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Prejudice And Intolerance As A Business Practice

Mason, Texas is a little cowpoke of a town with an official population of about two thousand that sits a little more than a hundred ten miles northwest of San Antonio, Texas and a hundred ten miles west of the state capital of Austin.  Its biggest industry is something like Hank’s Fish and Bait at the corner of Texas Route 1-2-3 and FM A-B-C.  There is little doubt that with very little exception, the population is very right wing conservative and Christian.  It is rural Texas after all.  This is the state that saw it fitting to hand over the keys to the Governor’s mansion to somebody like Rick Perry who goes around bragging how he jogs with a pistol so he can shoot coyotes.

Crockett Keller is a local gun dealer.  For sure he’s one of many since this is central Texas after all.  So to drum up business for his classes to help people obtain a concealed handgun license, Mr. Keller bought a radio spot.  In it, Mr. Keller said that socialist liberals, people who voted for Barack Obama the campaigner in chief, Arabs, and Muslims need not apply for his services.  In Mr. Keller’s opinion, these people have already proven that they cannot make a knowledgeable and prudent decision as required by law.

Mr. Keller’s radio ad worked like a charm.  In fact, it got him so much attention that after just five days of running, the Texas Department of Public Safety, which oversees the concealed firearm license program and the certification of instructors, took notice.  It seems that the department has some regulation that certified instructors are required to comply with all applicable state and federal statutes.  And conduct by an instructor that denied service to individuals on the basis of race, ethnicity, or religion would place that instructor’s certification at risk.  It seems Mr. Keller may have demonstrated proof that he is incapable of a knowledgeable and prudent decision as required by law.  The department has initiated an investigation.

In an interview explaining his position, Mr. Keller said he was simply exercising his constitutionally protected freedom to teach concealed handguns license classes to whomever he wants and not to teach whomever he doesn’t want.  He claims he’s received hundreds of calls from Americans who share his view and support his stance.  It seems that Mr. Keller thinks that breaking the law is perfectly acceptable as long as you can say that you enough of people to support your position.

Mr. Keller feels his rights are being trampled.  But would it not be true to say that his rights are only being trampled because he made his willingness to discriminate against others and trample their rights a part of his business’ public identity?  It’s not like his Mason, Texas business was in danger of having its doors worn down from all the socialists and Obama supporters trying to purchase his services.  For sure, Mr. Keller volunteered his intolerance for people who may feel differently than he does.  And as a man who enjoys his business only at the consent of the state.  And it is a matter of fact that the state operates at the consent of the people, all people, and not just the ones that happen to share a similar point of view.

Mr. Keller also said that he’d shut his business down before he would teach anyone he said he wouldn’t.  It’s a matter of principle after all.  And if the state’s investigation into Mr. Keller consists of even average competence there’s no doubt he’ll get his wish to be out of business.  Just like Mr. Keller has his principles, the Department of Public Safety has its principles as well.

Mr. Keller has the freedom to be as prejudiced as they come.  No one will take him to jail for being a prick if he wants to be a prick.  But Mr. Keller does not have the right to openly operate his publicly recognized business based on his prejudices.  That’s not how it works here in America where we pride ourselves on the type of freedoms that coincide with life, liberty, and justice for all.

Prejudice is part of the human condition.  Despite some people’s insistence that they don’t have a prejudiced bone in their body, likes and dislike, attractions and revulsions, beliefs both good and bad, are part of our individual personalities.  Some of us suffer from these foibles more so than others.  But when it comes to a social network where everyone has some kind of part to play, we need to learn a little tolerance so that we can learn better how to get along with others.

Some of us are even willing to tolerate the man that parades his prejudice prominently on his sleeve and even broadcast it over the radio as if intolerance was some kind of virtue.  People who think like Mr. Keller would recognize his prejudice as something wonderful that deserves reward.  But in order for the social fabric to remain intact, the greater majority needs to take the necessary steps to stop such backward antisocial thinking and let people know that prejudice as a business practice is not acceptable.  If you don’t want to serve the people then you shouldn’t be in a business intended to serve people.

Sunday, October 30, 2011 - Posted by | Life, Racism, Thoughts |

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