Dear Americans: stop being such fucking morons about the Ebola virus.
Oh, if only saying that made it so. A Liberian restaurant in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota named Mama Ti's African Kitchen is finding that out the hard way, as customers who formerly showed up due to the word "African" on the sign are now staying away out of fear of Ebola. Of course they are. Apparently, customers are scared they could somehow catch the virus through food, which, WOW that's wrong. You can't catch Ebola from food — that's not how that works. Besides which, Minnesotans getting scared of catching the Ebola virus from the food Mama Ti's makes as much sense as customers at an American-style diner in Germany fearing they could catch a virulent hatred of the poor from a Philly Cheesesteak.
Owner Kellita Whisnant has gotten to the point where she's having to try to cover up the word "African" on the restaurant's sign, which is just entirely depressing. Her business has been around for three years and was going great until the recent American Ebola panic, at which point she says business nosedived by around 50%. Whisnant says they're now considering changing the entire menu to an American-style deli just to try to get people to come back. This entire story is just indescribably sad.
Americans are just really, really collectively fucking stupid about the continent of Africa. How else do you explain Darrell Issa's repeated references to "Guyana" (which is in South America) as part of the Ebola outbreak or to the fact that spineless administrators at a school in New Jersey forced Rwandan students to stay home thanks to the outcry from dipshit parents (Rwanda is 3,000 miles from the nearest point of the West African Ebola outbreak, just FYI)? We're sitting here terrified of a disease that has killed exactly one person on American soil (who didn't even contract it here) while we completely ignore far more dangerous diseases.
Of course we do, though — Ebola is the scaaaaaaaaary brown people disease. Never mind the fact that the West African outbreak is as bad as it is for reasons that couldn't apply here,* that no one in the US who hasn't had direct contact with a known Ebola victim has contracted the disease, that the mortality rate of (at least this particular strain of) Ebola might actually be much lower than previously believed when you take adequate medical treatment into account, or that thousands of people die from influenza in the US every year. Everyone's had the flu, so the flu isn't scary to us. But no one we know has had Ebola, so Ebola is the great, terrifying unknown.
Calm the hell down, America. You're not going to get Ebola from some African cuisine. Christ.
* Burial practices that make the disease far more likely to spread and the tendency to flee from health care workers out of superstition, to name a couple of examples.
Image via Mama Ti's African Kitchen's Facebook page.