My Experience with Discrimination
I recently placed a front page “sticky note” advertisement with a regional newspaper. The ad made a clear reference to a controversial, politically-charged issue, and it contained this website's address. It also plainly stated that I was the sole party responsible for the content.
The site received numerous visits, and I was given a considerable amount of feedback both in support and in opposition to my proffered viewpoint (which for simplicity’s sake could be described as “religious”). I even received some financial support. In short, my paid advertising produced at least some of the intended effect.
They say to strike while the iron is hot. In the hopes of furthering my purpose, I contacted a representative with the same newspaper to submit another ad idea. Having nearly completed a follow-up piece to my previous essay, I was prepared to pay money once again for the opportunity to draw visitors to my site. The latest planned sticky note was less likely to be contentious, as it contained no direct reference to any putative “civil rights” issues.
I was refused. More specifically, the pertinent powers told me that they were unwilling to place my advertisement on the front page (though they will continue to accept such ads from other parties). The vice president of sales and marketing claimed that my first campaign generated confusion and unwelcome responses from some of their clientele. I would, however, be allowed to advertise in (or on) another section of the paper. I was gently reminded that they reserved the right to make such decisions for their business.
Considering the fact that this same periodical recently published an editorial viewpoint expressing opposition to discrimination, I find its representative’s position incongruous. They would perhaps argue otherwise; after all, they didn’t refuse my business, they only limited my options to a less visible section. Plus, they offered a bit of a discount. Nonetheless, in my mind their offer is analogous to a (purely hypothetical) scenario in which an openly homosexual government official and his companion would be allowed to dine at a restaurant, provided they sit in a booth in the back. The theoretical restaurateur might contend that he simply didn’t want to deal with any potentially negative feedback from other customers. A discount would be offered, of course! Perhaps he would submit that, since it was in fact his restaurant, he ought to be allowed to operate it as he saw fit.
I cannot help but concur with such a standpoint. I made it clear to the newspaper’s salesperson that I had absolutely no intention of filing suit against them for exercising their freedom to limit my options for paid services. I also don’t plan to press my interests by picketing their offices, blocking their entrances, or hiding in their closets. I’m certainly disappointed that they would choose to discriminate against me simply because of who I am and whom I love. But I acknowledge their right to do so, for I wouldn’t want to force my perspective on anyone.