Racist roads and banning Chick-Fil-A – where will it end?

July 15 – A report released yesterday from PennDOT said that they are going to be dismantling systemic racism and inequities in Pennsylvania’s transportation system.

One of the goals of this report is to define equity and see whether there’s an impact from systemic racism.

Attorney Clint Barkdoll, Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen discussed the report from PennDOT and Chick-Fil-A this morning during the Big Talk on First News.

Jansen said, “Maybe you should have defined equity and saw whether there was impact before going to all this extreme propositions of all these things you’re going to implement. They use these terms that are very vague. We know we’re hearing about through Critical Race Theory. Systemic racism is something that no one seems to be able to define, to measure or to understand. They look at disparities and claim that that is the proof, but we don’t know that those things are caused by racism. This is rife within the Wolf administration and he’s apparently set up teams for every department that’s doing this kind of work.”

Barkdoll said, “I’m not sure in the context of PennDOT, I’m not sure what this looks like. When I first heard it, my initial thought was are they saying they would change the names of state highways for example? Or are they saying that they would change the way licensing works in some way? I’m not really sure either how PennDOT feels that there is this issue of what they’re calling systemic racism within the state’s transportation infrastructure. As you’re pointed out the problem is it seems like they’re rolling out these what I’ll call initiatives without any great definition of what is the goal of the initiative? What are they trying to accomplish? What in the world within our road system would be implicated by systemic racism?”

Ryan said, “Those damn racist roads. I can’t stand it.”

Jansen said, “In another story where this kind of ideology came into play and it has an implication here at the Chambersburg borough. As we know it was revealed that the borough has established its own policies which it extended to anybody it deals with based on their definition of what harassment or discrimination is.”

It looks like New York is trying the same thing.

And Chick-Fil-A is one target.

Chick-Fil-A is a private company out of Atlanta. Historically they have been very opposed to LGBTQ rights. Customers know they’re closed on Sundays. There’s very much a religious, Christian overtone to the company. Consumers have embraced that. They are widely successful.

In New York, the state wants to ban Chick-Fil-A from going into the rest stops because of their corporate positions on these issues.

Jansen said, “They’re holding that against them saying it’s violating their anti-discrimination policies. Very much in the same way that the borough council says we’re not going to do business with anybody who violates our extreme definitions for discrimination against LGBTQ. Isn’t this a problem? And this is exactly what we’re talking about. It’s people putting their ideology and then using taxpayer money to enforce that ideology.”

Barkdoll said, “I think it’s a great example. I think it’s why the borough of Chambersburg is on such a slippery slope when they go into these areas.”

In terms of Chick-Fil-A and New York state, Barkdoll said it’s “extremely subjective and wouldn’t the same analogy apply here locally if such a local ordinance was implemented? I think borough council if they’re looking at that kind of a situation, again, they should proceed with real caution because these are the sort of examples you’re going to keep seeing happen.”

Jansen pointed out, “Remember they already have these policies in place, subjectively decided by council members whether somebody’s violating their policies and then they want to make a separate ordinance that then would just apply to everybody, regardless of whether they have a relationship with council or not or the borough or not.”

Ryan asked, “Does this means that if a borough employee comes in with a sack of delicious yumminess from Chick-Fil-A and someone that’s in the borough building is offended by seeing the bag, then that could mean a complaint?”

Barkdoll said, “If that person felt offended by it you could see that scenario happening, as frivolous as it sounds, that’s where I think you’re onto the slippery slope. And this case out of New York, it will be interesting to see what the state General Assembly does with this, but the fact that it’s even brought up.”

Now it seems like the Mayor of New York City is involved and he tried to ban Chick-Fil-A’s NYC because of the same issue.

Barkdoll said, “But I think these are cautionary tales of things that could be replicated here locally.”

Jansen said, “The PennDOT report they actually talk about perceived barriers due to racism. So really they are talking about how people feel and then enacting laws and restrictions based on somebody’s perceived idea that they’re being discriminated against.”

Ryan said, “They are in so far over their head.”

Barkdoll agreed, “They are in way over their heads on this. I’ll give a plug for Chick-Fil-A. If someone wants to see how to run an operation put the Chick-Fil-A drive thru managers in charge of any level of government. You talk about an efficient, well-oiled machine. Their drive thrus could really be a model I think for government to learn a few lessons from, including the one here locally.”