Never Fear! Real America is Alive and Well at the Waffle House

If some of the rhetoric of late has you fearing that America is in danger of becoming a nation of boring straight white people, just head to your local Waffle House. You’ll feel better.

My daughter and I “brunched” there today. The Waffle House was busy on this rainy Saturday, and we had to wait for a table to clear. As we waited, I noticed that I felt really relaxed and comfortable…and not just because I was warm and dry. I began to look around and decided that my comfort was in being surrounded by what I like to call “Real America.”

Blue-collar workers sat at a booth behind a group of Ugg-wearing teens sporting sweatshirts emblazoned with their private school logo. A grizzled veteran of Vietnam (id’d as such by his hat) sat elbow to elbow with a woman who was sitting next to her female partner. A group of Black women (who all had fabulous hair) were planning a shopping outing. I heard conversations in two languages other than English (one Spanish and one I couldn’t identify). Even the people working furiously behind the counter represented all generations and ethnicities…the youngest being a teen who was almost painfully earnest about doing a good job and the oldest being a woman who I suspect believes that “the higher the hair, the closer to God.”

Where and in what we find comfort can be surprising, but our little outing to Waffle House has helped to quell my fears the those who wish to make American great white again might achieve their goal. It would be pretty near impossible to homogenize a people as deeply and richly diverse as we are.

And all I needed to do to be reminded of that was head to a place where the cheese is processed American, the bacon is cooked to a crisp, the coffee cups are bottomless, and the food is good…but the people watching is better.

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