A Local Hook for Restaurateur Discrimination

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As local papers often do with national stories, the Providence Journal strove to provide local color to a growing trend in the area of Washington, D.C., of driving Trump Administration figures out of restaurants:

“I know hundreds of restaurant owners in R.I., and I can’t think of one that would turn someone away,” said Bob Bacon, owner of the Gregg’s restaurant and bakery chain and a past chairman of the R.I. Hospitality Association, an industry trade group.

“We are all thrilled to death to be given your business,” he said.

Presumably, reporter Gail Ciampa isn’t aware of Revival Brewing Company’s cancellation of an America’s Future Foundation event at the last minute for political reasons earlier this year, even though I wrote about it in her paper.

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It’s very easy for restaurants to proclaim that they’d never turn people away, and it’s easy to find a group of them that would be telling the truth with that proclamation, but that doesn’t capture the reality.  AFF had a similar experience with a different establishment shortly after, but I didn’t have time to write about it, and nobody else in Rhode Island media seems to care.

“It could never happen here,” the saying goes… except when it does.  Then nobody will notice so that they can continue to believe their pleasant fiction.

Not long ago, Christian writer Rod Dreher coined the Law of Merited Impossibility, which observes a common insinuation from the American Left whenever these sorts of stories emerge:  “That will never happen, and when it does, you bigots will deserve it.”  This is human nature, and conservatives should be prepared for things to get worse before they get better, but it’d be nice if professionals who believe themselves to be objective were able to acknowledge it.



  • Merle The Monster

    I remember your support of the Christian baker Jack Philips refusing to serve a gay couple, but I can’t recall your position about the refusal of area florists not to provide their services to an out of state organization that wished to have flowers sent to Cranston West student and atheist Jessica Alquist. The argument you made about the baker was of course religious but you also speculated that their was no real harm done to the gay customers because they had other options. I’ll bet that is your position about florists and atheists too. So what is different with the Huckabee Saunders case and that of your colleague’s organization. I can’t imagine there are were no other restaurants available to the Saunders in Northern Virginia after being turned away by one establishment. Personally i think I would bake the cake , make the flower arrangement and deliver it and not turn away any customer from entering a restaurant but that of course is speculation on my part as I do not own and operate any of those businesses

    • Rhett Hardwick

      The baker did not refuse to sell them “anything”, he refused to “participate” in the wedding. There is a distinction.

      • Merle The Monster

        Thanks for missing the forest

    • Justin Katz

      There are a few things going on, here. I don’t think government should compel people to do business with other people except in very narrow circumstances (preferably judged locally) that takes into consideration the degree of monopoly and necessity of the product.

      When it comes to social opprobrium, my problem isn’t the discrimination against conservatives or Trump supporters, but the dishonesty of those who discriminate. Revival Brewing cancelled AFF’s event at the last minute in the name of tolerance and welcoming everybody (and based on somebody else’s lie about the group). If you’re going to discriminate, discriminate, but don’t act like tolerance for people who agree with you is universal tolerance as a principle.

      • Merle The Monster

        Here’s where we have a problem. I do believe government (we the people) does have a role in protecting people from discrimination as well as enforcing standards of health and safety. When white employers used as evidence their white clientele ‘s intolerance of blacks as a reason not too hire blacks I’d say that’s no argument for discrimination . Likewise in the case of your friends being denied the opportunity to meet at the brewery because of the feared reaction of their clientele I would tell them the same thing as I would the owners of the restaurant that would not serve the Saunders. I don’t believe that’s an excuse for discrimination. I am consistent on this point. You on the other hand not so much

        • Justin Katz

          We’re just drawing different lines. I happen to believe more in freedom and less in government telling people how to live their lives and conduct their business. I’m completely consistent on this.

      • BasicCaruso

        “I don’t think government should compel people to do business with other people except in very narrow circumstances (preferably judged locally) that takes into consideration the degree of monopoly and necessity of the product.”

        I think we should applaud Justin’s honest defense here of discrimination on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual preference. Quite brave to take such a regressive stance in the modern era.

        Irish Need Not Apply? Ah, the long gone signs of freedom.

        • Rhett Hardwick

          “Irish Need Not Apply?” Mythology, unsupported by any evidence of such signs,

          • BasicCaruso

            Sorry to muddle the alternative facts over here with the historical record. In any case, an accurate statement of Justin’s worldview. #freedomtodiscriminate

          • Justin Katz

            Of course. Unlike you, I don’t want a theocracy in which government decides what opinions are acceptable and what interactions are divine will. Freedom means people can do things that you or I really, really don’t like.

          • BasicCaruso

            You can stand in the schoolhouse door, but that’s oppression and lawlessness. Of course as a middle aged, white guy I realize that appears to you to be freedom. #segregationforever

          • Justin Katz

            Umm… the school is a government agency. And besides, I already wrote above that these freedoms can be outweighed in specific cases judged by the circumstances, taking into account the level of monopoly, the necessity of the product, and so on.

          • BasicCaruso

            Interesting, so Wallace was wrong to refuse to integrate public schools but racial discrimination in private hiring or at lunch-counters is AOK according to RICFP so long as the blacks can find another place to work/eat?

          • Justin Katz

            As usual, Russ, you fail in the basics of reading comprehension.

          • BasicCaruso

            I comprehended what you wrote just fine, and, as usual, out come the personal attacks when you’re challenged.

          • Mike678

            “Sorry to muddle the alternative facts over here with the historical record. In any case, an accurate statement of Justin’s worldview. #freedomtodiscriminate”

            “Of course as a middle aged, white guy I realize that appears to you to be freedom. #segregationforever”

            And these are cogent arguments and not personal attacks? #hypocrite

          • BasicCaruso

            Lol, didn’t realize being a called a middle-aged, white guy was offensive, and Justin has been pretty clear he thinks businesses should be “free” to discriminate as they see fit except in some kind of extreme cases he doesn’t feel the need to define.

            So does the RICFP believe that racial discrimination in private hiring or at lunch-counters is OK except in narrow circumstances?

            #cricketschirping

          • Mike678

            Nice try hypocrite. What’s really pathetic is you can’t even admit when you’re wrong. #Troll

    • BasicCaruso

      Justin thinks being a noxious, paid, political hack should be a protected class. Were that the case, I’d support Huckabee Sanders as well.

      Write your Congressmen! #shilldiscrimination

      • Merle The Monster

        Justin takes the side of the discriminator and calls it freedom

        • Justin Katz

          I take the side of freedom… even freedom to do things I don’t like. What’s Orwellian is suggesting that freedom is secured by having government tell people what they must and must not do.

          • Merle The Monster

            Can you give me an example of the freedoms to do things that you don’t like? You don’t seem to appreciate the consequences for those who are discriminated against by your freedom exercising people. They don’t have freedom to conduct their business in the public square and receive equal treatment?

          • Justin Katz

            Freedom is freedom from the government… from some controlling authority… not from each other. What you want to do is pick certain interactions in which government chooses one side with freedom and one without. In your view, business owners have no right to advance their beliefs through the conduct of their business, but consumers have every right to advance their beliefs by attacking or boycotting the business. Similarly, in your view, employers have no right not to hire people according to their beliefs, but employees have every right not to work for employers according to their beliefs.

            In a free market, people can choose with whom they associate and do business and then compete with people who let bigotry harm their bottom lines. You want government to step in and tell people how they have to act. That’s not freedom.

          • Merle The Monster

            I would like to continue this exchange but I don’t think it’s productive for you to avoid answering a question that relates to your previous comments You have taken a lot of liberties with characterizing my positions which I find curious because you usually push back against those who do that to you , including me. What gives?

          • Justin Katz

            I thought the answer was implicit. People should be free to discriminate in their business dealings, which I don’t like their doing.

            With regard to my characterization of your views: Do you think customers should HAVE to shop at particular stores? Do you think employees should HAVE to work for particular employers?

          • Merle The Monster

            I think customers should be able to shop at whatever store that is open to the public without being singled out because of their race religion nationality gender sexual preference and age (with reasonable exceptions) for different treatment by the store owners and employees.
            Workers who do not wish to perform the requirements of a particular job do not have to seek employment at a particular employer such as a pharmacist who does not wish to sell the contraceptive products that the pharmacy sells, but that pharmacy should not be able to discriminate against the groups mentioned above when hiring. What’s hard to understand? Maybe if you found yourself in one the protected classes you would have some empathy for the victims of discrimination

          • BasicCaruso

            “You want government to step in and tell people how they have to act.”

            Yes, of course. What a ridiculous thing to hold otherwise. Me, I’m with Jefferson on this one…

            “It is to secure our rights that we resort to government at all.”
            –Thomas Jefferson to Francois D’Ivernois, 1795

  • Rhett Hardwick

    I was surprised to find the “restaurant incident” outside of the Northeast, or the Left Coast. On the other hand, “carpetbaggers” are altering the make up of Virginia. Lexington is a “college town”. While I doubt the students at VMI would approve, those at Washington and Lee (the “other school in town”) might approve. The “other school in town” is planning to remove Lee from it’s name. The Institute has announced it will not remove Confederate statues. The Institute was burned, almost to the ground, by Union forces.

  • Mike678

    People vary–some are rude, some very nice. Sanders did the right thing, she left. Also practical–better than pushing the point and taking the chance that these forward thinking people would spit on her food.

    Let the marketplace decide who ultimately succeeds, If I won’t bake cake or feed a certain class of people, I limit my customer base. This may cause me to fail–or be bought out by a more successful–and perhaps more tolerant and accepting–business owner.

    But that doesn’t grow gov’t–or let some people decide how all others should act.

    • guest

      So you believe is segregation?

      • Rhett Hardwick

        I believe that people self-segregate, regularly. An odd but recent survey I read recently “proved” that if you own a new Lexus, the chances that you even know anyone with a beat up Buick are infinitesimal. Meaning people self-segregate according to income.

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