No, the free market will not protect civil rights (or 'why the Civil Rights Act is still needed)

Some asshole restaurant owner in Enid, OK has made it rather clear that many types of people are not welcome in his establishment.

At times, some idiots in politics and the media have suggested that the Civil Rights Act is no longer necessary, and that the free market would sink any racist establishments.

This is pretty clearly not the case – this particular restaurant has apparently thrived for years.

So why does this matter? Why not let this asshole run his property the way he sees fit? We don’t have to give him our business, of course.

It matters because without such protection, there would be nothing to stop the return of ‘sundown towns’-- communities (that really existed, and even in recent decades!) with unwritten agreements that people of color will not be served in restaurants, given rooms in hotels, etc. If the majority of a community supports this kind of policy, then black people driving through might have no place to eat, to stay, get gas, etc.

This one restaurant is not an earth-shattering deal. But it demonstrates that the free market is not enough to protect Civil Rights.

Wow. It’s not every day you see someone who wears his bigotry on his sleeves like that.

Is this really the only justification for the property-right eroding portions of the CRA nowadays? It seems laughably inadequate nearly to the point of satire. If there were big problems with black folks driving through a town or even several towns in say, Oklahoma, a racially enlightened entreprenuer could profit off of this unsatisfied demand for food, gas, and shelter. If there is only a small problem, well there’s only a small problem.

They could profit, really? By pissing off all of the local customers, then?

Keep in mind in some areas (like, say, a lot of the US) people are extremely bigoted. Chik Fil A was giving money to groups that outright supported the murder of homosexuals, but people flocked to the company’s defense. That alone proves that “the market will fix things” just does not work. We have conservatives to thank for proving their own ideas are bunk.

I’m sure arguments vary a bit, but my understanding of the primary free-market argument is that it’d ensure that there’d always be some establishments that’d take all customers regardless of race/religion/etc, not that every single establishment would. Certainly, some owners would place bigotry first, and in certain markets, they might be able to do decently even excluding some percentage of their potential market share.

That’s not exactly true - the enforcement mechanism for these sorts of “unwritten agreements” is often violence. Refuse to look the other way when some entrepreneur who’ll serve anyone with cash’s shop gets torched, and you could clamp down on sundown towns.

I can understand wanting to ban blacks, Mexicans, gays, Democrats (but he repeats himself) and the disabled…but freaks? Talk about anti-American!

Has any legislation come out about how to deal with interstate 40? I remember there being vast stretches of road where black people couldn’t find a place to eat, sleep, or refuel and this was only a few years ago. Come to think of it, whites were unable to find places for respite either. The government must do something about making people travel long stretches of road where mean old capitalists refuse to provide services.

I agree with WillFarnaby. Is there any evidence that entire towns exist, which would behave such a way if they legally could? If not, then I don’t see why we need a law that supposedly exists to prevent their return. If the article in the OP about the restaurant is accurate–a big if, given the type of website it comes from–then he’s an asshole, but the Declaration of Independence and Constitution do not say that there’s a right to never encounter assholes.

Consider this scenario: a group of Muslims enters a bakery and wants to order a cake, which is to be decorated with
( from the Koran and Hadiths advocating violence against women, or homosexuals, or something like that. Should the baker have the right to discriminate against these customers by not producing the cake that they want? Or do these customers have the right to force any such business to serve them?

The fact that there are large communities of people that openly support violence against others who do not share in their religious beliefs should be enough evidence for this, I think.

So your “reasoning” is that because there are places that are not restaurants that do not serve food to minorities, places that are restaurants should have the same rights? :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

That is why I said if it was a “big problem” implying that large numbers of black people couldn’t find services. An entreprenuer could easily profit from these potential customers.

No i’m saying the supposed problem of black people not being able to stop at a certain point for respite is not a problem in many areas of the country where they cannot do so. I don’t know how you shoe-horned rights into this.

Black people travel long stretches of road, whats the difference if they pass a bigot instead of a cactus?

Vidor, TX. It’s still 97+% non-Hispanic white (in SE Texas, no less!) due to unofficial town policies. It’s even on a major interstate highway.

I suppose one could make the case that this isn’t necessarily something the federal government needs to be involved in, but that’s a different argument than claiming it’s no longer a problem in America.

Absolutely, and if only a small number of people have problems, well, it’s their own damn fault for being in the wrong part of town, right?
I’m going to bring up this previous thread that had a lot of good points, and a lot of people who ran away when facts were brought up and important questions were asked. Not only is it a good read, I’m hoping the spectre of actual facts will ward the same people away from this thread again.

That’s pretty weak. For one thing, the ‘enforcement mechanism’ may not always be violence. It may be informal boycotts, for example – the ‘enlightened’ restauranteur doesn’t get enough business to survive, so he has to close… but the racist restauranteurs get plenty of local business. For another, if a significant majority of the community, or even just all of the business owners, want to discriminate, then they won’t even have to ‘enforce’ it.

This is a silly argument. There is no requirement to provide services where none exist nor does a lack of services discriminate against anybody. But when a public facility exists, it must serve everybody. If you open your restaurant to anyone, you open it to everyone. If that offends your sense of property rights, then your sense of property rights is offensive.

The fact that there were many such sundown towns in existence in recent decades (and the unfortunate example of Vidor, TX, today), strikes me as pretty solid evidence that such towns may still exist.

The CRA was passed with a backdrop of large scale violence against black people. If you said the reason to pass this private-property upending bill was so black people wouldn’t have to drive 3 more miles to get a hamburger, the bill wouldn’t have been passed. That is why when people say sundown towns are why we need the CRA, it is woefully inadequate.

The problem supposedly fixed by the CRA is black people were unable to find respite in certain towns. If it is a problem that they can’t find respite in a town, it is a problem they can’t find respite in the desert. In both cases the outcome is they must travel farther.

We need the CRA to prevent large scale violence (and other transgressions) against black people. These transgressions include things like sundown towns. Sundown towns are just one of the examples that are closest to where we might be today – it’s very clear that without the CRA, sundown towns would be likely to return.