With a hint of both sadness and amusement, I have been reading the back-and-forth debates about the "issue" at Southside Social. There are many valid arguments on both sides, but let's cut through the fluff and get to the heart of the matter.
I'm a 52-year-old conservative white guy from Ringgold and I grew up during a time when PC culture was not a thing. Prejudice was a way of life and it wasn't veiled in the manner that it is today. I say that to say that while Mr. Wise has a right as a private business owner to allow who he sees fit, he's not really fooling me or the vast majority of folks with a brain. A lot of whites get uncomfortable when more than a few minorities congregate. That's just how this area has always been.
So while legal, Mr. Wise is just catering to the mindset of patrons who are going to spend the most money in his establishment. We can use terms like "thugs" (the new PC term for the N-word), gangs, or whatever, but we all know what he's trying to do. As a man, I would respect Mr. Wise more if he just came right out and said it instead of dancing around it like a left-footed guy at his first dance.
My question is what he's going to do when Chattanooga FC and UTC fans from across the street come to his business decked out in "gang colors", jerseys, hoodies, etc? What if the thugs you want to keep out decide to wear dress clothes? Exactly. You want security, hire competent security/off-duty police, treat everyone fairly, and keep your eyes and ears open. And I would advise those offended to not spend money there. You would look foolish supporting an establishment that doesn't respect you as a human being.
Now here's where the hypocrisy comes in. As much outrage as there has been over Southside Social, this story (Signal Mountain Police Used Ruse To Get Doggart To Come To Station, Where FBI Arrested Him) published by The Chattanoogan has been downplayed a bit in my opinion.
We all want to "feel" safe, even if that isn't a 100 percent realistic goal. It troubles me that we have a guy from Sequatchie County who got arrested in Signal Mountain planning a terrorist attack on folks up north, but there's little local outrage. A white, (probably claims to be Christian) older man planning to kill Muslims is almost accepted as being a good thing.
Now I'm not perfect and I've had my own moments in the past that could be considered prejudiced, but I can't wrap my head around this. We're up in arms over a dress code and we've got local guys acting like ISIS. We live in fear of everybody that's different and we're just not going to be successful in the long run living this way.
Now I'm sure I'll get a couple of angry emails from folks about this and that's okay. I believe as a man in calling it like I see it even if it doesn't run in lockstep with the party line. If more of us started cutting through the fluff and working together, we could get a lot done and not have to beg politicians to fix everything for us.
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Mr. Farrior, thank you for speaking up and speaking out. Regarding the Signal Mountain allege plot to carry a massacre on a small Muslim Community in upstate New York, I was the first, and I believe only one to speak up and out against the hate and lunacy when, at the time it was still fresh in the news, another regular opinion writer got all tissy over someone stomping on an American flag they likely purchased at a dollar store (I still have in my possession the large real cotton flag that once draped the coffin of a relative), but was eerily silent about the allege plot to carry out a massacre on innocent Muslims living in New York.
You're right! We must all take a stand whenever and wherever injustice begins to rear its ugly head. Like a contagious malignant cancer, injustices start small, perhaps with one person, one group, one ethnicity, one religion, race etc., before branching out to engulf and consume everyone and everything in its path. In the end, it consumes those committing the injustice and their supporters as well.
I also agree, don't spend your money where you're not wanted.
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I believe in the right to free speech. I believe that every person has a right to their own opinion. I do take offense, however, when people like Mr. Farrior, who boldly states he is from Ringgold (located in the great state of Georgia) infringe upon the citizenry of Chattanooga by trying to thrust his opinions about racism, bigotry and political correctness down our throat. I would kindly invite him to worry about things in his own state that affect him, his family and community.
In contrast, I am a 50-year-old white liberal that grew up in approximately the same era he did. I was exposed to some of the same types of non-PC interactions. With that being said, I chose not to engage in such things. Am I perfect? No. Have I said/done things for which I am ashamed? Yes. As I have gotten older, and I like to think somewhat wiser, that the old adage of “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover” really is true. I’ve learned those lessons through hard times, hard knocks and, yes…wait for it…research. I do not just take it for granted that everything that is repeated and/or reprinted by someone or some entity to be true.
In addition, Mr. Farrior quoted, with regards to Mr. Wise’ dress code, "he's not really fooling me or the vast majority of folks with a brain.” Mr. Farrior, I do have a brain. Thankfully, I use mine. You act as if a dress code was a violation of our civil rights. Believe me, it is not. Are you aware of signage on most stores and restaurants nationwide that states, “No shirts, no shoes, no service”? Are you offended each time you must put a shirt and shoes on before you go out to conduct business? If you choose not to adhere to the new Southside Social dress code, you have that right. Please don’t be offended if you are turned away because of your decision. You would be turned away, not because of your gender, sex, race, ethnicity, social standing, sexual orientation, or a myriad of other factors, but because you chose not to follow the rules.
I chuckle each time Mr. Farrior starts his next sentence with, “As a man…”. I think your arguments would gain you more respect if you acted like a man and respected Mr. Wise and his directives. Ladies and Gentlemen, please hereby be put on notice that Mr. Farrior does not speak for me…”as a man.”
Ms. Washington, I am sure that deep in your heart you have the best of intentions in what you say and do. Your words, however, do not express the “spirit” of those intentions. As well, I find it hard to keep track of the point you are trying to make. In another recent letter to Chattanoogan.com, you thanked Councilmember Chris Anderson for taking a strong stand against discrimination. After that, you went into some long saga about your visiting cousin, the Walnut Street bridge and your adopted daughter. For what reason? Nothing in your saga applied to the point you were trying to make. What I took from it was something happened that you didn’t like, your ego was bruised, and for that, we must be subjugated to your continued accusations of discrimination. You never provided anything that substantiated discrimination in that letter, anymore than you have validated “typical Chattanooga hypocrisy” in your letter of late. In the future, please come to and stay on point.
I do agree that a change in the way, means and people who currently conduct Chattanooga city business must change. I, unlike most, have made my opinion clear to each and every member of the City Council that are being opposed in the upcoming election. As well, I feel certain that Andy Berke knows he will not be receiving my support in his bid for re-election. However, I kindly suggest that your comments are being used as your personal platform to demean, accuse and continue to spew forth the vile bigotry and racism that has plagued our fair city for some time now.
Prior to closing, I feel as if I must take you to task with regards to "another regular opinion writer got all tissy over someone stomping on an American flag they likely purchased at a dollar store (I still have in my possession the large real cotton flag that once draped the coffin of a relative)." It is with most sincere condolences I offer in your loss of a family member. Too many of our fellow citizens have had that happen while serving defending our safety and both your and my right to speak freely. To all veterans, past and present, thank you for your service. I cannot speak for the other writer, but I find it offensive that you would not care if our flag was trampled or stomped on for any reason; regardless of the material it was made with or how it was obtained.
In closing, I suggest that you, Ms. Washington, patronize the Southside Social. I am certain that Mr. Wise and his staff would welcome you and treat you just like any other patron, regardless of the number of minorities in your party (as falsely suggested by Mr. Farrior); provided you choose to adhere to his dress code. I also suggest that if you try to enter an establishment without a shirt or shoes and are refused service, you are not being discriminated against for any aforementioned reasons other than your failure to follow their dress codes.
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As an aging, but young at heart, old timer of 64 I’ve been exposed to dress codes my entire life from Baptism’s, ROTC, dance, school, business and night clubs to mention a few and never had a problem with this. I support Mr. Wise in his business dress code as he has every right to enforce this since it is private enterprise and no one is making anyone support or patronize Southside Social.
It’s unfortunate that we have some that have nothing better to do than attack this man over his business policy. I assume that Mr. Farrior and Ms. Washington wouldn’t mind a bit if they had a loved one pass and people showed up at the funeral home in bikinis and swim trunks. Although there isn’t a carved in stone dress code for the funeral home most decent people respect the passing and know how to dress. Likewise most decent people respect Mr. Wise dress code and act accordingly. Since Ms. Washington has an issue with the dress code I wonder how she feels about local clubs that say you must be 25 or 30 years of age to enter. Now that’s real age discrimination no matter how you dress! However, I support these business owner’s policies as well.
I agree with Mr. Munger that Mr. Farrior and Ms. Washington should dress according to this dress code and visit Southside Social as they may be extremely surprised how well they are treated and just maybe they will have a good time doing it.