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rockfan's avatar

Would you eat at a bar & grille named after Jefferson Davis?

Asked by rockfan (11892points) November 1st, 2017 from iPhone

Last year I was invited to dinner by a few of my coworkers, and I brought along a friend of mine who’s black. The restaraunt was called “JDI’s” so we didn’t realize what the acronym stood for until we got there. The menu featured a short biography of Jefferson Davis and extolled his virtues as a leader, but didn’t even mention that he wanted to betray the United States or succeed from the union. Suffice to say, me and my friend felt uncomfortable while eating.

The restaraunt closed down last month, so it’s quite apparent that not many people wanted to support a restaraunt that admires Davis.

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14 Answers

Zaku's avatar

Well, Jefferson Davis seems like a peculiar thing to dedicate a restaurant to, to me, but I have no sentimentality for The South. JD was President of the Confederacy, a slaveowner and pro-slavery, which I find abhorrent though I am ignorant whether apart from all that he was a particularly bad or good or interesting example of all that. I think of him as a distant historical figure.

The issue of treason by succession of half the country is not one that bothers me. Apart from the slavery issue, I think the southern states had a valid point that they were being politically overpowered via the Federal government by the more populous northern states, which I would tend to agree with the argument that that itself is a betrayal of the spirit of the founding agreement of the original colonies to respect states’ rights. I think we currently suffer a lot from continued imbalance of power on the Federal side, and that it makes the divisions and disagreements in the US much worse because of too many issues where one answer is applied to the whole country, when clearly there are strong differences that might be best settled differently in different states.

What would give me pause about the restaurant, would be what the owners were like, and why they would choose to run a restaurant under that name. If it’s part of the Jim Crowe era racist backlash revival of Confederate history, or any other racist nostalgia, then I’d avoid it.

kritiper's avatar

Maybe. What is the food like?? Would I be denied entry into a “Abe Lincoln” café because my forefathers were slave owners or that they fought for the South? Where does discrimination end, really??

ragingloli's avatar

Well, I certainly would not dine at the Adolf Hitler Restaurant.
(the food was probably terrible, as I am sure there was no shortage of potential customers longing for the old glory days)

seawulf575's avatar

I think that people get too wrapped up about names. There are WAY too many people that get WAY too worked up about anything that might somehow be stretched to in some way relate to something that reminds someone of something that might have to do with slavery. And those same people will immediately jump on anyone that doesn’t see it their way. Slavery happened. We were not the first nation to go there, we were not the last. Whites were not the only ones to enslave another race. The Civil War was not totally about slavery and in the case of some southern states, it was only a minor reason for secession. Here’s a thought: The Emancipation Proclamation didn’t free all slaves. In fact, it only addressed slaves in the south. The Northern states retained their slaves and had some of the most racist views this nation has ever seen. So to get wound up about eating at a restaurant that was called JD1’s is a bit silly to me. If the food and service was good, enjoy.

josie's avatar

Depends on if the food is any good.

Muad_Dib's avatar

Ick, no.

I stopped going to the coffee shop around the corner when they changed from “Hattie’s Bakery” to “Cafe Liberty”, with accompanying jingoistic decor.

I want coffee, not a political sermon.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Sure. The food is the key.

I’ve eaten at restaurants with far worse names.

Jefferson Davis is/was part of American history. Like it or not. He was president of the Confederacy. All the hootin’ and hollerin’ about the evils of slavery – and they were evils – does not rewrite history. Otherwise we would be living in a dysfunctional civilization such as that described in 1984.

That said, if a restaurant owner wants to name his place Jefferson Davis, fine. I’ll go there if the food is good, and I won’t go there if the food is lousy.

Now, if they have the Confederate flag on the wall, or meetings of the Klan in the party room, that’s another story. But just the name? No problem.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It obviously wasn’t named to pull in the tourist trade or black folks either. Was the food any good? I swear some people lack the sense that God gives a donut. Any idiot should realize that at the first hint of success on the part of any enterprise named for Jeff Davis, the business is doomed to be picketed and boycotted to death.

Muad_Dib's avatar

To everyone saying only the food matters:

Be honest – you take the environment of a restaurant into account before choosing to eat there. You don’t go to Chuck E Cheese no matter how much you like the salad bar, if you’re looking for a quiet meal, KWIM?

johnpowell's avatar

If I was there with company I didn’t want to offend I would just get a side salad and a water so the people that thought this was a solid premise for a restaurant didn’t get any more than the bare minimum of my money.

Is anyone that said “if the food is good” planning on purchasing any Roman Polanski or Harvey Weinstein movies anytime soon?

I kinda hate the separate the artist from the art argument. No, I will not do that. A movie or dinner. If I can I will do my best to not give money to horrible people.

rockfan's avatar

“Jefferson Davis is/was part of American history. Like it or not. He was president of the Confederacy. All the hootin’ and hollerin’ about the evils of slavery – and they were evils – does not rewrite history. Otherwise we would be living in a dysfunctional civilization such as that described in 1984.”

Not sure what this has anything to do with me and my friend being uncomfortable in a restaraunt named after Jefferson Davis. I didn’t say I wanted him to be written out of history books or anything

rockfan's avatar

@johnpowell

I think Harvey Weinstein is a bad anology, he only produces the movies, he has nothing to do with the actual creation of the movie. So I have no problems still watching past movies produced by his production company

ragingloli's avatar

Weinstein is also not an insurrectionist, leading a treasonous rebellion in defence of a system of institutionalised crimes against humanity.

Soubresaut's avatar

The more I learn about The Lost Cause movement, the less sympathy I have for the “it’s about preserving history” argument. Because it’s not. It’s about maintaining a specific, sanitized, pro-Confederacy version of history. That’s not the same thing.

I wouldn’t eat at the restaurant.

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