Non-violent dissent catch-all

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Based on the discussion starting over here:
http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/4...

There's a lot of disagreement over whether it is socially acceptable, ethical, or effective to use the power of ownership to eject a customer from your establishment as an act of protest.

The article that triggered the discussion is:
http://seanbraisted.blogspot.com/201...

My take is that it's a complex issue which could do with much discussion; I tend to fall on the side of the storeowner, but it's hard for me to gauge how much of that is schadenfreude. I might just be rationalizing an opinion that I'm holding for the wrong reasons. In any case, my thought is that this *is* an effective means of protest for a number of reasons - it brings attention to the issue of gay rights, shows that the gay community has allies and isn't pushovers (the community still remembers the Stonewall riot), and might, possibly, help a few people to understand what it is they're doing.

More thoughts later.

Economic protest is one of the best methods of effecting change in American society. Whether it's choosing to shop at a mom and pop store, or deciding to hire specifically within the community, or barring men fr working out at a gym in order to provide a safe environment for women, or refusing to serve people aggressively trying to oppress you or your friends or your relatives, I think in many, many cases it's justified and admirable.

Obviously it's not the case universally. I'm happy that blacks can eat at restaurants where the owner may not want them there. I'm glad that stacey Campfield (presumeably) was able to take his hate money to another restaurant and did not starve to death.

But blacks, gays, women, and men are usually born that way. Spewing hate speech is not a genetic condition. If we cannot judge people based on their actions, we are left impotent to the abuses of the dickish.

Cross-posting from the Prop 8 thread:

Dimmerswitch[/url]]
Seth wrote:
I wouldn't consider that better. That's basically saying "you can have your cake and eat it too, mr bigot, so long as I can whine about it for a few minutes.

Dimmerswitch's logic has also been used to disparage boycotts, not only during the bus boycotts, but also during the British Petroleum boycotts in 2010. I think it's admirable to use nonviolent means to effect change against actions or events you find reprehensible.

Comparing consumer boycotts of BP or the Montgomery Bus Lines to the decision of Bistro at the Bijou to refuse service to a non-disruptive customer is pretty disingenuous. A more apt comparison might be British Petroleum deciding to not sell gas to Congressman Kucinich.

You're welcome to view either Jonman's or my suggestions (or both) as somehow less-good than engaging in discriminatory behavior. I don't think the characterization I've quoted above does you any favors in making that case, though.

There seem to be a lot of things attributed to me in this thread that I'm not saying - I disagree that "my" logic has been used to disparage boycotts. I support nonviolent action to promote more ethical & moral behavior by companies and politicians (and, in fact, engage in it on a regular basis). To reiterate: my point is simply that a business discriminating against an apparently non-disruptive customer is wrong, regardless of whether or not I personally find that customer sympathetic or repugnant.

Negative repercussions to who you are, rather than what you are, cannot and should not be legislated against. You can't discriminate against someone because he's , but you can kick him out if he is being an ass to other patrons, etc.

Perhaps my google fu is weak, but is that kucinich comment hypothetical? If we're doing hypotheticals, would you expect a restaurant owner to serve his daughter's rapist? Or maybe we can avoid hypotheticals, for now at least.

The crux of the disagreement is that I don't think a person needs to be disruptive within the property of the business to justify his ejection.

Kraint wrote:
Negative repercussions to who you are, rather than what you are, cannot and should not be legislated against. You can't discriminate against someone because he's , but you can kick him out if he is being an ass to other patrons, etc.

Agree 100%. That's why I feel it's fully acceptable to eject a public figure who claims HIV came from "a gay guy screwing a monkey and then screwing a bunch of other gay guys" on the radio days before going to said restaurant.

Seth wrote:
Perhaps my google fu is weak, but is that kucinich comment hypothetical? If we're doing hypotheticals, would you expect a restaurant owner to serve his daughter's rapist? Or maybe we can avoid hypotheticals, for now at least.

The crux of the disagreement is that I don't think a person needs to be disruptive within the property of the business to justify his ejection.

As far as I know, BP has not refused service to Congressman Kucinich. However, the point stands that your comparison there is backwards. A business refusing to serve someone based on their political beliefs is the opposite of the Montgomery Bus boycotts.

And I think that responding with discrimination (even to a bigot) cedes the moral high ground, changes the public dialogue in an unhelpful way, and is exceedingly unlikely to result in lessened discrimination or increased tolerance.

Me, also in the Prop 8 thread wrote:
The issues are twofold. First is the "moral" issue, for lack of a better term. If you respond to bigoted actions in kind, it's awfully easy to cede the moral high ground. In effect, you're turning the discussion from "it's not okay to discriminate against individuals" to "it's not okay to discriminate against individuals I like". At that point, it's a pissing contest about whose favorite / least favorite group is the most fabulous / icky.

Secondly, there's the question of outcome. If the goal is to undermine bigotry and promote tolerance, is it likely that Sen. Campfield will take this as a wake-up call and turn his heart towards treating his fellow humans with kindness? Or is it perhaps more likely that Sen. Campfield will treat it as more grist for his homophobic agenda, and a fundraising opportunity demonstrating that gays are out to destroy America? We'll see how he chooses to respond, but I'd wager no small amount of money that it's not the former.

There's another important distinction here: "No blacks allowed" or "No gays allowed" is discriminating against a class of people. It is prejudice not because people were born that way, but because it's obviously based on a corrosive over-broad generalization that "X people are bad people".

"I will not serve [em]you[/em], Stacey Campfield, because of the public action I have seen you taking" is not discrimination based in prejudice. It is not discrimination based on "a preconceived notion not based on reason or experience". It is discrimination based on the actual observed behavior of an individual.

What if a person comes into a store you own, and you recognize them as someone who has been previously caught stealing shivgees from your store? Is it discriminatory to throw him out? Yes, you are discriminating on the basis of his past actions. Is it prejudiced? No. Because it is on the basis of his past actions. It would be prejudiced if you didn't allow blacks in because this one time a black guy stole a shivgee and therefore they're all dirty thieves.

Now, this breaks down somewhat: people can argue "I'm not prejudiced. I don't think black people are all thieves. I just think they're black and I don't want black people in my store." And that's where protected classes come in. Depending on where you are, you are not allowed to discriminate based on race, gender, sexual orientation, age, nationality, etc. That's the law. You can discriminate against people for any other reason you want to, but if it can be shown that you have a pattern of not serving people belonging to one or more of those classes even though if they did not belong to that class you would serve them, then you are violating the law.

Why are there protected classes at all? That would be because we have observed people in certain classes being discriminated against as a class and decided to pass laws to prevent that, because as a society we do not accept that membership in those classes can be used to discriminate except based on prejudice (again: "a preconceived notion not based on reason or experience"). And, as a society, we decided to create laws to punish those who would discriminate in those ways in the hopes that after some generations pass, such beliefs might die out.

Discriminating against particular individuals, on the other hand, is completely and utterly fair game. It is right and proper that we be allowed to not do business with people we do not like. Choosing not to serve an individual at a restaurant and asking them to leave is no different from refusing to bank with a particular bank or refusing to buy products of a particular company.

I think most people would agree that a restaurant owner would be completely within his rights to refuse to serve a man who he saw (at some point in the past) beating on his daughter, and to request that he leave. The only difference between that scenario and the actual scenario is one of degree.

Hypatian wrote:
There's another important distinction here: "No blacks allowed" or "No gays allowed" is discriminating against a class of people. It is prejudice not because people were born that way, but because it's obviously based on a corrosive over-broad generalization that "X people are bad people".

"I will not serve [em]you[/em], Stacey Campfield, because of the public action I have seen you taking" is not discrimination based in prejudice. It is not discrimination based on "a preconceived notion not based on reason or experience". It is discrimination based on the actual observed behavior of an individual.

What if a person comes into a store you own, and you recognize them as someone who has been previously caught stealing shivgees from your store? Is it discriminatory to throw him out? Yes, you are discriminating on the basis of his past actions. Is it prejudiced? No. Because it is on the basis of his past actions. It would be prejudiced if you didn't allow blacks in because this one time a black guy stole a shivgee and therefore they're all dirty thieves.

Now, this breaks down somewhat: people can argue "I'm not prejudiced. I don't think black people are all thieves. I just think they're black and I don't want black people in my store." And that's where protected classes come in. Depending on where you are, you are not allowed to discriminate based on race, gender, sexual orientation, age, nationality, etc. That's the law. You can discriminate against people for any other reason you want to, but if it can be shown that you have a pattern of not serving people belonging to one or more of those classes even though if they did not belong to that class you would serve them, then you are violating the law..


I knew someone would come along and explain my position in a much better way than I could.

Hypatian - +1 - thanks for elaborating something I was thinking, but couldn't get out clearly.

I'm just gonna start saying "hypatian said what I meant, in a smarter way." For this thread, at least.

I would suggest that if it were discrimination based on political affiliation (i.e. "I don't serve Republicans") rather than based on actual public actions there might be some sort of question about the propriety. But that is not the case here. This is discrimination, but it is not prejudice.

Another point on that: We've come to conflate "discrimination" with "discrimination due to prejudice", and I think that's a bit because of the protected classes thing. Discriminating against a protected class is against the law, and we passed laws against such discrimination because any such discrimination is presumed to be due to prejudice. Because of the law, it doesn't matter [em]why[/em] you were discriminating against blacks, it only matters that you showed a pattern of doing so. And because of that, when laws come into play, we talk about discrimination. But when social problems come into play, we talk about prejudice. The reason laws work on the basis of patterns of discrimination is because you cannot peer inside someone's head to figure out why they're discriminating--it's very difficult to prove that someone is discriminating due to prejudice unless they actively state that they are doing so. So the law applies a test that can actually be made: is the person [em]acting[/em] like a bigot would act?

On the other hand: discrimination based on evidence is perfectly normal. I frequently discriminate between apples and oranges.

Hypatian wrote:
Choosing not to serve an individual at a restaurant and asking them to leave is no different from refusing to bank with a particular bank or refusing to buy products of a particular company.

No, it's the opposite of that, in part because corporations aren't people. That's the point I was trying to make with my Kucinich hypothetical. (I'm willing to grant Seth's argument that hypotheticals are more likely to derail than contribute, though).

In any event, discriminating against someone because of their political beliefs is something I think is dangerous and best avoided (edit to add: though quite probably legal). As I mentioned in the Prop 8 thread, I find Senator Campfield reprehensible and hope the people of Tennessee vote him out at their earliest opportunity, but I don't support him being refused service simply because of his political inclinations (toxic and disgusting though they may be).

Corporations are not people, sure. I'm still not sure why that's supposed to matter. I can choose not to do business with a person, or with a corporation. A person or a corporation can choose not to business with me.

If it's the person that matters, then am I wrong to avoid all businesses that I know to be associated with the family of S. Truett Cathy, because I find his personal politics distasteful in the extreme, and know that he uses a part of the profits made from any transaction I make with one of his companies to support his distasteful views? Chick-fil-a is privately owned, and there are plenty of nice people who work there. But I'm not going to give them a f*cking dime, because I know what use that money will be put to.

Why is it different when I choose not to serve a man food because I know just what kind of bullsh*t it's going to turn into?

I think in some cases, you're right, Dimmerswitch. A megacorp like Wal Mart deciding wholesale to ban a bigot seems extreme - although I should point out they do that sort of thing all the time, for myriad reasons.

But the bistro on the Bijio is a small business. It's much easier for me to say "martha boggs owns that restaurant, she should be able to eject horrible people" than it is for me to make the same leap with a huge publically owned corporation

Hypatian wrote:
Corporations are not people, sure. I'm still not sure why that's supposed to matter. I can choose not to do business with a person, or with a corporation. A person or a corporation can choose not to business with me.

If it's the person that matters, then am I wrong to avoid all businesses that I know to be associated with the family of S. Truett Cathy, because I find his personal politics distasteful in the extreme, and know that he uses a part of the profits made from any transaction I make with one of his companies to support his distasteful views?

You are not wrong, and if Sen. Campbell owned a business I'd support consumers boycotting that, as well.

Dimmerswitch wrote:
In any event, discriminating against someone because of their political beliefs is something I think is dangerous and best avoided (edit to add: though quite probably legal).

Hating homosexuals isn't a "political belief".

I do not approve of men having sex with each other.

Is it right for me to refuse service to men whom I know have had sex with each other, by their own accounts?

LarryC wrote:
I do not approve of men having sex with each other.

Is it right for me to refuse service to men whom I know have had sex with each other, by their own accounts?


I don't think Tennessee has any law that prevents discrimination based on sexual orientation, so I think it'd be legal. I'd still view it as wrong though.

I think it's important to point out that Stacey Campfield isn't just some random guy who doesn't approve of homosexuality, he's a senator who goes on record saying things like:

"Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community -- it was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men. It was an airline pilot, if I recall."

"My understanding is that it is virtually -- not completely, but virtually -- impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex...very rarely [transmitted]."

(source)
This is a man who is using his public status to spread hate and misinformation. It's not like the bistro in question is banning every customer with homophobic inclinations.

Stengah wrote:
LarryC wrote:
I do not approve of men having sex with each other.

Is it right for me to refuse service to men whom I know have had sex with each other, by their own accounts?


I don't think Tennessee has any law that prevents discrimination based on sexual orientation, so I think it'd be legal. I'd still view it as wrong though.
Stengah wrote:
LarryC wrote:
I do not approve of men having sex with each other.

Is it right for me to refuse service to men whom I know have had sex with each other, by their own accounts?


I don't think Tennessee has any law that prevents discrimination based on sexual orientation, so I think it'd be legal. I'd still view it as wrong though.

I'm not discriminating against them based on their sexual orientation. I'm discriminating against specific individuals who did actions I did not approve of.

LarryC wrote:
Stengah wrote:
LarryC wrote:
I do not approve of men having sex with each other.

Is it right for me to refuse service to men whom I know have had sex with each other, by their own accounts?


I don't think Tennessee has any law that prevents discrimination based on sexual orientation, so I think it'd be legal. I'd still view it as wrong though.

I'm not discriminating against them based on their sexual orientation. I'm discriminating against specific individuals who did actions I did not approve of.

IMAGE(http://i0.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/000/554/facepalm.jpg)
What is this I don't even...

Stengah:

It's the same reasoning applied to a different perspective.

Dimmerswitch is arguing against discrimination. I agree with him. The only way to fight discrimination is to fight against it in all its forms and practices. It doesn't work when we fight it only when it's against us and the people we like, but approve of it when it's beneficial to us and beliefs we approve of - because that's exactly what the people you're fighting against are doing also. They simply have a different world view.

Of course, the other way to is have thought police and make sure that everyone has the same ideology as we do.

Ah, False Equivalence. How have you been, old friend? It's been far too long.

In what specific way was the equivalence false, other than it didn't agree with Stengah's particular morals?

Bear in mind, the discrimination wasn't against homosexuals. It was against men who had sex with each other - which is a past action. It would also hold against heterosexual men who had sex with each other.

Well, it is true that anal sex transmits AIDS much more readily than vaginal, so gay males do suffer disproportionately. That doesn't make it a 'gay' disease, but conservatives love to paint it that way.

It was against men who had sex with each other - which is a past action. It would also hold against heterosexual men who had sex with each other.

That is the exact same argument people in this country use to justify banning gay marriage. "Gays are free to get married, just not to the same gender of gay person."

Malor:

I don't want to prolong this more than this one reply. I just want to clarify for everyone else that no, it's not. Check the structure of the logic. And by logic I mean actual logic as in that used in philosophy.

The specific way it's false equivalence, Larry, is the way you've made the situations equivalent, falsely. It's really not difficult to see.

That's just restating the words, SpacePPoliceman. In both cases, people are being discriminated against because of prior action. What about this is falsely equivalent? Is because we approve of one action and not the other?

Luckily, Larry, there's a commercial break, so I can give you the attention you seek. Just this once, though!

You make two seemingly similar actions seem equivalent by utterly divorcing them from key contexts and bits of information. Your hypothetical men are harming no one--they are living their lives, only making you uncomfortable, and really, that's your problem. The politician is exploiting ignorance and hate, or if you prefer "not liking", for personal power and gain, oppressing millions of Americans in the process. But, you ignore those important differences of circumstance. Hence, they are falsely equivalent. "Discriminating against the discriminators is equally as bad!" wasn't a particularly compelling or clever twist when we all first encountered it as pre-teens, and time has done it no favors.

Aww, but you knew all that! Instead, I'll ask this: Stacey is on record as hatefully ignorant (and spreading dangerous falsehoods about a incurable disease, to boot). How do you know your hypothetical men are having sex? Or best not to ask?

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