Our Country Is Insane

I am by nature an optimist, but it is hard to maintain a positive attitude in the face of the rampant insanity that has seized control over our national life. When I get time, I am going to write about the ritual defenestration of Papa John’s pizza company, one of the more shocking news stories of recent months, in my opinion. For now, here is a more manageable, and perhaps even more depressing story about a bakery in Portland, Oregon:

Two employees of a bakery in Northeast Portland were fired earlier this month for denying a black woman service because the business had closed.

Just let that sink in for a moment. It gets worse.

“Back To Eden Bakery” released several public apologies and statements following the incident, before letting the employees go. In one Facebook post, the bakery’s co-owner wrote, “We are doing business in a gentrified neighborhood in a racist city within a racist state of a racist country.”

So part of the problem is that whoever owns the bakery is a nut. But what happened is utterly indefensible:

In one statement, “Back To Eden Bakery” says that according to its own surveillance video, a black woman named “Lillian”, who is well known in the area as a “professional equity activist”, entered at 9:06 p.m., after the bakery’s closing time. Employees had also turned off the “Open” sign, but several customers (all white) who had already ordered were still inside. Two other white women who went to the bakery two minutes before “Lillian”, were also informed that the business was closed for the night.

The bakery says “Lillian” left the store briefly and began recording video.

The bakery’s statement says that even though it does not consider the employees to be racist and that they were following the business’s protocol of closing at 9 p.m., they were fired because “sometimes impact outweighs intent.”

Well, all right then! Apparently all businesses in America must have flexible closing times, depending on the skin color of the person who tries to enter business hours.

This whole incident was a classic setup.

Green started live streaming on Facebook from outside the bakery. … “I’m going to put this on Facebook and I’m going to blast their ass,” Green says. “They can live that life but they’re about to get all blasted on Facebook.” Later, from home, Green made another video. “I want to tell you about a disturbing, heart wrenching experience I had,” she says.

The disturbing, heart-wrenching experience was that she showed up at a bakery after it had closed for the evening. Call me old-fashioned, but I think the more disturbing, heart-wrenching experience fell to the two young women who were fired for no reason. The bakery’s owner wrote on Facebook:

In this situation it doesn’t really matter that the two staff members working are not themselves racist because the call they made to deny Lillian service caused her to feel like she had been discriminated against. Sometimes impact outweighs intent and when that happens people do need to be held accountable. Since both Lillian and the clamoring public were demanding that these staff members be fired that it is what we did putting these two young women out of work.

So a “clamoring public” demanded that these innocent young women be fired, and the owner of the business happily obliged. Utterly sickening. Sure, you can say it happened in Portland. (“It’s Chinatown, Jake.”) But this kind of insanity has taken root all across the country. We are in a fight for our lives.

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