There are always those last second concerns that go through a person’s head when they are about to go out to the club. Some may include… What will I wear? Should I skip my 8:05 class in the morning? I wonder if it is going to be free before 11:00 again? These are pretty typical thoughts. Worrying that you might be publicly discriminated against…not so typical. It is an experience that no one should have to go through, but people do. I did this past weekend and I would like to share my experience with you.
This past weekend my roommate invited me out to the club “LC’s” Downtown. I heard from friends that it was a predominantly white club, which should not matter because I was out to have a good time regardless of the demographics of the club. We took the Wolf Prowl bus service to the club, and became friends with another group of student on the bus. As a group we exited the bus and made our way to the club. I was one of the first people to enter and eagerly awaited my friends’ arrival. We were all about to enter the club when I noticed that one of our companions was missing. I went back outside and noticed he was standing out of the line talking to one of the three bouncers. I walked over to him and asked why he was not joining us. “Apparently I don’t meet the dress code, I think it’s because I’m black.” He sighed. “What, no way! I’m sure that’s not the case,” I tried to assure him. “No look, I didn’t believe it either, just look.” I paused and observed the crowd. The next person up for entry approached the bouncer. He was wearing a striped polo, khakis, flip flops, and had white skin.“Can I please see your ID?” demanded the bouncer, “Thank you, have a good night.” The next guy was wearing a striped polo, khakis, flip flops, but unlike the first guy who was white, had brown skin… “Sorry you don’t meet dress code, I’m sorry but please step out of line.”
I stood beside my friend a few more seconds before approaching one of the bouncers for questioning. “I’ve noticed that you haven’t been letting the majority of the African American men into the club. “ I said. The bouncer then said, “The only people we are not letting in the club are people that don’t meet the dress code, it’s a private party so tonight dress code is especially strict.” I stood beside the reluctant interviewee a few more minutes observing the crowd. “Why didn’t he get in when he was wearing the exact same thing as that other guy?” I thought to myself . Finally in his frustration, the bouncer blurted out “We have the right to be selective”. In my astonishment I could only muster a simple “Selective?” He quickly averted his eyes toward the sky as if desperately searching for a response before engaging in hurried conversation with the cop insuring the ‘order’ of the crowd. I was angry, angrier than I have been in a while. I looked around at the minorities. Some unknowing, some hurt, some angry;all discriminated against. Some were gathered around the entrance before quickly being dismissed by the cop, while others made their way up to the ESS Lounge, another club up the street. There was a crime being committed. For some reason when I think of crime I thought of 911. Then I thought of the cop standing there, observing this act of discrimination, allowing this, not doing a single thing! Throughout my life I have been exposed to many different kinds of racism ranging from subliminal racist remarks to un-ethical jokes directly or indirectly against me or my peers, but this was by far an all time low. This was a nightmare, it was so un-real to me.
I stood there immobilized with emotions until my friends, equally disgusted, suggested we go back home on the bus. I didn’t want to go. I wanted to riot. I wanted to do something…anything. “I need to do something about this, I can’t let this go, I won’t let this go,” I told my friends. They were supportive but at the same time, they insisted that giving in to your anger would only make things worse, and that they’re other more effective ways I could handle the situation than acting hostile here. They were right. I was not going to change anything by lashing out. Absolutely appalled, I followed my friends back to the bus. As I sat there an overwhelming emotion swept over me. Disgust. I detested the cop, the bouncers, but above all I detested the crowd. The crowd, composed of people that were aware of the situation and dismissed it because it wasn’t their problem. They weren’t black so why should they care? They didn’t have a friend that couldn’t gain entrance because of the color of his skin so why should they care, but it’s this selfishness that allows racism to live on today. There are so many crises going on today. Gglobal warming, poverty, diminished natural resources, unemployment, and diseases are just a couple that pop into my head. People are barely making enough money to feed themselves and provide for their families, why should oppression even be a factor. I don’t believe it should. It’s 2009. Is it not about time that people start recognizing that the color of one’s skin is not a determining factor for the value of a person’s worth?