Truthfully, I’ve never read the ’64 Civil Rights Act, which was certainly a monumental piece of legislation that principally took away the power of state governments to legally segregate their own public institutions. Rand Paul’s libertarian point (I’m assuming some familiarity with the story on the reader’s part, so I’m not going through the whole thing here) about the government also ordering private business owners what to do is a valid question, against which liberals bring the segregated lunch counter example. I’m not yet prepared to discuss it, because I have only just begun, much less finished, thinking about it.
Meanwhile, Billy has his position all staked out.
What made me laugh about his story at the top of the post is that it reminded me of a very similar episode, which I hadn’t thought about in years.
Way back I was in San Francisco for a few months and was out one evening on a walkabout with my Japanese friend Jun Abe. We decided that we needed some drinks and passed a bar that looked like it served them up at workingman’s prices, and without a second thought about where we were we breached the front door. It was an all-black bar, and from the immediate take a rough place, where an asian and a white man might not quite fit in. On the other hand, with all eyes turned toward us, we didn’t want to insult anyone by immediately leaving, so we stepped forward to the bar and had some drinks.
I’ve forgotten the details, but we were treated well enough, and the initial shock of seeing us come through the door faded from the patrons’ faces. They probably decided that we weren’t cops and that we just didn’t know where we were. I think we finished our drinks, maybe had some brief nods and hellos, and left.
My general impression was that that was exactly what was expected of us. I can honestly say that there have been many occasions when I’ve gotten marginally more hostile receptions in largely white bars. The swells could tell I was from the wrong side of the tracks, and dive bar patrons read me as a yuppie.
Anyway, people are people and down in the actual arena of life extending one’s welcome is an art that government forcing probably hurts more than it helps. I’ll think about Rand Paul’s interjection and maybe comment on it later.