Yesterday, Fox News' John Stossel argued that “it's time now to repeal that part of” the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibited discrimination in places of public accommodation, stating, “You can call it public accommodation, and it is, but it's a private business.” Today, Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA), a Civil Rights activist and Freedom Rider, responded:
A “private” business generally operates on a public thoroughfare, is protected by public police and fire departments, is served by public transportation, is staffed by people educated in public schools, is protected against fraud by the public justice system, may serve food or sell products protected by public inspection agencies, etc, etc, etc. Surely the public has a right to insist on non-racist policies!
As a Freedom Rider in 1961, I rode on an interstate, publicly franchised Greyhound bus, and, as a member of an integrated group, was denied access to restrooms, lunch counters, and waiting rooms. The Supreme Court rightly ruled this was unconstitutional. Do Rand Paul and John Stossel want to take us back to a racist past from which so many people gave their lives to liberate us?