Civil rights is what guarantees people access to education, to the ballot box, to jobs and to facilities regardless of their race, sex, ethnicity or religion. Civil rights do not give people the right to use race, sex, ethnicity or religion to discriminate.
If that were the case, a bunch of neo-Nazi skinheads could walk into a diner, take up half the seats, request that no black people or Jews be seated near them, then claim their civil rights were violated if a black person is seated close by.
If that was the case, white separatists could go to a public beach or pool and claim their rights to their beliefs were violated because blacks or Latinos weren’t kept separate from them.
I expect to see more of this, though, because the people like the swastika-sporting father who didn’t want Battle to attend to his baby, and the grocery customer who tried to use religion as a cover for his racism, are struggling with their soon-to-be minority status.
But the difference between them and us is that when we were fighting for our civil rights, we were fighting for rights and access that had been denied to us legally and otherwise.
These bigots, however, have never been denied anything. But they’ve always believed that being able to exclude people who don’t look like them from everyday facets of their lives is a right that defines them – and one they ought to be fighting for before Obama takes away their guns and the Latinos take away their jobs.
Obviously, the age of Obama has spawned an alternate age of unreasonableness; an age where some whites believe rights and privileges for people of color equate to victimization for them.
And the enemy is anyone who makes them feel victimized by defying their notions of superiority – be it a black nurse caring for their baby or a black guy bagging their groceries.
The madness continues.
Tonyaa Weathersbee is an award-winning columnist based in Jacksonville, Fla. Follow her @tonyaajw. Or visit her webpage and blog, “Tonyaa’s Take,” at www.tonyaajweathersbee.com.