Be careful what language you use if you are planning on shopping in an Apple store.
Last week, two Apple store customers in Georgia were refused service after a sales representative overheard them speaking Farsi, the language of Iran.
Is this just out-and-out xenophobia, an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange? Sounds like it to me.
Sahar Sabet, a U.S. citizen and University of Georgia student, said an Apple Store employee at the North Point Mall in Alpharetta refused to sell her an iPad on Thursday after hearing her and her uncle talking.
“When we said, ‘Farsi, I’m from Iran,’ he said, ‘I just can’t sell this to you. Our countries have bad relations,’ ” Sabet told Channel 2.
A manager at the mall later showed Channel 2 Apple’s policy, which states that the exportation, sale or supply from the U.S. to Iran of any Apple goods is strictly prohibited without the U.S. government’s authorization. A State Department representative also told Channel 2 that it is illegal to travel to Iran with laptops or satellite cellphones without U.S. approval.
Since Sabet is a U.S. citizen with no plans to travel to Iran, this response makes no sense at all; it is quite simply racial profiling.
A similar incident happened to Zack Jafarzadeh, an American student of Iranian descent, who was denied service at a different Apple Store near Atlanta while trying to help a friend buy an iPhone.
The Sacramento Bee reports that in response, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) yesterday called on Apple to change its policy:
“Apple must revise its policies to ensure that customers do not face discriminatory treatment based on their religion, ethnicity or national origin,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “If the actions of these Apple employees reflected company policy, that policy must be changed and all employees retrained.”
Also included on the U.S. embargo list are Cuba and North Korea. Can I thus assume that if I am speaking Spanish or Korean in an Apple store, I will be refused service?
And why are some Americans so afraid of anyone who is not speaking English? As a world language teacher, I find that depressing.
What do you think?
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Photo Credit: screenshot from Channel2ActionNews
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