The Outlook

This isn't for the sensitive

(Black) Students Not Allowed

CNN is reporting on a story out of Chicago involving seniors from The Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

These seniors planned a trip to Chicago for their class with a culminating party at a bar in downtown, Chicago. They contacted the bar before they arrived, but when they got there, the white students were allowed in, and the black students were not. The bar claimed it was dress code violations that prevented the black students from entering, but the students not only claim they were told that even if they changed they would not be allowed in, but one pair of students two boys, one black, the other white tested the theory by switching their jeans. The white student was still allowed in, despite the fact that being 3 inches shorter than the black student, his new jeans were even more apparently baggy.

The students have contacted numerous organizations such as the ADL, and the Chicago Urban League. The chancellor of Washington University has written a letter to the mayor of Chicago.

I’m not actually surprised that in 2009 these things still happen. These days, I’m surprised that people are surprised by them. Further, it’s disheartening to know that people and organizations feel comfortable committing these blatantly racist acts with almost no apology. Of course the bar denies any wrongdoing and sticks by their “it was a dress code issue” defense, much like that swim club in Philadelphia that turned away a group of minority children but stuck by their “our pool couldn’t accomodate the large number of children” defense, even though the President of the club wrote a letter that included a comment that there was a concern that the children would change the “complexion” of the pool.

Not only do these blatantly racist acts continue to happen, but they insult our intelligence with these lame defenses. Usually the defenses aren’t much better, but they’re short just one requirement of qualifying as a racist act and the perpetrators know this. To keep someone out of your club based on dress code is a regularly used tactic to prevent people of a certain demographic from coming in, all the while keeping everything just right of wrong.

Don’t get me wrong — sometimes required dress is important. It helps an establishment maintain a certain level of clientele. Some restaurants have dress codes, it seems every club in DC has a dress code (regardless of target clientele), hell, even Morehouse is implemeting a dress code for it’s students. But what does it say when your dress code systematically leaves out only one race of people? Does it mean only one race of people have an issue with dress, or does it mean your dress code is problematic?

As a note, the club is claiming that they take these allegations seriously and have already begun revisiting their policies as well as the training of their employees. I hope the students at Washington University also take it seriously to stay on top of this, or it will become yesterday’s news before today is over, like so many other similar situations.


October 26, 2009 - Posted by | News, Oh the ignorance of the world, Thank-you racist people

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