Discrimination: The All-Purpose Accusation

Today I got three letters with a subject line and/or opening sentence accusing me of discrimination.  Here are the three complaints:

  1. A camper did not get the $8 senior discount to which he was entitled, in large part because my new employee did not recognize his very old-style government recreation access card (I processed a refund immediately).
  2. A 20-year-old accused me of age discrimination when we told her she was too young to work in a store, despite the fact our manager explained patiently several times that we are prevented by law from hiring minors to sell alcoholic beverages
  3. A camper accused me of discrimination because we would not let him occupy a site clearly marked as having been reserved by another camper (who had not yet arrived).  This obviously is odd -- I am discriminating against people without reservations for reserved sites?

None of these folks appear to be a part of a legally protected group, nor did they site any treatment they received that was different from similarly situated people at the same location.  They just didn't like a particular policy and wanted to complain, but have been taught by society that the best way to get attention is to claim DISCRIMINATION -- sort of like a witchcraft accusation in the 17th century.

All of this is to answer the question of why someone like myself who has vocally supported gays and gay marriage for decades would oppose legislation naming homosexuals as another government-protected class.  I have defended openly gay employees of mine against ignorant accusations that their homosexuality somehow posed dangers to the kids camping at the park they helped to maintain.   But discrimination law makes me crazy.   Think of it this way -- bad things happen to everyone from time to time.  I am a white male, but despite this status I have gotten turned down for jobs, have been laid off from jobs, and frequently have received bad, even rude customer service.  Everybody does.     Discrimination law often takes these typical day-to-day indignities we all face and converts them, literally, into a Federal case.


  1. Mary B:

    My feelings...bite me. I'm so tired of whiners, regardless of age.

  2. Harry:

    Coyote is a wily, funny Coyote. These could be plots for Our Gang, or Laurel & Hardy. Coyote of course does not explain how he exacted revenge, maybe involving a scorpion or a rattlesnake.

  3. gattsuru:

    Part of the issue may be Californian visitors. While most states have language which define discrimination to specific fields, California's Unruh Act was both very expansive for its time, and had also historically be read to very open-ended means by the local courts. Even before sexual orientation was protected as a matter of statute, for example, the courts considered sexual orientation discrimination to be illegal anyway. People there have been taught to claim discrimination not merely for the attention, but because it is an exceptionally effective technique.

    Which should terrify you, but far too few on the progressive camp are willing to think it through.

  4. William T Quick:

    My take: You can't do this because you're an a-hole, fine and dandy. You can't do this because you're black, gay, or Christian, verboten.

  5. Samsam von Virginia:

    To discriminate means to make a distinction between the qualities of two things, often a subtle distinction. A discriminating wine drinker can distinguish the excellent from the very good.

    To discriminate is not evil, and generally not illegal. To discriminate is to exercise discretion, often needed to make responsible choices.

    Don't let them destroy the language.

    Samsam von Virginia

  6. bigmaq1980:

    Victim-hood mentality - It permeates our culture. It is practiced and divisively encouraged by our "leaders" in their pursuit of some level of political power.

  7. Brian Martinez:

    Re: #2, I don't know what state this was in, but a 20-year-old isn't a "minor", legally speaking. Usually the rule is that 18-20 year olds can sell and serve alcohol, but under 18s cannot.