NTOABOMA—There are many places in the United States that I wouldn’t like to walk into on a visit. And I don’t mean a Strip Club over burgers and fries at 1:00 PM. But over a long trek on the interstate highway, there are restaurants and bars in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Tennessee where the spirit of living, or the love to continue to live, can turn cold right at the entrance.

When you enter a place to buy some cornbread and grits, and some 20 or so men, swing their heads in your direction, staring as if you were the barbecue they had ordered, or yet as if you were standing under a tree with a branch that looked like someone had been lynched there the night before, you have only one place to look the next chance you get—the exit. And then when you realize that they are all wearing cowboy boots adorned with shiny aluminum plates that read “Made in Jesus Taveen, Kansas City, Mizora,” you have a few seconds to burst through that exit and return to unit—back to your rental vehicle—and drive away as quickly as you can, making sure that you do not alert the Kansas State Patrol. For that encounter could be even worse. Much worse.

There are two problems that can arise in an uninviting restaurant in Missouri. The lesser issue is with Jesus. Don’t be shocked. Exactly how Jesus would feel to see a man flee from a horde of outspoken Jesus Lovers is in fact the least of your problems. Curiously though, how would Jesus feel? I wonder.

The bigger issue rather is with the service you get. Would you be served? Yes! Now, knowing full-well that those who can’t spell the name of the very state they live in can barely be expected to follow a recipe whatsoever, it will be up to you to eat the food or leave it be. Why? Those 20 or so cowboys can fume, fuss, and whine all day, but they cannot kick you out of a restaurant just because you look like Ludacris from Atlanta, Georgia. Not even the owner can. This is, in fact, the law of the land. One can file a discrimination lawsuit against a restaurant for violating the constitution of the United States of America if one is kicked out of a restaurant for no other reason but for the fact that you looked like Ludacris.

However, is discrimination always a signpost that reads “Whites Only?” Whichever side you fall on in this debate, it is hard to make a case either way. Discrimination is not only expressed overtly as on a signpost. But discrimination outside of a signpost is difficult to prove. One could take 20 mean cowboy-looks for a code: “Get Out.” Or one could simply take 20 cowboy-looks for starstruck curiosity—the 20 or so men actually thought they were looking at Ludacris from Atlanta. Although you are simply not Ludacris, and you are annoyed at your look-alike’s fans, looking is not a crime—whether it is intended to be mean or inquisitive.

Still yet, can one be kicked out of a restaurant simply based on one’s peculiar views? Here the answer again is a no! Since a couple of Trump’s generals, including Sarah The Ogre, were kicked out of their restaurants for their defense of Trumpism, the general discussion about discrimination and the legal basis for it has arisen in public discourse. Is it right to discriminate based on views, or the support of views that are contrary to your own? Is it right to sack Sarah The Ogre from your restaurant because you feel her support of Trumpism goes against your fiber-optic network of morals?

“Right or wrong?” I believe, is the wrong question. It invokes the universal acceptance of some modicum of morality, which then again must be handed down to humanity (or wired into human existence) by some supra-existence greater than all humans. Which is where you found yourself fleeing the mean looks of 20 or so cowboys who may have rather been star-struck at the sight of who they thought was Ludacris from Atlanta, Georgia. Hence the natural question that arises, in my opinion is this: Is it correct to discriminate against Sarah Huckabee to the extent that she must be sacked from a restaurant based on her unlikable views?

No it is not. The reasoning against discrimination is obvious. You can’t just say because you don’t like how someone looks they should be punished, or ostracized from society. Just because you think left handed people wipe their asses with their “right” hands doesn’t mean you have a right to ban them from working as waiters. Just because I think that Sarah Huckabee is ugly doesn’t mean that she cannot enjoy Tacos at a Mexican Joint owned and run by a white man from Missouri. And just because I think Missouri is full of rednecks doesn’t mean it cannot stay a member of the Union.

What we feel and how we come to feel it are not grounds for justifying why we discriminate. However, there are others. One can say, and this is according to the Supreme Court of the United States, that because “I do not believe in Gay Marriage, I cannot design a “gay cake” for a gay couple.” What this means is that I can refuse making a special cake for you—although my job and my brand is to make special cakes for others—if that design infringes on my religious beliefs. At first glance, this is discrimination: I do something for others and yet I refuse to do it for you.

Not so fast. It is rather more like, you enter into a restaurant where what you wished for isn’t anywhere found on the menu. Yet you cry discrimination when the server insists he cannot accommodate your requests—outside of the menu. You cannot walk into a Taco joint and demand a Sushi. One cannot say that the owner of a Sushi joint is discriminating against Mexicans when he sacks Sarah from his restaurant for walking in there and demanding that a Taco be made just for her.

In this sense, the Ivy Leaguers of the Supreme Court have grasped the nuanced subtraction. Cake-making they say is a part of speech. That is, designer cake-making is an art, and an art is an expression of speech. If one is forced to bake a cake, which expression infringes on the beliefs of the cake-maker then that is illegal. More simply, I can refuse to bake a special cake for you if I find your design “insulting.” Further, I can refuse to bake a special cake for you if I find out that I actually disagree with what you are asking me to express on the cake.

Let’s re-examine the case of Sarah The Ogre vs. The Restaurant. If cake making is a free expression, then one can safely make the argument that Taco-making is also a free expression. Like special or designer cake making, there’s a case to be made for designer Taco making as well. Now if Sarah wanted a Taco that had a design which could be interpreted by the Taco-maker as “Latinos are Criminals” then the Taco maker could in fact refuse that kind of service to Sarah The Ogre. But Sarah never asked for such a Taco, no matter how ugly she looked. She wanted the same Taco that everyone else wanted. She never asked for any one Taco in particular. More, she never asked for anything outside of the menu.

According to the Supreme Court, Sarah must have her Taco for she’s not preventing anyone from freely expressing themselves. The person who made the same Taco for ten others can surely make the same Taco for the next person—love it or not.

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Amenuti Narmer
Narmer Amenuti (Dances With Lions) was born by The River, deep within the heartlands of Ghana, in Ntoaboma. He is a Public Intellectual from the Sankoré School, a Temple of the African Prophetic Tradition. He remains the only surviving speaker of Vebantu, the Ancestral Tongue to most West African languages. As a Culture Critic from the Sankoré School (of Critical Theory) and a Guan Rhythmmaker, he is a dilettante, a dissident and a gadfly, and he eschews promotional intellectualism. He maintains strict anonymity and invites intellectuals and lay people alike to honest debate. He reads every comment. ~ Success Corrupts; Usefulness Exalts! ~ Narmer!

2 COMMENTS

  1. Nice summary of the points on discrimination. Here we can only hope it will make sense to others or this will certainly be the beginning of many conflicts about who is allowed to go where.

  2. I believe this is an extremely unfortunate extension of the american law regarding right to deny services of businesses. I really want to work this one out in my mind as well. But i fail. Everytime. I was really excited to come across an article that may shed light on the better solution. The taco analogy however wholly falls short!!

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