The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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8:20am on Monday, 22nd January, 2007:
I was in a virtual world last night, and one of the other players came back early from lunch (it was on an American server). He and his girlfriend had gone to a restaurant for a meal, but had been told their table was needed for a larger group so they'd had to leave without being served. This seemed a little strange to me, but hey, different countries have different ways of doing things.
Then, one of the other players asked, "Are you black?". I thought this was a bizarre question, but it turned out I was wrong. The reply was, "No, but my girlfriend is".
The story unfolded. He and his girlfriend had been to the restaurant before, but never together. When they went together, that's when they encountered the problem. The management had not wanted a mixed-race couple in their restaurant, so moved them on.
Jaw-droppingly, denying people service on the grounds of race is apparently not illegal in the USA. You can, it seems, deny people service on any grounds you want. That's ... incredible. If it were a subsidised restaurant such as a soup kitchen, OK, I could live with that; if there were security reasons, yes, that would also be acceptable (it's reasonable that I can't demand entry to a factory's canteen if I don't work there ). For a public restaurant, though, the entire business of which is all about feeding people, no way should this kind of discrimination be allowed. So long as they can meet the cost of a meal, what does it matter? You eject people for what they do, not for what they are.
Meanwhile, here in the UK there's concern over equality minutae such as whether Catholic adoption agencies should be allowed not to consider gay couples as potential parents. I don't know why: if we allow prejudicial organisations to turn people away because they're not Catholic, and being a gay parent is incompatible with Catholicism, then surely they can turn away gay applicants not because they're gay but because they're not Catholic?
Ideally, we shouldn't allow Catholic-only adoption agencies any more than we allow Catholic-only restaurants, of course.
Referenced by Discrimination in America.
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