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January 7, 2009 at 6:32 am #139301shamus flamebladeParticipant
tonight on ABC? there was a program that airs every once in a while called, “what would you do?” It’s a show that places hidden cameras and then stages “social dillemmas” such as 2 kids fighting, date rape and similar scenarios and then judges how and if passerbys do the right thing and try and help out.I like watching this show because it gives me a chance to see if my values are in the right place. Now to the crux ofthe reason for the post: tonight I failed :'( (maybe) Let me lay out the scenario for you: 2 migrant workers who speak absolutely no english walk into a street diner and try and order coffee and sandwiches. They have money but the counter person refuses to serve them since they can’t speak English. Now my dillema was it wrong, racist and bigotted, for him to refuse service based soley on his dislike of in his words, “illegal immigrants”? my answer is a resounding yes, however doesn’t he have the right to refuse service to anyone as a small business owner? One of the chief complaints was that the migrant workers as “children of god”, as one lady put it had a “right” to food and that he was denying them this. My answer is no he wasn’t he was denying then service at one particular provider of food. Now if he was the only food for x number of miles I would agree with her point, but you can clearly see 2 or three other cafes out the window. I guess it comes down to respect for me. When I travel to other countries I do my damndest to learn enough of the language to get by, sometimes I fail but I at least make an attempt and to me these 2were not even trying to learn the language of their adopted country. Now would I have refused to eat at that establishment ever again absolutely, would I tell everyone I know not to eat there yes. In my mind his actions were wrong towards another human being but theirs weren’t completely correct either. We as a country(USA) are so wrapped up in PC actions that I don’t know if my response is right or wrong. What about his rights to refuse service to anyone? I may disagree with why he refused service but I see it as a his right. Does this make me a bigot? Or a racist?
Did anyone else see this? PLEASE HELP I AM SO CONFUSED RIGHT NOW. WHAT IS THE RIGHT COURSE OF ACTION? WWAJD(WHAT WOULD A JEDI DO)? I am paralyized by my in ability to see what evidently should be a clear cut answer. In my mind their both right and their both wrong.
p.s. sorry about the spellingJanuary 7, 2009 at 11:32 am #150054shamus flamebladeParticipant
ok 4 am and I still havn’t been able too sleep. however after much deep breathing and a few sets of meditation I am much calmer now and am able to put my points more succinctly. For me the base issue comes down to a subject that has never been satisfactorly concluded. that issue is private ownership rights vs. civil rights. Regardless of the legality of the situation(I am not a lawyer : ) even if I don’t agree with the actions of the owner I believe that he has a right to refuse service to anyone regardless of whatever his particular discrimination is. I replaced in my head the 2 day laborers with 2 chinese gentleman that spoke onlt Mandarin to see if it changed my mindset. My conclusion once I took the hotbed issue of illegal aliens out of the mix was that if his problem was a lack of english skills then as much of an ass as I thought he was as an owner it was his right to refuse service. Then I started replacing the chinese with various others until I got to me being the one that was refused service because I have blue eyes. My conclusion was that even as ridiculous as it was it was still in his rights. This is what caused my earlier mental schism. I was forced into the position of thinking: I disagree with your actions but I respect your right to make them. Not a very comfortable place to be since that particular slice of humanity was at least in my opinion vile. Which then got me to thinking more about the subject. His actions and his words were based in hatred and fear. While we as jedi try to learn to not let our emotions rule us we can’t truly expect the rest of the world to follow that example. Are not his fear and anger valid emotions that he is entitled to? Where is it my place to judge? It may have been an ugly scene but while I personally disagree with his actions and statments they are still his. which then brought me back to the 2 day laborers. The attitude of the piece as well as the participants was that they had a “right” to equal service free from discrimintion. I do not disagree that all human beings should be treated with a fundamental respect. However as a member of a society rights are balanced with responsibilities. If you are going to move to another country then if you expect equal rights then you need to share equal responsibility. One of these responsablities is learning the language of your adopted country. The sad truth is that untill you do you are not picking up your share of the responsabilities enitling you to a lesser share of rights making you a second class citizen. Ithink that if the 2 laborers had been making an attempt even in broken English things would of been different in my mind. I am sure there are other issues in this piece that will give me lots to think on and grow from. I am interested in others opinions but now I am going to try and sleep.
ShamusJanuary 8, 2009 at 1:35 am #150067JaxKeymaster
Shamus, first let me say that I’m proud of you for taking the time to try to understand your reactions and see it differently. It’s not easy or fun, but it will make a difference every time you do it.
That being said, let me try to push you a bit. First, what is wrong with a person not speaking when they order food? Have you ever waited on a deaf person? Unless they have an interpretor they rarely speak and also can’t hear you. Should they be refused service because they can’t speak the language?
Have you tried to learn to speak another language? This is difficult for anyone, but moreso for adults. I’ve been taking russian for months and couldn’t order food. Should I be turned away from a restaurant in Russia because I can’t speak?
If a person isn’t causing a disruption and are simply trying to order and eat, the restaurant has no reason to refuse service. To do so is discrimination. Even if you know the person has been in the country for a year, that doesn’t mean they’ve had time to learn to speak. Many immigrants work more than 8 hours a day. They are supporting families. Many share houses with people where they simply rent a bed for a few hours a day. During the rest of the day somoene else is renting their bed. They don’t really have the resources to easily study a language. anyone who’s worked an 8, 10, or 12 hour day of physical labor will tell you the last thing they have the energy for is studying at the end of a day. To judge a person for not knowing a language is arrogant. We should not assume we know what a person’s life is like, what they are able to learn, or why they don’t speak a language. And there is zero reason to refuse service just because of a language barrier.January 8, 2009 at 2:13 am #150068NitsudParticipant
Not seeing the episode ourselves, there are a number of factors that could contribute to the business owners reaction. How busy was the restaurant at the time? Could the immigrants read the menu? Why did the immigrants choose that restaurant in the first place?
If a restaurant is known for fast service, waiters aren’t going to stand around for ten minutes to take an order. At a restaurant you pay for service as well as food. If you want to pay for food go to a grocery store.
Then again if the waiter isn’t willing to let them point at the menu then the waiter is being completely unreasonable. True, it’s their right as a business to refuse who they wish. It’s also my right as a customer to not come back after witnessing poor service.January 8, 2009 at 2:31 am #150069JaxKeymaster
It doesn’t matter, even in fast food you take the time for the customer to order. Plenty of people take their time ordering in fast food and elsewhere and they are not removed from the restaurant. Waiters may want to move faster but they will always wait for a customer, even when they are being rude to the waiter because that is their job. It doesn’t matter how busy the restaurant was or whether they could read the menu. It doesn’t matter why they chose the restaurant. They have the right to be served just like anyone else.
What I find interesting is that we only recently went through the civil rights movement where blacks staged sit ins to gain the right to be served in segregated areas. People were beaten for simply wanting to eat like anyone else.
How many of you have ever eaten somewhere when it was clear either some of the customers didn’t want you there, or the staff? To be judged just for who they think you are, when you aren’t doing anything wrong…there’s nothing right about that. So we are sure to leave a larger tip than normal. But you can bet if we were ever refused service I would be contacting everyone I can think of to pass the word. If someone wants to be a bigot, that’s fine, but they will be seen as the bigot they are and face the consequences. However I have that ability more easily than someone who doesn’t speak the language and thus can’t easily communicate to the majority.
As Jedi we need to see situations from multiple perspectives. You are both doing that, and that’s good. Seriously, I don’t want you to see my disagreements as putting down your process. But I do want to caution that as we view other perspectives we don’t want to excuse behavior. We can look for reasons, but that never excuses the actions. We do our best to avoid judgement, which is always a struggle.
There’s a quote I love from Buffy the Vampire Slayer where Buffy says “If I were any more open minded my brain would fall out!” Don’t let your brains fall out. Use this as a chance to look at your own prejudices and what you’re initial thoughts were about the situation. See what you can learn. It’s what I do and while I do’t like the answers sometimes, it’s important to shed light on it.January 8, 2009 at 3:26 am #150070NitsudParticipant
There are Starbucks and other coffee shop where a waiter person will call “NEXT” if a customer is dilly dallying too long. I’ve also been to fast food joints where a customer is asked to step aside if they’re standing there staring at the menu. Luckily the only time I’ve witnessed customers being asked to leave is when kids are being disruptive or have been loitering in a booth for 6 hours.
I’ll agree with you that any person SHOULD have the right to be served as long as service is the customers wish. I disagree that it IS a right since I have seen otherwise on signs as well as in actions.
This reminds me of The Blues Brothers when Jake and Elwood visit the restaurant to get their guitarist back. “There are a couple of jokers who want four whole chickens.” “Jake!” “And some dry white toast.” “Elwood!”January 8, 2009 at 3:33 am #150071JaxKeymaster
There’s a difference between being asked to step aside so someone else can order and being removed from a place and not allowed to order. One is being courteous to the others waiting in line, the other is discrimination.
Every being has the right to be treated with respect and dignity. Being removed from a restaurant when the person was not causing trouble is not being treated with respect and dignity.
The way I view rights is simple. You have the right to do what you want so long as it isn’t infringing upon another’s right to live their life. Not speaking english and trying to order food is not infringing on someone else’s life – refusing them service is. Thus, the restriction was ‘wrong’. Are they allowed to do it? Sure, but they will face the consequences of their actions. Those that continue to discriminate and judge will find themselves further and further outside of society and falling behind as the world changes towards greater unity. But it is their life to lead. The people involved Im’ sure learned something from the experience, and since it was on tv (and brought up here) we all got a chance to learn a little about ourselves as well.January 8, 2009 at 4:44 am #150072Droi-jingParticipant
I just watched the show, here’s my opinion: That guy behind the counter was very rude, and didn’t have very good reason to refuse service, but still, they have the right to refuse service. I think that the guy behind the counter was too stubborn to listen to anything any of those people who were sticking up for the spanish speakers were saying. So I think it would have been a good idea to just move on to another cafe.January 8, 2009 at 4:49 am #150073JaxKeymaster
True, many times it’s better to just go where you are wanted and reward good behavior than to force someone into something. But often you don’t know that you’re walking into a situation until it’s too late. Plus, I’m not about to leave if I wanted to eat somewhere, because I’m not going to give them the satisfaction. Nor will they see that gay people or mexicans, or basically anyone different from them aren’t scary if they aren’t exposed to them. The challenge for the person on the other end of discrimination is to not succumb to anger but to maintain a spirit of compassion and love.January 8, 2009 at 6:22 am #150074NitsudParticipant
Here ABC has posted the link to the video. The manager, I can only assume it was the manager, was completely disrespectful… treating these supposed ‘illegals’ as something sub-human. Many of the customers wouldn’t even look at them. Just stare at the counter agreeing with the boisterous manager.
I think it’s sad that what many people don’t see is that immigrants, illegal or not, are just like anybody else. Seeing things from their perspective… what would it take for me to leave a land/country that I know and can be understood for a foreign land where I’d be under the heel of society, I don’t speak the language… yet I STILL have a pretty good chance at a better life for my family and myself? Can anyone truly judge them or blame them for doing what they feel they need to in order to survive?
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