I was raised in the South, Texas to be exact, so racism; bigotry; sexism; ignorance; homophobia – none of these things really shock me. I always assume that most people I meet in the South are conservatives, and if they turn out not to be, it’s a pleasant surprise.
That being said, the story I ran across about an Oklahoma restaurant owner (who’s been in business 44 years, mind you) and his total and complete ignorance, did shock me.
Not by what he said or how he feels. Again, I’m from the South and unfortunately it’s fairly common. But for the simple fact he doesn’t hide his racism; bigotry; sexism; homophobia; xenophobia and just overall hatred of anyone who isn’t a straight, white Christian male with job.
Oh, I forgot to mention – he apparently hates anyone on welfare, and the disabled as well.
Before continuing, here’s the transcript from KFOR in Oklahoma City detailing the vile nature of this man. They also talked to a gentleman who’s confined to a wheelchair who claims he was banned from the restaurant because he’s disabled:
Gary James, owner of Gary’s Chicaros, said, “I’ve been in business 44 years, I think I can spot a freak or a faggot.”
He added, “I don’t deal with these people walking down the street with no jobs on welfare.”
James said, “If I reached over there and slapped the sh** out of you, you should be offended. But to call someone a ‘chink’ or someone call me a bigot, that doesn’t bother me.”
Now, a wave of comments on Facebook claim James refuses to serve African-Americans, Hispanics and people with disabilities, like Matt Gard.
Gard said, “He doesn’t like certain people of race, color, ethnicity.”
Gard was a regular at Gary’s Chicaros restaurant for years.
He said he turned a blind eye to the owner’s choice of customers, until recently.
Gard said, “Now, he tried to find a weak excuse not to let me in with my wheelchair or the weak excuse of having loud people with me.”
After getting turned away for a steak dinner, Gard said it’s about his disability.
James claimed that’s just not the case.
James said “He created an issue. You only have one time here. You create an issue, you’re out forever.”
Gard and at least 140 others posted on a Facebook page that said James’ attitude has crossed the line to discrimination.
Even the business’ t-shirt is viewed as offensive.
The shirt features derogatory slogans against homosexuals, it has the N-word on the front and threatens violence against Muslims, minorities and democrats.
James said he is proud to wear that shirt.
He said, “I really don’t want gays around. Any man that would compromise his own body would compromise anything.”
Gard said, “The people who still go back and patronize his business are condoning his behavior in how he treats others.”
James said, “Well if you work, you own a business, pay your taxes, you’re more than welcome here. If you’re on welfare, stay at home and spend my money, there.”
Disgusted doesn’t even begin to convey my feelings toward Mr. James. In all honesty the transcript doesn’t even do it justice. Here, take a look at the video of the segment:
The first thing I thought to myself after hearing about this was, “How in the world has this guy been in business for 44 years and this is the first time this has been made a story?” Then his arrogant and almost boastful demeanor throughout the interview was reprehensible. I get that it’s Oklahoma, not exactly the most accepting state in this country, but this guy is extreme even when it comes to “typical” Southern conservative ignorance.
I see a lot of racism, and it’s obvious it still exists on many levels, but you don’t see people almost boastful about it like you do with this bottom feeder.
It’s clear he has absolutely no reservations or remorse about the absolute hatred he feels toward the vast majority of the people on this planet.
And it’s like Mr. Gard (the gentleman who claims he was banned for his wheelchair) said, it’s bad enough that he’s a business owner, but those who give him business are supporting this vile and inexcusable behavior.
Though it’s clear Mr. James is an extreme case of absolute ignorance, I meet more people in the South who are closer to agreeing with him than myself. A fact that shows me while some conservatives have evolved from the 1950’s-style hate and stupidity shown by the likes of Gary James, many conservatives are still a lot closer to being like him (anti-Muslim, anti-welfare, anti-women, anti-gay, anti-minority, anti-immigrants) than they are me.
It’s clear that if the South ever wants to rise again, we need more people unafraid to stand up against bigotry and push forward in the face of ignorance. Even if people like Mr. James cannot be changed, there are millions of others among the younger generation who can still see the light.