A Sacramento, California, bar is catching heat over its new dress code — a policy critics say unfairly targets African-Americans.
BarWest, a popular burger joint and bar in the city’s midtown area, recently announced the new rules with a sign posted outside its establishment. On it, the restaurant said that sweatpants, baggy clothing, grills and “gang colors,” among other apparel, were no longer allowed after 10 p.m.
Critics have taken issue with the new policy, however, calling it flat out racist.
“Sounds like a modern day whites only pub,” one woman wrote on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “POC (people of color) should really look elsewhere for somewhere more inclusive. Apparently the vibe and atmosphere they are trying to create isn’t inclusive to POC. Especially if wear chains, grills, track pants, baggy pants, solid color clothing, or are a ‘gang banger’ (what do they even look like). Definitely crossing them off my list of places to see in Cali.”
Another patron was equally offended, writing: “The dress code policy the establishment has is garbage. Not only is it offensive but the leadership in charge show the lack of cultural diversity. No matter the color of skin these requirements target a ‘certain group.’ “
“Take down your prejudice sign,” a fellow customer chimed in, saying he was calling for a boycott of the bar over it’s “obviously prejudiced sign.”
Sonia Lewis, an activist with Black Lives Matter Sacramento, told local station CBS 13 that the chapter used to hold meetings at the popular eatery and has had to talk with management before about its service to patrons of color.
While some were shocked by the sign, Lewis said she wasn’t.
“How could they be taking steps backward was my first reaction,” she told the outlet. “But like I said, I’m not surprised. It’s very much indicative of the midtown experience.”
Others, like customer Jolinda Broadway, were confused by the bar’s stringent rules, particularly the one about “gang colors.”
“Gang colors — what does that mean?” said Broadway. “I worked in a middle school. Yellow was for one gang, brown was for another, red and blue were taken, so what does that mean?”
Not everyone was upset by the sign, though. One patron enjoying a drink at the bar over the weekend argued that it’s the restaurant owner’s right to implement a dress code if he/she sees fit.
If they want to keep a certain vibe and image, they have the right to do that,” he told CBS 13. “And if someone wants to wear joggers, they can go somewhere else.”
The restaurant addressed the backlash Thursday explaining that the “new” dress code has been in place for seven years and may be a bit outdated.
“We’re listening to these comments and reassessing what maybe an out dated dress code to see how it can be changed,” the pub wrote in a statement. “It was never our intent to have this kind of response it was only our intent to provide a safe environment for our guests.”
“We appreciate all the support we are seeing from the people that know us and know we welcoming to all,” it added.
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