Last week, landlord stans had their chance to yell at me in the comments for not considering the landlords’ plight as equal to that of tenants who face homelessness and debt that will likely burden their children and their children’s children for generations to come in the face of the pandemic. This week, white man restaurateur enthusiasts get your scolding fingers ready to wag: A new lawsuit that alleges discrimination against white men who have to wait three weeks to apply for business aid while groups that have been harder hit by the pandemic get their turn can shut up too.
According to ABC News a lawsuit filed by the Wisconsin Institute of Law & Liberty on behalf of a Tennessee restaurateur named Antonio Vitolo, “targets the period from May 3 until May 24 during which the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund will only process and fund requests from businesses owned by women; veterans; or socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Eligibility opens broadly after that period.”
The reason these groups get a headstart is that they are most likely to be affected by the pandemic, with scores of reports giving alarming figures about the repercussions of the pandemic on these businesses, from H&R Block reporting that 53 percent of Black-owned businesses saw their revenue drop by half, compared to 37 percent of white-owned businesses, and the National Bureau of Economic Research reporting an “unprecedented” 25 percent drop in the number of women-owned businesses. The groups most under threat also happen to be the groups that own the fewest businesses in the U.S. in the first place.
And so it seems as though if we would like to keep any scant progress we have made for diversity in the restaurant business, these owners would need to be prioritized for loans before the overwhelming majority of restaurant owners, who are white men, get all the money and there is none left for anyone else, as has historically been the case. The lawsuit does claim that Vitolo’s wife is Latina and a part-owner of the business, though the law says she would need to own 51 percent to get first filing rights for the loan, a solution that seems like it could have been easy enough to arrange without a little shit fit in court. Also, Institute of Law & Liberty, if you are looking for new lawsuit avenues to explore, might I suggest you sue “the entirety of American history” next on behalf of all the minority groups you’re trying to dick over right now.