According to recent news reports, a Mississippi landlord evicted an interracial couple from his RV park, claiming their marriage went against the beliefs of his church and community.
Oh, well, I can hear you thinking, what do you expect? It’s Christians. In Mississippi.
Wouldn’t that be a nice stereotype to cling to?
Which is why I am now going to share with you a similar story about a Jewish Day School. In New York City.
My husband and I are an interracial couple. I am Jewish, born in the former Soviet Union. He is African-American, Harlem born and bred. Our children, as I’ve written before, are being raised both Jewish and Black. Though our sons didn’t attend Jewish Day School, I decided that I did want that for our daughter. Of course, this being New York City, where getting into kindergarten is an 18-month-long affair, admission to any school (even your local, zoned public one) isn’t a given. As a result, my husband and I toured many schools, including a half-dozen Jewish ones.
At one such school, which, for the record, we really liked from an academic standpoint, the admissions representative took one look at us and, without knowing a single thing about us beyond what she could see in front of her, politely explained, “It’s not that you wouldn’t be a good fit for us, it’s that our school wouldn’t be a good fit for you.”
My husband wanted us to apply anyway. Just out of spite. My mother agreed with him, telling me, “Make them reject you.”
Me? I was happy that the school had saved me the time and aggravation of filling out yet another endless form, not to mention the application fee.
I was happy to know how they felt upfront. It’s preferable to—if we had gotten in for some reason; though I doubt it, we’re not rich enough—finding out about their attitude after we send our daughter there.
Which is why, when it comes to any organization that wants my money, I have a simple request: Please discriminate against me.
Let me make it clear: I don’t mean the government. The government has no right to discriminate (even if they do regularly take my money. And squander it).
But a private enterprise? Please put that swastika, that Ku Klux Klan banner, that political placard in your window. Ask my family to leave, refuse to rent to us, to serve us, to ring up our purchases.
I appreciate the opportunity to know who I’m dealing with, and to take my business elsewhere. (Kind of like what I’ve said about anti-Semitic college campuses). I genuinely do not understand the movement that wants to force people who hate you to take your money.
I prefer all businesses be upfront about their prejudices. That way, consumers can decide for themselves whether or not these are people they want to be associated with. They can also tell their friends, protest, boycott, write nasty things on the internet… (We still have freedom of speech and assembly, right? Right?)
For those who argue that, if private businesses are allowed to discriminate, there will soon be no places left that serve Blacks/Jews/Asians/LGBTQ/Muslims/Hispanics/Catholics/Women, pick your hysteria… I can’t imagine that. Surely, some business will spot the underserved market and proceed to cater to it. It’s the American way! Opportunism leads to equality! (Kind of the way another Jewish school was thrilled to have us, and even offered us generous financial aid to attend.)
Just like I’m not a fan of being told what I should think, I am loathe to dictate the values and morality of others.
When it comes to the government, my money is often used to subsidize actions and stances I don’t agree with. At least with private businesses (discounting those that are subsidized by the government, but that’s another rant for another time), I have some say in the matter—as long as they’re clear in telling me where they stand.
So Mississippi landlords—and Jewish Day Schools—bring it.