Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Dogs & Niggers Will Not Be Served

So I went to New York City weekend before last, to meet up with S, who was visiting from London, and some other friends. And after we had eaten our fill at a cozy place down the street, we went to a pub called Uncle Ming's, at 225 Avenue B. And one of their bar-tenders not only refused to serve my friend R, but even gave us his "reason" for the same: "I'm racist, what will you do?"

Not only that, when N argued with him about this incident, he actually called the bouncer to evict N from the premises. Upon which, we all followed N down the stairs behind the bouncer, talking loudly about racial discrimination.

And here's the next twist: there were actually cops standing on the stairs, listening to us tell the bouncer what had happened, hearing the term "racial discrimination" over and over again.

Test question, to see if you know what the world is about: Did the bouncer, on hearing the story, or the cops, on over-hearing the story, ask us to go back inside? Did they apologise? Did they, as a matter of fact, do anything?

If you answered "yes", you're sadly naive. Nobody did anything.

And, eventually, neither did we. Our objective was to make the most of our evening, and our priorities elsewhere. It did leave a bad taste in our mouth though, that hasn't entirely gone away. Perhaps because we let it slide too. Perhaps we should have done something, though I'm not entirely sure what.

Any ideas?


Itineranting said...

For starters, narrate this to all, so like minded individuals will avoid the place.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Find out which part of the administration deals with their license. Write to them. Fix an appointment. Tell the media - write to the NYT if possible. Post on Craigslist. Make a noise.

See my post of 1st November ... get what I mean?


akr said...

this is appalling, progs. Deeply disgusting. JAP coversmost of the bases, I suppose- just make sure you do some of them please. Really. write to anyone of any import regarding this, and definitely try to get it into the papers- easier said than done of course.

I am sickened.

akr said...

i'm curious- is R an Indian or african-american?

Ph said...

You should speak to a Manager or the owner.

Ph said...

And then do all the things JAP suggested.

progga said...

AKR: R is Ripun.

Thanks for your suggestions; will figure out what I can do. Ph: Couldn't find a "management" option on their website. It: You have summed up part of the whole point of the post. JAP: post on craigslist? (scratching head) under what?

Anirban said...

I'm shocked beyond belief... maybe it's more shocking because Ripun is one of the nicest and most intelligent people I know. That someone like him should face the prejudice of an ignorant bigot, that this neanderthal can believe that he is superior because of the colour of his skin is stunning.

Make this an issue Proggs, don't let it lie.

Anonymous said...


Email the poor sadwit and tell them you're not coming back


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately there is very little that can be done. Private establishments have the right to refuse service to anyone. Private clubs can refuse admission to anyone. Private bodies can set their own rules for their members/customers. It is the same principle that allows Augusta National to ban women members, and Bob Jones University to ban inter-racial dating. That's why there was nothing the cops could have done.
As a principle, this right of private choice should be upheld. In practice...stay away from the effing place and tell everyone you know to do the same.

progga said...

Anon, I understand what you mean about principle. The thing is, it's not the bar's principle, since the other bar-tender was serving the rest of us. It's this one guy, who (it appears to me) was taking out his own grudges / prejudices on R. And if it's a policy and a choice, let them say so at the outset - put up a sign outside or something. But no, that's politically incorrect, right? You get my drift?

akr said...

totally get that, progga. The point is that whether the establishment as a whole believes it or not, they're going to get rogered for saying so publicly (which they wont of course), so the more people know about this, the more they are going to look like totall shits

Maverick said...

It's real sad to know this.

It just shows the shallowness of their feeble intellect in letting "colour of a skin" come before their judgement or logic.

And just being politically correct is not enough. Doing something for the heck of it aint doint it the right way.

Somethings are to be felt right from inside.

Popat said...

Ever shocking, but if it makes sense, not surprising, Progga. Its the unfortunate soft underbelly of expat living.

From your description, you handled it a lot more calmly than I can ever claim to have. And you salvaged what you could (if you could) of your evening. Well done.

Jim said...

Your friend's civil rights were violated.

Anonymous said "Private establishments have the right to refuse service to anyone." That was true a long time ago, but since the birth of Civil Rights in this country, this statement is not correct at all.

According to NY Law (specifically, NY CLS Civ R § 40):

"All persons within the jurisdiction of this state shall be entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any places of public accommodations, resort or amusement, subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons."


"No person...shall directly or indirectly refuse...any [] accommodations...to any person on account of race, creed, color or national origin, etc.".

This applies to "inns, taverns, road houses, hotels," among other establishments.

I am not a lawyer, merely a first-year law student. But two minutes on the internet gives you the law which clearly identifies what you've described as a violation of a NY civil rights statute (Article 4, Section 40).

I'm not sure you would be able to sue on this (emotional damages? money spent at the next, more expensive bar?), but I'd be happy to print this information out for you if you head back there to speak with a manager. It might also be nice to reference the statute if you are posting on Craigslist or NY Times.

You should also contact the NY ACLU, as this is the sort of thing they are actively combating on a state level. I agree with Anirban's comment, these sorts of things shouldn't be ignored or taken on the chin.

Best of luck to you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the email - Anon. I sent them a stinker. Now to wait for a reply, if any.


SocratesBlack said...

Thank you for this post. I am 3000 miles away on the other coast and had a similar problem. See "Hey Nigger" on my site. If it were still the sixties, we would have fire bombed the place, fortunately some of us have grown up.


progga said...

Thanks, Jim, that certainly provides the background. There's no intent to sue - but I do want to take it to the restaurant's management.
Here's what I'll be doing:
a. emailing the restaurant (thanks, Anon)
b. Writing about it to the papers with relevant statutes (thanks, Jim) I'm not sure what good this'll do, but it's worth a shot.
c. Writing to organizations that publish restaurant guides and reviews.

Besides all of this, I'm hoping you'll help me spread the word around.