A story a couple of weeks ago got buried in the flurry of other stories and it’s been nagging me since. Here's your backgrounder.
It’s about a real estate professional, working under contract at a Coldwell Banker location, who decided it was her business to berate a homeowner (or renter, more likely, based on statistics) who was flying a Mexican flag.
Since a taste of Africa has come to Dallas by way of Ebola…
Pictured: The worst timed newspaper cover ever
…I may as well get back to this since there’s no way I’m stepping outside without my hazmat suit.
So here’s the rundown: An Ontario, California woman went on a tear, cue the video that went viral, and lost her the job she held at a real estate company. (The video is embedded at the bottom of this page.)
Tressy Capps, who seems wound a bit tight, filmed herself harassing a homeowner over a flag they were flying in their own yard. She berated the homeowner, suggesting the residents of the home go back to Mexico.
It wasn't a pretty scene.
“Hi. Is that a Mexican flag in your front yard?” Capps is heard asking the homeowner, who is behind a window.
“You know we live in America right? This is the United States. So, why are you flying a Mexican flag in your front yard?” she is heard asking the woman.
She filmed herself on her smartphone, and then proudly published the video to YouTube. It has about 396,000 views as of Friday.
After that she got fired.
Coldwell Banker issued this statement.
"We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind," David Siroty of Coldwell Banker Real Estate said in a statement. "We hold our affiliated companies to high ethical standards…”
And blah blah blah blah. The usual corporate-speak.
Let’s go ahead and stipulate a few things so we can get to the real discussion. Coldwell Banker has, and should have, the right to hire and fire anyone they want, for any reason that they want.
Capps has freedom of speech, but not freedom from the consequences of that speech. The First Amendment restricts government, not people and businesses.
Fine. We done with that part?
Here’s the real question – should she have been fired?
I’ve been back on forth on this for a while. For starters, my political and philosophical views tend libertarian, so I think what other people do on their own property is their own business and none of yours.
And second, I’m about as politically incorrect a man as you’ll ever meet, and no, I don’t apologize for it. (An apology is a sign of weakness, after all.) All those words and thoughts that the progressive puritans and the overly polite conservatives tell us are double-plus-ungood? Yeah, I speak them or think them every day.
Political correctness and the social justice inquisitors are a cancer. They destroy our ability to speak honestly. They make us blind to the reality in front of our face. They bring us to the point where citing certain uncomfortable facts in a discussion is considered racist or sexist or whatever stupid thing is shouted to shut down conversation.
They are the blue pill.
And finally – to the specific quote by the Coldwell Banker spokesweasel – what Capps did may have been rude, pushy and wrong, but there was no discrimination.
What she was upset about goes to nationhood, patriotism and national loyalty. Political correctness strikes again – the same way people want to equate concern about border security or shutting down travel from West Africa with racial discrimination.
That said, here’s the other side of the coin – being California, I imagine it is a heavily Hispanic market. (My read on California is like a map out of Fallout: New Vegas, with the Tech Lords running the area around Silicon Valley, the meth cooks and Sons of Anarchy biker gangs in the northeast, and the Reconquista in the Southern half; proof I’m not real smart about California.)
And like it or not, the fastest growing group of new homebuyers going forward will be Hispanics. If your business gets a reputation for having a bias against such a big part of your market, you’re going down. You have to nip it in the bud right away. And, flying a Mexican flag is a symbol of nationalism. Mexico is only one of many nations of peoples who claim Hispanic heritage.
Capps probably would not be as easily offended by this:
So while I tend to sympathize with Capps – who, as I understand it, didn’t do what she did on company time or in a company logo uniform – I understand why Coldwell Banker had to do what they did.
And, like I said, businesses should have the right to fire and hire for any reason, or for no reason. I even support the right of private discrimination for private business, same as I can allow or forbid anyone I want from walking into my home.
What’s bothersome here, and why despite me being a judgmental jackass I haven’t been able to figure out where I land on this, is that it’s gotten to this point in the first place.
I do know it’s time for everyone on all sides of the debate to drop the political correctness sham. Yes, those on the right employ it in their own way the same as the progressives, just over different issues – are you patriotic enough, are you sufficiently pro-war on terror, and so on.
Political correctness has created a witch-hunt mentality and imbued certain words with inordinate power – racist, discrimination, sexist – to where the accusation alone is proof of guilt. If a person or company is accused of one of these modern heresies, they are made into unpersons, declared unclean and unfit to exist.
What happened to people talking to one another? What happened to simply letting someone apologize when they screw up? It’s all zero tolerance now, and zero tolerance really just means zero intelligence. It’s the same idiotic mentality that suspends kids in school for drawing guns or sharing an aspirin.
It’s what drove the CEO of Mozilla out of his own company for donating a few hundred bucks to a California ballot initiative in favor of traditional marriage in 2008, the same very year that the current president declared his own belief that gay marriage doesn’t equal traditional marriage. (The current president gets a pass on this for some strange reason.)
I don’t know.
Did this woman’s actions – apparently done on her own time and without involving Coldwell Banker – really rise to the level of unforgivable and fireable? Isn’t frustration among Americans at the nonchalant way Mexicans view our borders and our citizenship laws getting justifiable?
Wouldn’t it be suicidal for a business catering to Hispanics to not take quick action – or are we assuming in a very condescending and ignorant way that all American Hispanics are loyal to Mexico first?
Are you saying that Hispanics aren’t as American and patriotic as this woman apparently is? What does that say about you?
What do you think?
I’m interested to know since because of Ebola, it’s not like I’m going anywhere anytime soon.
The original video: