Friday, August 25, 2017

Jane Raybould kicks off Senate campaign at family store that viciously mocked LGBTs 40 years ago

In June of 1977, Miami voters, led by singer and former Miss Oklahoma Anita Bryant, repealed the city's gay antidiscrimination ordinance, prompting a nationwide boycott of Florida citrus and Bryant's subsequent dismissal as the Florida Citrus Commission's commercial spokesman.
     At the time, Senate candidate Jane Raybould's father owned Russ's Market, at 17th & Washington in Lincoln, which was then called B&R IGA. That's where, tomorrow, she will kick off her Senate campaign to unseat Deb Fischer. (The "R" in B&R stands for Russ.)
     AKSARBENT lived in Lincoln then, and was appalled at the Raybould store's nasty, publicly-displayed signage ridiculing gay people with the crudest possible stereotypes.
     In fact, we were so disgusted that we took the photo below with our Minolta SRT-202 on Tri-X film and never shopped at a B&R store again. (The photo may have been taken in the early months of 1978 when sales on grapefruit would have been in fuller swing, as was Bryant's antigay traveling Jihaad, which went on the road to other cities.)
     Jane Raybould would have been about 18 or 19 at the time and perhaps already working in the family business. Hope she didn't draw the sign herself.
Separated at birth? 2018 NE Senate candidates Deb Fischer (left) and Jane Raybould.
      Regardless, we hope the family's attitudes toward LGBTs have evolved since then, as, according to its website, B&R Stores now owns
...18 stores located in seven cities across Nebraska and Iowa and employs more than 2,000 people, nearly 1,000 of which are employee owners. B&R Stores, Inc., is committed to being an active partner with each of the communities it serves in an effort to enhance the lives of both its customers and employees.
     Perhaps, during Saturday's kickoff, Jane Raybould will be good enough to produce a printed employment application for her family's grocery chain, so that Nebraska's 50,000 LGBTs can see, in black and white, what her family business's policy is now, in respect of hiring LGBTs.
     B&R's online application (retrieved yesterday) contained no information whatsoever regarding its discrimination policy.

Above: B&R IGA's grapefruit sale signage packed nearly every gay stereotype you can think of into one nasty caricature. Pompadour? Check. Platform shoes? Check. Ridiculous nails? Check. Earring? Check. Puffy, ruffled lace sleeves? Check. Plus, a pig's nose.
     And in case all that didn't sufficiently impart the Raybould family's demeaning message, the "fruit" part of grapefruit was underlined twice.
     When are homophobic enterprises going to realize that minorities never forget gratuitous attacks — even after 40 years?
     By the way, kids: 1978 wasn't really the dark ages in respect of the gay civil rights movement. We remember that guests on the Tonight Show then, regularly trashed Anita Bryant's bigotry, as did SNL. Guess the Raybould family business didn't get the memo.

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