Thursday, April 19, 2012

Things I don’t understand

So, I understand discrimination is bad—boo, hiss, and all that—but what I don’t understand is the need for laws for force private businesses to not discriminate.

I remember an episode of Seventh Heaven.  Eric Camden was meeting a black friend at a restaurant that apparently neither of them had eaten at before.  After they ordered, Eric’s food came, but his friend’s food did not.  They asked about it, and it still didn’t come.  Finally, they get the owner to admit he doesn't serve black people.  There were some more visits, more WTF-ery, and the showdown ended with Eric telling the owner that he was going to send all his black friends to this restaurant, to show the owner up or something by using the laws to force him to serve black people.

But the entire time, all I could think was, “Why do they even want to patronize this restaurant at all?”  Yes, laws will change actions, but they CANNOT change thoughts or feelings.  Just because the owner is coerced into serving black people does not mean he is going to like it, or that his attitude is going to change one iota.

However, if you hit him where it counts, in his pocketbook, then you may accomplish something.  If people that know discrimination is bad(you know, a majority of the county) stop patronizing his store, business would decline, and maybe, just maybe, he would realize that discrimination is bad, mmm’kay? 

This kind of attitude is not something that just goes away because other people want it to.  Yes, it will take a generation, or two, but hear me out. 

Say you were that discriminating restaurant owner.  You didn’t serve black people until you were forced to by the government.  What is your attitude going to be then?  “Stupid (naughty word), I don’t want to serve your kind, but I’m forced to,” or something along those lines.  Attitudes wouldn’t change, only actions.

But if they were goaded into changing because they wanted to keep their business afloat, their thought process might look something more like “I don’t like it, but their money spends the same, so I’ll do it anyway.”

I realize that doesn’t look a whole lot better, but think of how their actions would look to an outsider, or even more aptly, one of their children.

In the first example, the child may see a visibly angry parent, only serving someone because they are forced to, one that will rant and rave about having to serve to a black person.

In the second example, the child would see visibly polite service, serving someone because they want the sale.  They may still rant and rave, but the actions don’t match the words.

Now think back to your own childhood.  Are the things you emulate from your parents what they told you to do, or what they demonstrated through action?

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