Friday, 24 April 2015

A Gay Black Man Comes Into My Bakery

There's a corner store nearby my place I don't frequent. There is another corner store about a block further which I do frequent. The first store has a continuous change of personnel, are rushed, surly and distant and have charged different prices on the same item several times (up and down like a Yo-yo-ma). The second store has pleasant staff who engage their customers with a smile.
I make the effort to go to the second store because I like them.
There seem to be a lot of people up in arms about a few States having recently passed laws which allow business owners to pick and choose whom they serve. They call them Freedom of Religion Acts – or some reasonable facsimile thereof - which seem to extend far beyond any religious ideal I've been taught or shown. These are laws which appear to segregate visible minorities when we have spent years trying to shake that particular bug-a-boo from our cultural image. It's taking away their freedom to go where they choose, no?
Let's take the case of a bakery which was in the news for refusing to serve a gay person. If a bakery in Indiana (an example in a State which has passed such a law) refuses to serve me because I'm Black or Muslim or appear Gay, I don't care. I'll go to another bakery. I'll also make certain all of my Gay/Black/Muslim/Native/White/Asian/Straight friends know I had difficulty getting a loaf of bread or a cheese roll from said baker.
I wouldn't even bother arguing with the person behind the counter. It's their financial funeral, ya know?
It's not that difficult to fight back. In actuality, it's not much of a fight at all. If Joe Baker wants to commit economic suicide by refusing to serve a very large portion of the population, I don't care. That's his prerogative and problem. I'm going to go where people are treated properly. And, I'm going to go where my friends and family are treated properly.
Are you getting the picture?
If I were a baker in Indiana having the values which I have – using the same example – I would have a sign in my window in heartbeat: We serve everyone! It's not that difficult, really.
This world is fascinating to live in because of our cultural differences. It's an interesting place because we all do different things in different ways wearing different clothes. How boring would it be if we all looked and acted alike. If that were the case, I would personally being searching high and low for a new planet to inhabit.
I don't have to agree with your politics or beliefs to sell you loaf of bread. I just have to sell you a loaf of bread. Ya know?
Having friends who are visible minorities, it's not a large stretch to get to the understanding that I am going to go where they are accepted. I'm going to frequent establishments where we are all accepted and feel comfortable. Those other establishments are going to get their just desserts. And the people who run them can lead their uninteresting lives by themselves while the rest of us enjoy our world and the myriad intricacies which go with it.
Further, it's not a large stretch to envision folks starting their own businesses and refusing to serve white people. You see, there's an interesting attribute to swords... they cut both ways.
So... this Gay Black man comes into my bakery... and gets served with a smile and a couple of my silly jokes...