In a story reported in the Longview News-Journal out of Longview, Texas, a Texas man, DeWitt Thomas, has filed a lawsuit in federal court, alleging that his civil rights were violated when a grocery store allowed a black cashier to handle his groceries, despite his requests that no “negroidal” persons touch them.”
In the lawsuit, Thomas explained he meant a black person when he used the term ‘negroidal.’”
When I first read this story, my first instinct was to make fun of it. And perhaps that’s still the best response. It’s one of those stories that makes you keep checking the top of the page to make sure you aren’t reading The Onion.
Thomas insisted that he is not racist or ignorant, but religious. He claimed his religious beliefs are based on Vedism, which he said encompasses Hinduism.
Oh. Glad he cleared that up.
Quoting the Longview News-Journal:
“‘My question is, why after I told them how I felt and that it was against my creed did this negroid try to impress himself upon me and try to handle my groceries again,’ Thomas said.”
He went on to explain other tenets of his creed.
“‘White people are to be protected under the civil rights law just as anyone else,’ Thomas said. ‘It would be the same as if you asked that a congoid (a person from west/central Africa) not touch your food.’”
Let’s not talk about all the ‘oids that likely touched all of Thomas’ food before it made its way to the checkout line.
Thomas is right, of course, that our nation’s civil rights laws protect whites as well as persons of color. However – and I could be wrong – but I’m pretty sure neither the Constitution nor civil rights laws allow a person to violate the civil rights of another person in the name of exercising religious freedom.
Whatever Thomas may call it, his beliefs echo the white supremacist beliefs of Wade Michael Page, the gunman who murdered worshipers at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. Racism that rises to that level is not a joke, it’s a sickness.
It’s a sickness that allows people to see the “other” as the enemy, and to feel it is their duty, in service of their race and their country, to destroy the people they see as threats.
It would be very easy to simply laugh and dismiss Thomas as a lone nutjob who needs to learn how to bag his own groceries.
Except that lone nutjobs have been responsible for an awful lot of carnage and death lately.