Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Chick-fil-A; Living in Texas

Chick-fil-A is still, thankfully, in the news. As such it's one of the things that people talk about while waiting for class to begin. But because that means shortly after sunrise at 7:45am, I rarely have the energy to bother to argue with 20 people who disagree.

1. This isn't new news
2. This isn't discrimination
3. People have the right to say what they want
4. I don't care; their chicken taste good in mouth

These seem like very curious responses. Inscrutably curious indeed.

At first I agreed with response 1. I thought it was a sort of statement on how odd it is that certain things tend to rise into the collective consciousness when the underlying issue had been there all along. It wasn't until later that I realized it was intended to mean "this issue has been there for a long time, therefore there's no need to address it". Which is just... an odd response once you think about it. One thing does not follow from the other.

Or take response 2. It generally takes the form of "they still sell their products to gay people so what's the fuss?" I don't understand what prompts that either. It's possible for a business to engage in bigotry while selling products to the people they're supporting discrimination against. No one ever claimed that Chick-fil-A refuses to serve people based on their sexual orientation (although why that's a metric that comes into many people's mind is somewhat troubling). The issue is that they influence the government to prohibit marriage equality. That is the discrimination referred to. The odd state of affairs where the government is prepared to grant marriage licenses, then stops to check to make sure their sexual orientations are opposite. "Would you like to start a family and marry your loved one? Oh, sorry, one of you needs a wang otherwise we just can't do it :/".

Response 3 is just plain weird. It seems very obvious that, yes, people have the right to have opinions even when those opinions are bigoted and discriminatory. I'm glad we have that right. But there's an apparent difference between "the government can't take away my right to free speech" and "no one is allowed to disagree with me because Free Speech". It's a tactic that's more often in Internet forums that in college hallways. And yet that distinction appears lost to, well, almost everyone I've talked with or overhead. Just because someone is legally allowed to express an opinion, or to influence the government to discriminate against people, doesn't mean that everyone needs to say "well, it's legal, so really we legally can't consider the content of their speech".

To be honest, response 4 is the worst. It's the Britta of responses. Being wrong is one thing, choosing to life your life in such a way that you don't care about the rights of others is another thing. It's exemplified by the fact that someone said "can you believe that it's mostly straight people disagreeing with Chick-fil-A?" Followed by collective astonishment. That people only care about the rights which affect them is rather depressing. It wasn't too long ago that I wouldn't be expected to share a water fountain with some of my classmates, the fact that it's expected I would say "well, I've got the good water fountain so really it's fine" is just depressing.

Apparently my local Chick-fil-A has to schedule a lot of people for double shifts because they've been swamped. Which is the meta story for all of this: a member of the 80% of the population complains about being victimized by the 20%; they take a "brave" stand for what the law already is; they claim they're willing to suffer the consequences; they actively push for the government to enforce bigotry; members of the 80% celebrate the government enforcing bigotry by buying more from the business; the right wing complains they're being victimized further.

I just don't get it. And now I'm 10 minutes behind in my morning schedule. But hey at least I'm slightly more centered mentally.

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