- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 11, 2000

Peel away a lot of what passes for "racism" and what you find instead is simple economics or other rational considerations that have nothing to do with ill will toward minorities.

Domino's Pizza, for example, tried to protect its drivers by not having them make doorstep deliveries in bad neighborhoods some of which happen to be located in inner-cities, were the population is majority black. The fact that Domino's will deliver to your door whether you're from the moon and have skin the color of alien cheese provided your home is not located in an area plagued by stickups did not dissuade four Washington residents, however, from suing the chain for alleged racism on account of their not being able to get a pizza delivered to their door in a sketchy area on Q Street in southwest Washington.

They took the pizza chain's refusal as racist rather than concern for employee safety. The Clinton Justice Department and perpetually "acting" head of the Civil Rights Division, Bill Lann Lee entered the fray and strong-armed an "agreement" with the chain under the terms of which Domino's may limit delivery service to areas deemed dangerous but only after exhaustive bureaucratic rigmarole annual reviews and consultations with local law-enforcement agencies.

All of that will cost time and money neither of which many businesses like to waste. So rather than spend the time to comply with Washington's ukase, business such as Domino's will likely end up subjecting their employees to danger, if it comes down to that, rather than risk an encounter with the Justice Department. "The new delivery policy ensures that decisions on delivery limitations will be based on the legitimate concern for the safety of Domino's employees and not on the racial composition of a neighborhood," intoned a smug Mr. Lee.

Please. Does anyone actually believe that Domino's deliberately turned away paying customers simply because of racial animus? Will the Justice Department pursue every business owner who acts to protect the safety, perhaps even the lives, of his employees by avoiding dangerous neighborhoods and sketchy areas on the assumption that bigotry is at the root of that action?

One of the men involved in the Domino's complaint can't see the forest for the trees, even now. "The notion that people just because they live in different parts of the city can't get the same sort of service that I could get in Georgetown, that's not right," attorney Jimmy Bell told The Washington Post. Well, maybe Mr. Bell should spend a little time outside Georgetown to get a real idea of what is involved both for residents and delivery people in the neighborhoods in question. And he should do so at night, when many pizzas are delivered, without any protection from the Justice Department. It might concentrate his mind on the hazards of treating life-and-death decisions as a black-and-white issue.

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