Opinions

Roadhouse of discrimination

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Editor, the Gauntlet,

[Re: Discrimination]

I was at the Roadhouse Nightclub on the evening of Thursday, March 9, 2006, at 10:30 p.m. To my disappointment I was turned away at the door because I only had one piece of government issued picture identification (a valid driver's license). I provided my driver's license, my social insurance, my pictured student ID, as well as my Alberta Health Card, but the bouncer refused to let me in. It is to my understanding that yes, these establishments do hold the right to ask for two pieces of picture identification, and hold the right to turn people away, but I feel quite shameful for this particular establishment for not letting me in to celebrate my friend's birthday due to my Asian decent. Is it justified for me to point my finger to racial discrimination in this situation? I gave the bouncer the benefit of the doubt, that he was just upholding the two picture identification rule; however, as I took a couple of steps back from the line and observed him, he was clearly letting males of Caucasian decent in the bar with one piece of government issued picture identification. As I further observed this bouncer, I noticed he was also turning away males of Latino and African decent, who again only carried one piece of government issued picture identification. He went on to use an excuse that the bar was 21 years of age and over and of course at the same time he was letting in Caucasian males of all ages.

Their justification for turning away males of colour is mainly due to security reasons, with the postulation that ethnic males are trouble makers. But is this the case? Are all ethnic people trouble makers? Is it fair to have prejudice against males of ethnic background due to isolated cases? It is my belief that if these bars worry about security, then they should take the appropriate steps to install proper security features. They need to install metal detectors and hire more security guards. If I was the owner of the bar, I would invest money into security rather than lose business to racial discrimination. In the long run, the bar will feel the ripple effects.

Should racial discrimination be happening in our city (or even society)? Although this incident is small, I believe that it carries significant meaning. It highlights the ignorant and uneducated part of our society that causes me much embarrassment. Canada is a country that promotes multiculturalism and diversity, and thrives on the contributions that citizens of different ethnicities bring to our society. Our current and previous governor generals of Canada are of ethnic backgrounds. Nevertheless, stereotypes unfortunately still exist towards people of different colour, and racial discrimination is still happening. Why should we tolerate this? We are an educated society, and thus I am thoroughly disappointed and ashamed that situations such as this occur in our city. If the bouncer was upholding the rules, then he should have consistently IDed all people regardless of ethnicity or gender. This is preposterous and despicable, and should not be tolerated. Up to this point, I have never had any problems getting into any nightclubs, and the Roadhouse--of all places--is the first to turn me away. This incident was definitely a wake up call in the form of a slap in the face. We should not be supporting establishments that use ridiculous policies as a cover for racial discrimination.

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Comments

This has come up in the past. I've experienced it firsthand (albeit not for racial reasons). In my case it was for not meeting the "dress code", and of course I watched several people breaking the same rule get in shortly after me. I had a funny hairstyle at the time. I never much cared, those places really suck anyway.

I understand that some places cater to specific clientele, or would like to have a dress code, or whatever. But where do you draw the line between a 'private club' and discrimination? In some ways, I think places that are granted liquor licenses should be obligated to adhere to non-discriminatory entrance practices. Most of these places keep databases of patrons (by scanning your ID on the way in) and can easily restrict known shitheads from returning, without denying people on the basis of being vietnamese or whatever.