Last weekend, Fox News analyst Gianno Caldwell was trying to enjoy breakfast with friends in Miami when he made the unforgivable error of discussing his political beliefs.
That caught the attention of one of the cafe’s owners, who informed the conservative commentator that his politics weren’t palatable in the restaurant and told the group that “the language they were using was unwelcome in our space.”
Caldwell, who is Black, took to social media to vent about the incident, and he talked about it on “Fox & Friends Weekend” the next day.
“No matter your politics you should not be discriminated against,” he said on Twitter. “I was discriminated against for being a conservative and told to leave a restaurant in North Miami because my politics didn’t ‘align’ with the owner. This is NOT okay.”
On the Fox News segment, Caldwell said the incident was a “grave injustice” and reminiscent of the Jim Crow South.
“There’s a target on the backs of people who happen to be Black, who happen to be conservative,” he said.
If this isn’t discrimination, then what is?
Unfortunately, what happened to Caldwell isn’t an isolated incident. Last month, a restaurant in Richmond, Virginia, canceled a reservation with the Family Foundation about an hour before its scheduled dessert reception because employees had looked up the nonprofit and didn’t feel comfortable serving them because of their biblical beliefs on marriage and abortion.
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The employees opted to preemptively ban the group from the restaurant.
Similarly, during Donald Trump’s presidency, members of his administration – often women – faced public shunning simply for their association with the president.
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All this is happening against a backdrop of progressives pushing for tolerance and measures to ban discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
The fight isn’t isolated to businesses. For example, there is increasing pressure on K-12 schools and libraries to invite drag queens to do shows or readings. If parents, school board members or outside observers show any uneasiness, they are slapped with labels of hate and intolerance simply for questioning whether such performances are appropriate for children.
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Too often, viewpoint diversity is overlooked, and some elements of our society have deemed politically correct ideology as the only acceptable worldview.
Restaurant owners have a right to ask customers to leave if they are truly causing a scene or making other patrons feel threatened. This should be reserved for genuinely bad behavior, however.
Simply expressing conservative views among friends shouldn’t be grounds for such blatant discrimination.
Ingrid Jacques is a columnist at USA TODAY. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @Ingrid_Jacques
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