Freedom to Discriminate | INFJ Forum

Freedom to Discriminate

Discussion in 'News and Politics' started by Satya, Sep 7, 2008.

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  1. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    Here is a classic debate for you.

    Some people argue that if you own a business, you should be free to decide who you do and do not do business with. Maybe I own a housing complex and I don't like black people, so I won't rent to them. Or maybe I own a private school, but I won't hire a teacher who is homosexual because I feel that kids should not be exposed to that kind of person. Or maybe I own a restaurant and I want to refuse to serve obese people because I don't want to contribute to their bad health.

    Of course, it isn't that simple. If I was a business owner and I discriminated against my customers in that way, they would sue me. So as a business owner, I need to protect my freedom and get a law passed saying that I have the freedom to discriminate against them.

    Or how about the other way?

    Maybe I'm a black person who feels that I have the freedom to rent wherever I want. Maybe I'm a gay teacher who feels that I have the freedom to teach wherever I am qualified to teach. Maybe I'm an obese person who feels I have the freedom to destroy my own health since it is my body.

    Of course, it isn't that simple. There are people out there who want to discriminate against me and will actively do so. So as any of these individuals, I need to protect my freedom and get a law passed saying that I have the freedom not to be discriminated against based on my skin color, sexuality, or weight.

    Whose freedom is the correct freedom? It seems each side's liberty contradicts the other side's liberty. Is one liberty superior to another?
     
    #1 Satya, Sep 7, 2008
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2008
  2. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    Freedom should be there to discriminate. If they OWN the housing block, they decide who they want in it. If they made up the religion (or are in charge of it, via traditional rules) they should decide who is allowed to preach it. If they set up the Organisation (or are in charge of it), they decide who is allowed in it.

    Don't like it? Feel free to live amongst non discriminatory people. We shouldn't be legislating discriminators out of existence, we should be creating legal safe zones for people, and encouraging them to be good.

    A forced apology is no apology.
     
  3. OP
    Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    So you would have no problem with a business having a law passed that says they don't have to do business with black people since they own the business? And you would see no problem with a law being passed saying that a private school doesn't have to employ homosexual teachers? And you wouldn't see a problem with a restaurant having a law passed that says they have the right to not serve food to obese people?

    Something tells me you did not really read my post.
     
  4. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    I did read your post. But I'd have no problems with it. If businesses want to shoot themselves in the foot I'm more than happy to let them.

    The question is;
    Would YOU patronise the business? - No I wouldn't.
    Would YOU send your children to that school? - No I wouldn't.
    Would YOU eat at that restaurant? - No I wouldn't.

    People should be allowed to live as they see fit, and run their organisations as they see fit. They should prosper or suffer as they will. Of course, if people feel they're being TOO hard done by, they can set up their own organisation that allows them to be patronised.
     
  5. OP
    Satya

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    Ah but it has been done before here in America. The Jim Crow laws which allowed buses, restaurants, and much more to openly discriminate against blacks for decades. It took years of strife and boycotting for those laws to be overturned.

    Would YOU patronize a hospital 50 miles away if you were seriously injured because the one in your neighborhood chose to discriminate against you and turned you away? Would YOU have your kids patronize an inferior school because the better one chose to discriminate against you based on some arbitrary characteristic? Would YOU walk a mile out of the way so you could get a sandwich since the restaurant across the street won't sell you one and insists on treating you like a second class citizen? No, I wouldn't.

    See, the problem with your argument is you are sidestepping the main issue. For someone to run their business as they see fit in this modern day, they have to pass legislation to protect that freedom. Otherwise they would be sued. So is it alright for a business or organization to have laws passed to protect their freedom to discriminate?
     
  6. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    And it was perfectly okay for those laws to exist, because there were people more than willing to eat there with discriminatory practices.

    Would that happen these days? If the law was to come into existence where people could refuse right of entry (in Australia completely legal) and did so on racist grounds, that'd be big news, they'd be boycotted and they'd die from lack of customers.

    Uhh, I don't think you're seeing this particular argument properly. You'd HAVE to.

    I'd hire a tutor to home school, or send them away to boarding school.

    I'd make my own lunch, there isn't some Holy Right that grants me the right to eat where ever I want to eat, if somewhere doesn't want to take my money, well then, I'll buy from somewhere else, or make my own lunch.
     
  7. OP
    Satya

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    Shai, I admire that you would be perfectly fine being a second class citizen. When I take over the world, I'll make sure you inhabit the lowest class since it is obvious that is where you would be most happy.

    Of course, you really haven't explained why businesses should have this freedom to discriminate.
     
  8. frozen_water

    frozen_water Community Member

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    I'm pretty sure businesses do have the right to discriminate... and actually in some cases they're legally required to. "No shirt, no shoes, no service" is discrimination. If it weren't there, I'm not sure I would ever wear shoes (I go barefoot whenever I don't have classes or am going to eat, since restaurants are the worst about it).

    Bartenders, on the other hand, can get in a lot of trouble if they serve too much alcohol to someone who's dangerously intoxicated and ends up hurting themselves or others. In other words, they're legally required to discriminate.

    I'm absolutely with Shai on this one... particularly with organizations, but also with serving businesses. I'm less sure how I stand on employment.

    Your definition of "freedom" is a little bit crazy... and by crazy I mean you're applying it only how you want to apply it. To say that an obese person can eat what they want only because its their freedom to destroy their body is to grant them a freedom that could easily use to justify any kind of hard drugs. To allow gay teachers "freedom" to teach regardless of the wishes of the employers is to grant a freedom that workers can use to demand working hours from any employer.

    On the other hand freedom to refuse service is... what? Like I said, it happens to me because I've tried to go into places without shoes--but does it do any harm? It stops there... I move to another place, and really no harm's done. I know it's the business's right. I know the F in you is screaming at how unfair these extensions are... but I'm just trying to drag your ideas to their logical conclusions. If there's a disconnect between the beginning and end, I don't see it.
     
  9. OP
    Satya

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    So, the Jim Crow laws were justified? If I own a water fountain then I'm perfectly justified putting up a "Whites only" sign and enforcing it?

    Discrimination has two entirely different meanings. The first is simply to distinguish. The second is unfair treatment of an individual or group on the basis of prejudice. To clarify now, that is what I meant. Should businesses and organizations be free to use the law to unfairly treat individuals on the basis of their own prejudice?

    Clearly, you and Shai are on the same boat on that, but I'm not sure why. Could you provide the logic of why businesses and organzations should be allowed to use the law to unfairly treat individuals and groups on the basis of prejudice? Can you really not see the difference between discriminating against those who don't wear shoes and those who are black, gay, or obese?
     
    #9 Satya, Sep 8, 2008
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2008
  10. Lurker

    Lurker Has nothing to destroy
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    In situations where it is critical to the interests of the organisation ie weight requirements for firemen etc it’s acceptable, otherwise it should be unlawful. Rules like dress codes and accepted behaviour are one thing; discrimination on race/religion/etc only leads to disharmony.

    My problem with this kind of discrimination is it is generally directed at minorities who are in a position where they require support from government to be heard. Saying a business should be able to discriminate against a sub-section of the community as their right and suggesting that would result in people not using their services is not the case, ideally yes but in reality most people don't care enough to boycott. Businesses have the right to make a profit and refuse service on many grounds, discrimination, as in the examples is unacceptable.

    The rights of individuals are more important that the rights of an organisation.

    That said, going too far in the opposite direction in an attempt to be PC is not good either.

    Businesses can choose their clientele, employers can choose their employees but if either reject someone based on something superficial like race they better be prepared for the consequences.
     
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  11. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    I never said that, and I'd shoot you if you tried it...
    There's a world of difference between respecting other peoples right to shut you out for whatever reason they want, and being a second class citizen.
     
    #11 Shai Gar, Sep 8, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2008
  12. OP
    Satya

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    There really isn't. All it takes is for the businesses and organizations to get together against a group of people. It's been done countless times before in history and it continues even today.
     
  13. frozen_water

    frozen_water Community Member

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    Clearly, you and Shai are on the same boat on that, but I'm not sure why. Could you provide the logic of why businesses and organzations should be allowed to use the law to unfairly treat individuals and groups on the basis of prejudice?

    hmm... well let me put it this way. If you were to put laws on people preventing them from serving or employing people solely based on prejudice, what good would they be? If a black person tries to buy something while wearing a red shirt, the employer could very easily just go "I'm refusing you service." If asked for a reason, "it's because I don't serve people wearing red shirts." Of course the red shirted black person could find him serving a white person with a red shirt and go "aha!" but since people are, by nature, unique he could easily come up with something else instead.

    Or, alternatively, "I plead the fifth" always works too. The problem is you can't prove when someone's being prejudiced, and since our criminal system requires "guilt beyond a reasonable doubt" then the laws shouldn't be very effective.

    Another thing... what would you say about someone who wants to cast a Chinese actor for a film? Perhaps a white guy has all the necessary skills to act the part, knows the language, and their skin/hair can be changed with makeup... should the movie producer be forced to hire them just because they can fit the part? Of course not... if there's a Chinese guy who also auditions, all skills comparable, he's going to hire the Chinese one. This is the choice of the person in charge... in my opinion they have the right to hire who they want for the part. It's a decision made based solely on race and not skills... but my guess is you probably don't feel so bad about that one. You may say "but of course, the producer wasn't hiring the person because of his own prejudice..." but what's to stop the store owner from making the same claim? Indian restaurants tend to hire Indian waiters and waitresses... Chinese hiring Chinese ones... why couldn't someone selling some kind of food that originated with whites (haha I can't think of any at the moment) want someone who looked white?

    I'm definitely not encouraging prejudice or supporting it ethically... but if you're going to start talking about "should we make laws banning discrimination," I'm going to say no based on the implications that consistent laws would have on society.

    Then again, laws are almost never consistent... so a lot of people would probably be happy with the ones you want. I'm thinking you might actually upset a lot of minority races who open up restaurants, people of all religions (since religious schools are virtually impossible if you're forced to let any teacher in who's qualified to teach), and most of Hollywood if you did it consistently though.
     
  14. OP
    Satya

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    That makes no sense. What are you trying to say? That if I made law prohibiting businesses from not serving or employing black people that they would just come up with arbitrary reasons not to do it anyway? What the hell does that have to do with my question? I don't want to know why it wouldn't work to pass laws to prohibit businesses and organizations from discriminating. I want to know why businesses should be allowed to pass laws that unfairly treat individuals and groups.


    You clearly don't understand the question. My question is how is it anymore justifiable for a business or organization to pass laws protecting their rights to discriminate than it is for an individual to pass laws protecting their rights to be served or employed? For your example to even be relevant to my question, it would have to argue that the caster can have a law passed saying they have the right to pick someone based solely on their ethnicity. It is starting to piss me off that you are commenting in this discussion, when you clearly don't even understand the question.

    I'm not talking about laws banning discrimination! I'm talking about not passing laws that enable discrimination! Read the fricken OP at least!

    Clearly you don't even know what I'm talking about. My position is it is no more justifiable to allow an individual to pass a law that argues they have to be employed or served than it does to let businesses or organization pass laws saying they can discriminate against a group of people.

    Now I will try one last time and I will even simplify the question for you to a specific example.

    What logical argument can you make to explain why a business or organization should be allowed to have a law passed saying they don't have to serve or employ fat people?

    (Please notice the key factor here is "the law". Go back and reread the earlier question as well. This is about businesses passing laws that enable them to discriminate. Not about passing laws against discrimination.)
     
    #14 Satya, Sep 8, 2008
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2008
  15. frozen_water

    frozen_water Community Member

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    *peeks out from behind blanket*

    ok, then um... a potter can do what he wants with his own clay.

    if I try to say any more than that I'm gonna be yelling in a few sentences. I need away from people for a while.
     
  16. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    What I don't understand is why people wanted those laws overturned? If the boycotting shut the businesses down that used discriminatory practices, shouldn't it have remained there?
     
  17. OP
    Satya

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    It didn't shut the businesses down. It led to violent crimes such as bombings of the boycott leader's homes and harassment such as burning crosses being planted on people's front lawns. Those laws allowed the white community to keep blacks in their place, and once they were challenged, it led to a wave of terror and hatred unlike anything America had ever seen before. Have you not seen the videos of nonviolent protest marchers having fire hoses and dogs turn on them by the police?

    The problem with people who think the market will take care of everything is the reality that people will act outside of the market, often in violent and horrendous ways. History proves that the market alone cannot bring about social change.
     
  18. OP
    Satya

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    Well you bugged me! The topic of the thread was not about whether laws should be passed to prohibit discrimination, but whether laws should be passed to protect the freedom of discrimination. I was trying to argue that it made no more sense to pass laws to prohibit discrimination than it made to pass laws to enable it. I was in a heated discussion with Shai who saw no problem with laws like the Jim Crow laws and you came around giving him support even though it is now apparent you didn't understand what we were discussing. I apologize for my heated reaction.
     
  19. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    Then that's a social problem, and it seems that the laws were just an excuse. If the laws were in place today I doubt the same thing would happen. Actually, the Market alone CAN bring about social change. The market influences through propaganda. It just doesn't bring about social change all the time.

    You might have been having a heated discussion, but my emotions weren't raised very much at all. I agree that Caucasian American discrimination against Negro Americans was disgusting... Doesn't mean that there's any need to get heated over it. I'm not saying they were right to abuse negros, I'm saying that Businesses should be entitled to serve only those who they want to serve. I personally would not want to spend money in someones organisation or institution if they were going to be outright offensive toward me for whatever reason.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zs_rXxi0zhM
     
  20. OP
    Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    That was great.

    I just detest people using the government either way. Passing a law to allow discrimination makes no more sense to me than passing a law to prohibit it.

    The assumption that the market is on the side of the customer simply because they may be able to shop elsewhere is a fallacy in itself. When the situation requires convenience such as a person who is injured needing immediate medical attention, or the situation is that a customer can get what they need from only one available source, then the market is working against the customer, especially when the law enforces discrimination.
     
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