I was inspired to write this particular post based on a nagging feeling that simply would not go away. The issue dominated my conversations for weeks. And finally, when a man who I respect dearly expressed a similar sentiment, I knew that it was time to capture my thoughts.
Uptown Dallas, the“first live-work-play environment of Dallas,” is typically a lively place with bars and eateries lining the streets. Happy hours, outdoor patios, and music make it a great place to turn up or turn down for upwardly mobile folks or for those who have already arrived. However, my recent visit to Uptown revealed other aspects that are worth spending some time on.
First, the overwhelming majority of patrons are non-black and second, many business owners make it clear that they want to keep it that way. My guy friends have even joked that there is a black person limit. That may seem like an exaggeration but from what I witnessed recently, that joke is laced with truth.
The discrimination I witnessed was primarily directed at black males. On one night in particular, I was in line at one of the more popular clubs and the door men loudly exclaimed that they were not letting anyone else in every time a group of black men approached the door. I thought they were kidding until one bouncer shouted that we should get out of line and go home. Ironically, when I walked down the street to another popular club , I encountered a black male annoyed by his treatment at that establishment. He ranted about the racist nature of the door man and called their excuse about his attire no meeting the dress code “bullshit.” I eyed this man and he was dressed well (fitted dark jeans, hard bottoms, and a button down.) Alternately, I glanced at the group of white boys entering the club in beach-like attire (tanks, flip-flops and shorts.) Side eye for real.
Me and my sorority sister shook our heads and walked away. We noticed that a line had formed again at the original place we were trying to get into. I had NO desire to enter the club but I needed to get my car keys from a friend who was already in there. Tragic! So, we stood in line again observing and listening to the conversations around us. Once again, a group of black males were ahead of us. They went back and forth discussing the odds of them getting in. I could not understand why anyone would want to go into a place and spend money were they are blatantly not welcomed simply because of the color of their skin.
Anyway, just when I thought the night could not get any worse a white girl passing by on the sidewalk stopped and pressed the black toy gun in her hand into the chest of a tall black man behind us. Her words stunned me and I damn near lost it when she pulled the trigger and said matter-of-factly “we kill black people.” The smile she wore made it seem like she had just given him a compliment. He smiled in a way that was hard to read…. maybe in shock or shame. She stumbled off while all 6 black people nearby gasped. We turned to each other….Wait, did she just say what I thought she said. No way…no fucking way!! Her audacity was sickening. In that moment I knew I would never be back in this area again.
We progressed in line moments later, and once again, the doorman said they were not letting anyone else in. The black guys tried to debate with the 3 doorman and they occasional said something back. But eventually, they simply ignored them and let other people in from the other line. As they shouted that they were at capacity and “we” should get out of line, one of them looked up and me and my sorority sister and asked who we were with. “It is just us,” I said. He removed the rope and let me in. I still felt like shit though. I did not want to be there so I tracked my friend down, got my keys and dipped.
My attitude was sour and my face was probably just as unpleasant. I was not remotely ok with what I had witnessed. Though the discriminatory acts were not directed at me, I was still appalled. After all, I am black and I do not support racism or ignorance. Matter of fact, racial discrimination bothers me no matter what culture or race it is directed toward.
I heard a boycott of the area is in effect. I am not sure who decided to start this but I think it may be a good starting place to address . I have discussed this with my friends and I am sharing here to bring attention to racial discrimination. I know there are people who may not react that way I do to these issues. I know there are people who will still be there this weekend and the next. I know some will say I am over reacting and I am fine with that too.
Others may even read this and immediately hit the Kanye shrug. While others will argue that there are limited social options for “classy” black people in Dallas. So, uptown is your solution?
*I left out historical, social, and political commentary however, it is nearly impossible to evaluate these actions without understanding the past implications of racism in our country.
“EMANICIPATE YOURSELFS FROM MENTAL SLAVERY, NONE BUT OURSELVES CAN FREE OUR MINDS”- BOB MARLEY