The Electric Commentary

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Racism in Lala-land

Three Madison bars are being accused of racism for enforcing dress codes that prohibit patrons from wearing sports jerseys, athletic wear and bandanas. One of the three also bans sleeveless t-shirts, hats not facing forwards or backwards, wave caps and headbands. A group of students held a meeting to decide on a plan of action and resolved to picket the bars this Friday night. They will be handing out fliers with information about their cause and trying to get people to go to different bars for the night.

Jon Okonek, the owner of Johnny O's and Madison Avenue, two of the bars implementing the new dress code had this to say:

"How can you be racist against an article of clothing? We turn away 100 white people to every one African-American person." He added, "We have no problem with the persons themselves. What we want to eliminate is a bunch of people coming in here looking like they just came from a basketball game. I don't think you go out on a weekend night in a sweat suit."

The term "racist" is being used far far to liberally in this case. It is becoming a term that people use when they have no real argument. They just don't like something and can cite no real reason not to like it so they label it as racist. We live in a time when nobody wants to be labeled a racist. Especially in Madison, Wisconsin. However, racism is discrimination based on race. It is the belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.

Here's a little racism quiz:

Which of the following actions exhibits a belief that race accounts for differences in human character?
(a) not allowing people into a bar based on what they are wearing regardless of race or skin color.
(b) believing that certain items of clothing are "white people clothes" and certain other items of clothing are "black people clothes."

So who wants to protest the protest with me? On second thought, maybe I'll just go have a beer at Madison Avenue.

(Hat tip Ann Althouse)

UPDATE: I went to Johnny O's for a beer last night around 11:30. I didn't see any picketing going on but was told that they were there earlier. The group was mostly white hippies. Apparently there were more black people waiting in line to get in than there were protesting. Hey Madison, what should we protest next!?!?

UPDATE #2: Texas Scott has the play by play of the protest here.

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