If You #BoycottGoogle Over Cesar Chavez, Good Riddance and Enjoy Bing!
If you were spared from following yesterday’s most idiotic news, you might not know that some people have boldly decided to #boycottgoogle. Why? Because yesterday, on Easter Sunday, the search engine’s ‘Google Doodle’ wasn’t eggs and bunnies.
Instead of featuring an Easter ‘doodle,’ Google instead paid tribute to Cesar Chavez, the Latino American civil rights activist and labor leader. Cesar Chavez Day is an official March 31st holiday recognizing Chavez’s legacy of educational, environmental, and civil rights leadership. But despite the fact that Chavez dedicated his life to improving the lives of thousands of workers, it is important to note that he is still not bunnies.
I’d say the outrage that ensued is too dumb for words, but as a blogger, I can think of some.
Undertones of ignorance and racism are undeniably present in these #boycottgoogle tweets. Some people have condemned Google’s decision to honor a Venezuelan dictator (because anyone with the same last name is obviously the same person, just look at George and Denzel Washington!). Another guy tweeted, “#google honors #Chavez on easter, who knew google is anti-american?” Over at The American Conservative, Rod Dreher says, “Google could have ignored Easter, and nobody would have noticed. But choosing to observe something other than Easter on Easter Sunday is deliberate,” later going on to call Chavez “a relatively obscure cultural figure.” I’d like to offer some advice to these people: Wikipedia.
These lamentations make the writers’ prejudices extremely transparent. Many seem to have heard a Spanish name that they didn’t recognize, and without further inquiry, labelled his recognition as “Anti-American.” No matter, of course, that Chavez was an American, whose contributions to American society left a legacy to make the country “stronger, more just, and more prosperous,” in the words of President Obama. And yet, people suggest that they’d rather Google have done nothing than honor his legacy when the holiday fell on Easter Sunday.
As I see conservative sites and tweeters rail against Google’s act of “hostility,” “dishonor,” and “disrespect,” to Christians, I can’t help but hear distant echoes of, “And why can’t we have a white history month?” Somehow, their twisted logic insinuates that, despite the fact that white Christians hold the majority of power in America, a failure to further advertise their dominant religious beliefs is not only unacceptable, but also actually “intolerant.” To claim that Christian holidays, and Easter in particular, are not given enough widespread recognition is like calling for a “Men’s Appreciation Day.” Easter is already everywhere—it’s at Chipotle, when I desperately want a burrito and remember the store is closed. It’s at the supermarket, when aisles of snacks are dominated by chocolate eggs and marshmallow Peeps for the entire month. It’s in schools, when kids learn the story of Easter as if it were a history lesson while the non-Christian kids sit quietly and pretend to be invisible. It’s true—for a country without a national religion, Easter has already infiltrated American culture whether or not it is recognized by a pastel-colored search engine.
At the end of the day, if you want to #boycottgoogle and start using Bing, go for it. Bing was the default browser back in my unfortunate Blackberry days and was the bane of my existence, but I hope you have a great time. But if you do get around to that Wikipedia search, you might want to note that Cesar Chavez’s activism included a 25 day fast to promote nonviolence, leading a five year strike for worker’s rights, and organising the largest farm worker strike in U.S. history. But of course, your switch from Google to Bing is very brave.