Do you ever read or watch the news and get perturbed that the focus is so narrow they miss the broader, more significant message? That’s what happened to me yesterday. The article I was reading focused on the story’s douchebag. I’ve been guilty of concentrating on the douchebag myself, but while doing that we can’t skip over the more relevant points.
Let me pause for a moment to say this story is extremely offensive. I’m not talking offensive in my usual flippant, shoulder shrugging, “eh, someone might be a little offended” way. This story will piss you off.
Enid, Oklahoma is a town of about 50,000 people. There’s a restaurant there called Gary’s Chicaros, owned by Gary James. James is the biggest piece of shit I’ve read about for a long time. I have to give some information on him for reference.
Douchebag and Discrimination:
During the time James has owned his restaurant, he’s never had a problem kicking someone out. He’s never had a problem turning people away at the door either. Baggy jeans, visible tattoos, men with long hair, homosexuals, African-Americans, disabled people, people on government assistance, or people who just rub him the wrong way have either been kicked out or refused entry.
It’s his business and he does what he pleases, even making comments like this:
“I’ve been in business 44 years, I think I can spot a freak or a f*ggot. If you’re on welfare, stay at home and spend my money there. I don’t deal with these people walking down the street with no jobs on welfare.”
“I have one rule that does away with 95 percent of the trash,” James said. “If they are rude enough to wear a hat inside a building, I don’t want them here. Most of those little faggots have their hats on backwards.”
The restaurant’s official t-shirt makes it clear that a “f*ggot” isn’t welcome in James’s establishment. It features that word, the N-word, and threatens violence against Muslims, Democrats, and members of many minority groups.
Everyone walking into that business can see the hatred proudly paraded around, yet they continue to hand this fucker their money. It seems the only people he doesn’t have a problem with are straight, republican, white, Christian men. Gary James is a repulsive bigot who’s happy to brag about his discrimination.
The Bigger Story:
This isn’t the first time people have brought much of James’s views into the spotlight. Four years ago, many of these claims were reported. The people of Enid didn’t care enough to stop going to Gary’s Chicaros so the doors would have to close. To a certain degree, this must be accepted there.
Before I get the hate mail, I’m sure everyone didn’t know about it. A few people may not have read the news stories, may not have seen the news reports, may not have heard their neighbors gossiping about the discrimination, or may not have seen James strutting around the restaurant in his distasteful shirt. I have no doubts many people knew about it but just didn’t care.
Long time regular Matt Gard says Gary James discriminates against blacks, Hispanics, and the disabled. He’s turned a blind eye to it for a long time, until James told Gard not to come in for dinner with his wheelchair.
The problem is many people don’t have a problem with discrimination until it’s directed at them.
Gard is outraged. When he is the one who is ostracized he suddenly feels we need to look back on 40 years of intolerance. Everyone should hear about it, and it must be stopped. It wasn’t important when James threw out previous patrons in Gard’s presence. It wasn’t important until Gard was the one who wasn’t allowed to enter.
Gard said, “The people who still go back and patronize his business are condoning his behavior in how he treats others.”
Truer words have never been spoken. But excuse me if I don’t have sympathy for Mr. Gard. How long did Mr. Gard patronize James’s establishment? Years. How many people got kicked out, for whatever reason, and Gard sat there not saying a word? Then Mr. Gard came back to Chicaros to see it all play out again.
Matt Gard is portrayed as the victim here, and he is. Before he was the victim, he was part of the problem. Gard silently sat there for years while other people were the object of the discrimination, and he kept condoning James’s behavior with his repeat patronage.
How can the people of Enid continue to fill this arrogant bigots pockets? Why would Mr. Gard and the people of Enid condone his unacceptable behavior for the past 44 years?
I understand most people reading this have probably never even heard of Enid, Oklahoma, let alone Gary’s Chicaros. I can’t help but wonder how many of us do this very same thing that Matt Gard did?
We may not condone discrimination, but do we frequent establishments whose owners very vocally do?
Do we look the other way when it’s happening around us?
Do we walk away so we don’t see the ugliness that hangs around some people like a noxious cloud?
As Edmond Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
Do we have big enough balls to stand up against bullies like James? I’m not saying people should confront James in his business, but they could use their voice to write a letter to the newspaper, tell their friends and family, or report the behavior to the Attorney Generals Office. They can make the choice to show James their disapproval by giving their dollars to the restaurant down the street or across town. They can make James suffer in the pocketbook, instead of enabling him to continue his ignorant hatefulness.
Note: I don’t want it to seem as if I’m attacking Mr. Gard personally. I’ve done some research and he seems like a hell of a nice guy. I can be a hell of a nice person, too.
My point is simply that nice people can’t just look the other way while douchebags like James are continue their discrimination.
In the words of Desmond Tutu, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
This is not just happening in Enid, Oklahoma. Similar situations occur across the country. How we respond to those situations is the true reflection of our character.