On Your Bike

Sadly there still exists discrimination in all its forms and I’m fairly certain that we shall always have to live with them. Racism, homophobia, sexism, age, religious, political…..I’m guessing we’re all familiar with most of the groups or individuals in society who might suffer because of bigotry in all its manifestations. I’ve never been a fan of political correctness if it prevents people from the human right to speak freely, though without offence. I strongly believe that we have a basic right to be born free and that we shall all die as equals. Yet Ive discovered another form of social rejection which I thought deserved an airing. One that perhaps you may be familiar with yet is rarely discussed. Indeed, this may be the first time that this ‘offence’ has been brought to light: I don’t think it even has a name – perhaps you might write to me to suggest one. To explain fully one has to remember two opposing yet well known little sayings: ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ and ‘we don’t want your sort in here!’ Imagine that you are visiting a pub for the very first time. You’ve perhaps been on a long bike ride or journey with some friends and are in desperate need of some refreshment. Everything’s fine and you try some of the thirst quenching cider that’s been recommended by the bar staff. ‘Excellent’ you think. So much so that you ask to see the landlord in order to compliment him or her on keeping such a fine house. The landlord appears from behind you and says, for all to hear, ‘we don’t want your sort in here and I must ask you to leave’. There is no explanation, and my understanding is that a publican may reject anyone from his/her premises without giving a reason so to do. So, you’ve been rejected and you’re now standing outside, alone and understandably embarrassed, humiliated and hurt. You know that displays of anger or violence would never solve anything and you’re just not that kind of person anyway. You’re what one might best describe as a sound normal responsible middle aged law-abiding person. Yet nobody has explained why you have been singled out to be separated from your friends leaving you feeling victimised for no apparent reason, other than the landlord doesn’t want your ‘sort’ in his pub. What is your sort? What could you possibly have done to cause such great offence? The answer is – nothing. Your rejection was simply a whim by the owner of a pub. I think this is intolerable. Surely reasons must be required to be given: there has to be a course of redress. This is a situation that should require a comprehensive and detailed explanation by the publican, or indeed the owner of any establishment, be it a pub, club or any retail outlet that might choose to reject anyone for no apparent, or indeed any reason. Sadly this discriminatory behaviour does occur and I’m pretty certain it’s not about to change. I think it deserves a name.

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