath, "Why do you have to be so mean?" on his way out the door.
The girl he spoke to came to me later to complain. "Why did he say that?" she wondered, her feelings hurt.
"Because you were expressing blatant disregard for his religion?" I replied.
"What! Omar's Muslim?" she asked incredulously. "Ohhhhhh. Now I get it!"