As the Kansas City Star reported breathlessly earlier this week, Westport security guard Michael Dargy “allegedly” asked a black bartender, who goes by the Facebook name Alobar Bandaloop, for a “Trayvon Martini.”
If true, Dargy was making a pun on the name Trayvon Martin. The Star accurately but incompletely describes Martin as the “unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Florida in 2012.” In truth, Martin viciously attacked the much smaller Zimmerman and would be in prison if Zimmerman had not shot him.
In any case, Dargy’s employer, Chesley Brown International, promptly and piously fired Dargis. National Fox News among others picked the story up, and the public pushed back if only through the comments section. The comments, overwhelmingly opposed to the firing and many from other bartenders, suggest a growing divide between what people are supposed to believe and what they do believe.
“Why are you a bartender?”
“This bartender may have stepped over the line and exposed himself to legal actions.”
“I hear stupid jokes in bad taste all the time. It is NOT my position to police my customers as long as they aren’t disrupting others… This is bad etiquette on the Bartenders part. “Exposing” isn’t what we do.. Refuse him service, ok. Make a stink? Bad form, man.. Bad form.”
“NO tolerance does not seem very diverse of a policy.”
“Don’t like it, don’t serve him – end of story & not National News.”
“Making others lose their jobs over your own sensitivities is problematic. Karma will get you soon bartender!”
“First, freedom of speech. Second, how can you prove he actually said it? It’s his word against the security guard’s. The story sounds suspicious, as if this guy is looking for attention to further the case against people who carry guns or are in any area of enforcement, IMHO.”
“It was a joke. This type of joke is made on numerous occasions but with black folk referencing white folk in a negative way. Those people do not get fired. I remember listening to a VERY POPULAR AM radio host making fun of a character he called “D. Whiteman” for years. This person was neither fired nor was there any “outrage.” This is ridiculous. IT WAS A JOKE.”
“Our society has turned social media into mommy. When anything happens just run and tell mommy to make it all better.”
“He was only joking, he has freedom of speech, these two seem to get most liberals off scott free when they do similar things. But I forget a liberal cannot be racist no matter what they say or do. After all they are liberal.”
“Another example of someone too thin-skinned to take a joke. Yeah, maybe it was in bad taste, but c’mon people. This type of stuff is going to be the end. Free speech is dead.”
And so the comments go, on and on, more than 500 at last count. Today, comments sections are much more useful barometers of public opinion than the articles on which they comment.