South Dakota Republican: Bakeries should be able to turn away blacks

A South Dakota Republican state senator thinks businesses should be able to turn away African-Americans.

And he’s standing by legislation that he thinks is a step in that proud direction: a bill to permit local businesses to turn away gay people.

The legislation is part of a larger Republican-led push to pass similar “religious freedom” gay-bashing bills in as many states as possible.


Arizona was one such state, until the legislation (SB1062) backfired, and major American companies, and eventually even some top Republicans, balked at the blatant discriminatory power grab, leading Arizona’s GOP governor to finally veto it.

Businesses became concerned that, for example, contracts could be broken by people (or companies) claiming the contract offended their religion.

From the Rapid City Journal.

From the Rapid City Journal.

But South Dakota’s Phil Jensen is undaunted. He stands by SB128, even though the bill was recently killed in committee.

Of course, the GOP state senator isn’t content with bashing gays.  He also wants to defend your inalienable right to kick black people out of your bakery (something that is rather illegal under federal and local civil rights laws).

“If someone was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and they were running a little bakery for instance, the majority of us would find it detestable that they refuse to serve blacks, and guess what? In a matter of weeks or so that business would shut down because no one is going to patronize them,” Jensen.

Really? I can imagine a number of towns, especially in the south, where business would probably boom if a bakery refused to serve African-Americans.

And even that argument doesn’t entirely make sense.  If Jensen is trying to protect people’s freedom of religion, and believes that the law he’s proposing, if extended to race, would end up forcing religious people out of business, then how does that actually help religious people in the long-run, putting them out of business?

Mind you, a lot of people complained that Arizona’s law could lead to discrimination against blacks and others.  And the bill’s supporters said “gosh, no, no one is thinking that!”

The local paper in Rapid City, South Dakota had this to say about Jenkins:

On some occasions, it appears Jensen acts on his beliefs without considering the full impact of a proposed legislative measure.

That may be giving Jensen too much credit.  Perhaps he knows quite well who his proposal will harm. Perhaps he simply doesn’t care.

(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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44 Responses to “South Dakota Republican: Bakeries should be able to turn away blacks”

  1. Abby says:

    What does this say about the voters?

  2. wmforr says:

    And yet they whine continuously that they are being bullied and marginalized and discriminated against.

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  4. JayWilson says:

    John, you should really stop imagining that racism is something that is only found in the south. The truth is that in the south, blacks and whites live far more closely and interdependently than in the rest of the country. Having grown up in the south and lived for 20-something years in the northeast, I would hazard to guess that some businesses on Long Island and State Island and some parts of Jersey would do much better financially by discriminating against black customers that equivalent businesses in most southern towns. When you look at the anti-black violence that has taken place over the past 20 years or so, I would say that NYC et environs has see far more than, say Atlanta or Charleston or Newport News.

  5. Mark Lane says:

    Methinks thou doth protest too much!

  6. 3am Mystic says:

    Becca, you are so right, that the wingnuts assume they will never be on the receiving end of discrimination. But when that gets started, it does not end. For every wingnut out there, there is someone to the”right” of them, thinking they are too “liberal”, ready to keep the boot on their neck. And by the way, yes, most are straight, but the sad truth is there are many secretly gay individuals sitting in churches, married to someone of the opposite sex for cover, shouting “Amen” when the preacher condemns gays to hell. Only their prayer is, “Please God, don’t let anyone find out”.

  7. Duke Woolworth says:

    In the name, is South more important than Dakota?

  8. mike31c says:

    And yet another reason to avoid South Dakota like the plague.

  9. olandp says:

    Don’t be silly, he wouldn’t rent to a Muslim or Catholic in the first place.

  10. olandp says:

    That is the ultimate goal. Bring back Jim Crow,” segregation now, segregation forever.”

    They are just being sneaky about it, like their drive to kill public schools, underfund so they underperform, offer ‘charter schools’, and vouchers until eventually the public school dies. Segregation achieved, not just black and white, but the rich and the rest of us.

  11. BeccaM says:

    One reason these white, Christian and presumably straight wingnuts want to abolish all civil rights laws is because they assume — and correctly so — they themselves will never, ever be on the receiving end of discrimination or bias-motivated hate crimes.

  12. Naja pallida says:

    It should be mentioned that ‘free market discrimination’ is also Rand Paul’s position.The one he spent months slinking away from after he publicly questioned the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act. Republican controlled states have been working very hard to take rights away from their citizens. Just yet another step down the ladder that leads into the deep dark hole in their souls.

  13. Lawerence Collins says:

    This is where it begins, the real slippery slope of discrimination! These DSSRZS, claim they’re not racist bigots. That’s like saying waters not wet.

  14. cole3244 says:

    how many bigots do the republicans have to throw at america before voters stop putting these thugs in office, or are these great americans that vote for this sorry excuse for a party just as repugnant as their pols.

  15. Monophylos Fortikos says:

    That’s what they call “prosperity theology” I think *chuckles*

  16. Silver_Witch says:

    I know it is scary – for some reason here they don’t advertise/announce like they used to in the old days. I am sure it so those of us too consumed by life don’t notice and forget.

    The pendulum will swing my friend, it always does.

  17. Drew2u says:

    I’ll post what I said below, just now, “Though with gerrymandering and voter suppression laws, I’m doubtful.”
    In my town, on April 1st, there are elections. There is no sample ballot to look at for early voting, nor is there any announcement about elections, nor are there any listings under “events”. I completely forgot about voting early before I left for a job and a recall effort failed, one of them by one vote. One.

  18. Silver_Witch says:

    However, with all the idiots out talking for the Republicans there may be a lot more of “us” normals showing up to vote out of fear (speaking of fearing god, I fear republicans more than any christian fears their god).

  19. Drew2u says:

    Registration, early voting, and smooth day-of lines are our best hope for November. Though with gerrymandering and voter suppression laws, I’m doubtful.

  20. Drew2u says:

    I hope so, too, but Democrats are terrible at getting people to vote in non-Presidential elections.

  21. Silver_Witch says:

    I am hoping they are very wrong – like their Romney Tsunami….I giggle every time I think about it and I also remind them of it (in the event I wander off to a blog of nutters). I hope it is the same this time – really really hope.

  22. caphillprof says:

    I don’t think there are any non-nuts in the GOP

  23. Bose says:

    As much as Phil Jensen argues for the legal option to discriminate, you can bet he doesn’t want it offered carte blanche to his employees. His bio says he manages rental properties; If he hired a maintenance person, though, he would not be happy if the person was legally immune from consequences for refusing to take calls from a Muslim or Catholic tenant.

    Arizona proved that credible, competent business leaders don’t want any part of this crap.

  24. usagi says:

    Who else are they going to approve? People who were considered extreme right-wingers 10 years ago are being primaried from their right and losing. As digby has pointed out more than once, the monster is running the show now. It’s only the wackos who met the purity tests anymore. And once they’re through the primary, they’re gaining office on inertia (or running unopposed). Don’t forget that Harry Reid was nearly defeated by someone who, ideology aside, didn’t have the political chops to be on a city council. The only reason he won eked out a win was because his opponent was a political amateur in comparison.

    Always remember, this isn’t an act. They believe this.

  25. Drew2u says:

    They did adjust the bill – to explicitly discriminate against gays and no one else, when they found that they just introduced a bill to allow any kind of religious discrimination whatsoever.

    As for R.P., maybe he means they’ll meltdown and go nuclear after the tsunami-like results against them in November? Wishful thinking, I know, especially since the prevailing beltway theme seems to be: “Dems have to be quislings and Republican-Lite in order to win in November!” With that thinking going on, and voter-disenfranchisement laws coming into effect, no wonder R.P. is boastful.

  26. 4th Turning says:

    Thanks. That’s two of us and am certain there have been hundreds
    of other kindred spirits. I was surprised and full of smiles to see how
    many little tokens of friendship had been left on Thoreau’s tiny headstone.

  27. TheOriginalLiz says:

    I think many believe they are one and the same.

  28. nicho says:

    Both “party regulars” are in a nursing home. All other Republicans are nut jobs.

  29. Silver_Witch says:

    This is so interesting to me…I saw yesterday that Reince Priebus says they are going to have a Republican Tsunami in 2014….how, though can they possible have such a Tsunami when they keep making these types of Hate proposals. They do know this is the 21st Century and people think now a days right.

    The meaning of these laws is to allow the “religious” to discriminate against anyone they want to for any “religious” reason their god calls for them to – they just have to fine tune it a bit so that Pagans (and others not of their orientation) can’t discriminate against them. I would love to have a Pagan Tea Shop that didn’t allow Christians…how nice to have a cuppa without listening to their inane babbling – and yet I dream!

  30. Indigo says:


  31. Indigo says:

    I’ve left offerings at Wounded Knee, two of them actually, one for 1973 and the other for 1890. But not organic, just plain tobacco out of a pouch of pipe tobacco. It doesn’t change history but it eases the heart to make offerings. The spirits understand.

  32. Monophylos Fortikos says:

    Religion, yes, but note that he couches his excuse for bigotry as a free-market issue. Civil rights should, it seems, be left up to the Invisible Hand to guarantee–not the Hand of God but of capitalism.

  33. 4th Turning says:

    Bits of my own heart are buried all over the country.
    Have visited Navajo and Blackfeet. And made it a point to visit first two reservations
    in U.S. in eastern Va.
    Always wanted to get some organic tobacco and place it on Chief Joseph’s
    gravesite-not that such an insignificant offering could alter history in any way.

  34. Rick Roberts says:

    Good question. The nuts have taken over, and any non-nuts are afraid to speak up.

  35. BillFromDover says:

    How does one discern a nut-job from the party regulars?

  36. Rick Roberts says:

    The nutjobs are our best hope for November.

  37. vickif says:

    We already know what would happen if female pharmacists refused to sell Viagra and penis pumps because of their religious beliefs. Wait for the fireworks and the males demanding that the pharmacy should fire those female pharmacists.

  38. iamlegion says:

    If you’re in your own home or private property, you’re free to feel, say, and act how you like. But the very moment you come into the public arena – by say, opening a store for business – you are participating in American society. And by definition, American society accepts all creeds, races, and religions. If you don’t like that, stay out of society. Or better yet, just get the fuck out of my country.

  39. Sally says:

    I have an idea…let’s find some Democratic business owners who can put out ads that they no longer serve white men. And let’s get some female pharmacists to refuse to sell Viagra and penis pumps because both are against their religious beliefs. These guys will continue to think they are immune until they are kicked upside the head by a mule, I think.

  40. Indigo says:

    That’s a very good question and I’m going to guess yes, they do approve those wackos on purpose. I’ve got relatives back in rural Indiana to prove the point, they’re either willfully ignorant or vicious, possibly both.

  41. You know I was involved in the GOP Primary process when I was a College Republican in my wayward youth. All these Republicans are preselected by the Party, which means they are vetted, which has me wondering. Is the GOP purposely approving these wackos?

  42. ericxdc says:

    it’s hard to think of anything useful to say in the face of such utter bigotry, masked under the cloak of religion.

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