Monday, February 06, 2012

Discrimination Is Wrong, No Matter Who The Target

I wasn't planning to write about Stacey Campfield, he of the rampant homophobia, bigotry and utter idiocy, but the more I saw this story, the more annoyed I got.
At the LGBT community. So, here goes....
Stacey Campfield doesn't like gay folk...even though he may be one.....oops did I say that out loud.....and he works his legislative ass off to prove it. He doesn't want folks saying 'gay,' he likes to spread old wives tales about gay men having sex with monkeys to start the AIDS epidemic, he believes straight people cannot get, or transmit, HIV.
In other words, he's a delusional douche. But, the last time I checked this was America where one has the right to be a delusional douche, or not. We all have the right to our opinions, whether others agree with them or not, or even if they're true, or not. That's the great thing. Stacey Campfield can suggest that I, as a gay man, may have had sex with a monkey, and I can say Stacey Campfield is a horse's ass.
But then Stacey Campfield wanted to take some friends to brunch at the Bistro at the Bijou in Knoxville, Tennessee, when he was told by the owner that he had to leave because she didn't like his views on the LGBT community. Martha Boggs, the restaurant owner, says she told him to leave, and banned him from the bistro, over his recent remarks about gays and the origin of the AIDS virus: "When I saw him at the front door, I told him to leave. It’s just my way to show support for the gay community and stand up to somebody I think is a bully. He’s really gone from being stupid to dangerous. I think he needs to know what it feels like to be discriminated against.”
And a lot of us cheered. I didn't, and I'll tell you why.
It's discrimination. Sure, discrimination against a homophobe and, as Boggs says, a bully, but it's still discrimination. She booted him from the bistro because of his opinion. Is that really any different than that florist who wouldn't service a gay couple's wedding, or the B&B that wouldn't allow a gay reception?
I don't like Campfield. I think he is a moron, and he is a panderer and a fear monger, but he's also entitled to his opinion. And he's entitled to brunch.
Let me break it down like this: last week the LGBT community--myself included--was in an uproar because hate group, One Million Moms, demanded JCPenney drop out gay entertainer Ellen DeGeneres as their spokesperson. We all yelled that that was wrong; we signed a petition, we blogged, we Tweeted, we Facebooked it. It is wrong for that group to discriminate against Ellen because she's a Lesbian.
And I say it was wrong for Boggs to discriminate against Campfield because he's a homophobe. Had she ordered a gay man out of the restaurant because she didn't like his politics, his views, his opinions, we'd all be up in arms about it. But because it was Campfield, we say, Yay!
I say, Nay.
Let's try another approach. Say Martha Boggs protested Stacey Campfield's homophobia and bigotry and lunacy--we'd cheer, of course. But then say Martha Boggs went to brunch at a restaurant owned by Stacey Campfield, and he told her to leave because he didn't like her viewpoint. Would we cheer that? Or do we just cheer when homophobes are the target of discrimination?
Again, don't get me wrong, I loathe Stacey Campfield. He's a liar and a bully and a homophobe and a panderer and, quite possibly, a self-loathing closeted gay man, but he's entitled to his opinion. And if we're going to cheer any establishment that kicks out a customer because of his or her own personal beliefs, then we need to cheer every time it happens. Even when it happens to one of us.
Discrimination is wrong, no matter whom is being discriminated against.
But, that's just me.


truthspew said...

Well it is nice to see bigots get a taste of their own medicine every now and again.

froggy said...

Shirts and shoes :-)

designing wally said...

I decided the first time I read the story that I would withhold any comments. I'm sticking with that decision, seeing as how I am a restauranteur by vocation & now again by occupation...

You have some good observations though.


Ken Monteith said...

I think that sometimes, when someone works hard to remove protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation, that person might just need to see that it works both ways, and that these protections would have protected them, too.

I would dearly love to have enough resources to buy a luxury apartment building in a state which had voted to remove protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation and then offer the apartments at differential rents, depending on sexual orientation.

Yes. wrong. But sometimes you need to illustrate the point to get people to do the right thing.

Bob said...

I just think that if this were reversed and Campfield was a gay man being denied service for his views, we'd be outraged.
Can't play both sides of the fence.

Biki said...

I agree with you Bob, discrimination is wrong no matter who it's aimed at. Yes, Stacey is a sleeze ball, but does that mean he cant have a meal? Live the way you want the world to be.

Frank said...

I usually find your logic pretty sound, but I'm not so sure about this time.

I'm not sure you can compare Ellen DeGeneres whose identity as a Lesbian is innate and essential to her integrity as a human being, to a homophobe, who, as far as we know, has no genetic predisposition toward bigotry, though I could be wrong about that.

As far as everyone having a right to his or her own opinion, this can be a sticky wicket. "Yellow is a better color than green in my opinion." or "In my opinion, Ralph is an idiot." These are opinions.

The problem with homophobes and other bigoted individuals is that they often equate their "opinions" with "facts" and then try to manipulate society, laws, and others behaviors to conform to their erroneous "opinions".

To defend the right of someone who is in a position of power and who is able to influence the laws of the State of Tennessee, with clearly erroneous and hateful "opinions" and who acts in an official capacity to pass laws based on those opinions - is irresponsible on the part of otherwise noble nice guys like you.

If it were his opinion that the State of Tennessee was infiltrated by left-handed aliens from the planet Diphthong, and the State should pass a law to execute anyone who is left-handed, this would not be tolerated. To opine that AIDS was started by gays having sex with monkeys is no less preposterous.

In many states there is a list of protected classes in response to years of discrimination against those classes. Homophobes are not a protected class anywhere I can think of, thank goodness.

SO, as far as kicking the ignoramus out of the restaurant, I say, "Go girl!"

Bitchy Bartender said...

Good call. However, I'd be listening with a keen ear for him to make any homophobic remarks so I'd have a legitimate reason to boot him for!

Ron said...

One more comment Bob, you are a breath of fresh air. I am so glad I found your blog.

tamayn said...

I think I agree more with Ken and Frank in this situation. While I do agree with your point, that it's discrimination, Campfield has made his career based on discrimination. Who had ever heard of him until he announced a bill forbidding the saying of the word gay? He knew it wouldn't pass muster and did it to raise his profile. In a way, it's unfortunate, because this incident only raises his profile further.

Campfield can change his ways. He can educate himself and realize what he's saying. Gay people can't change who they are attracted to. What people like Campfield are doing when they say that gay men can marry a woman, or lesbians can marry a man (who will apparently rock their world) is saying that they would prefer that these people make themselves and everyone around them miserable for the sake of not pissing of their imaginary sky friend.

If Campfield doesn't have breakfast to bring his levels of idiocy to our attention, I'm all right with that.

Theaterdog said...

Damn, you are right.
So was she. Did she discriminate though? Were he a known racists (which I am certain his is as it is a mentality)....would she have the right as a business owner to refuse service to this case a phobe/racist.
This is a great discussion, and I am humbled by my own confusion. Your post brings up the many variables in this situation.
Okay, lets move on to Architecture wednesday! LOL
thanks tim

Sean said...

Discrimination is about power. What Martha did was show that GLBT people, while not the most powerful, are no longer powerless. A higher road may have been to welcome him to my gay business, in a gay part of town, with a mostly gay staff and gay customers, making gay food and earning gay money - still care to eat here? When then here's your gay menu and gay, gay, gay =, gay, gay gay.

White, christian, straight men are the most powerful, least discriminated against group but now he has been given a taste.

One last component of this is to remember that YES. We have free speech but doesn't allow anyone to scream fire in a movie theater. What Stacy does, along with others of his kind, is scream lies and misinformation which is really about the same as screaming fire in a movie theater. said...

Of course, I see your point but, as a Tennessean, this story hit close to home so I also blogged about it. Campfield has been a cruel and, frankly, ignorant anti-LGBT force in the state legislature for some time. He is ill-informed and extraordinarily stubborn.

I’ve been asking myself a question over and over … “Is it really discrimination if both sides are playing by the same rules?”

Gay men and women get kicked out of restaurants/florists/B&Bs all the time … it’s not news any more.

How can we expect youngsters to stand up to bullies if the grown-ups never confront them?

Kyle Leach said...

Bob, in the end your summation is just and where we should be. Many of Sean's ideas are were we really are right now. I would be lying if I didn't add that I was quite happy to hear about his misfortune. I feel bad about that, but it was what I felt. That's the problem with being human its often harder to do the right, just thing. I'm no more immune than anyone else.