It’s well known in the Black community that certain styles of dress, particularly styles created by us, are stigmatized as “thuggish,” “ghetto” or otherwise unbecoming. For example: Around the time Trayvon Martin‘s killing was heavily in the news, there was a national side-discussion around whether or not young Black men were doing themselves any favors by continuing to wear hoodies considering how the article of clothing is often associated with gangsters and thugs.
Often absent from that discussion was an acknowledgment of the fact that hoodies were never exclusively worn by gangsters and thugs as they have also always commonly been worn by regular-degular Negros.
The negative associations and perceptions of Black styles of dress are racist—the end.
So it’s perfectly understandable why people are calling owners of a Texas restaurant racist for displaying a sign that reads, “No saggin of pants or shorts. No durags or wave caps allowed.”
Kimiya Factory, a local activist who serves as executive director of Black Freedom Factory, according to Raw Story, called out San Antonio’s Bentleys Beer Garden and the restaurant’s sign in a tweet earlier this month.
“Looking for a Racist Bar to attend in San Antonio? Bentleys Beer Garden got it covered,” Factory wrote. “Discriminating against Black Hair Products/styles. It’s the anti-blackness for me.”
Reading this tweet, you can almost hear white people collectively groaning their “Why does everything have to be about race?” groans, but those white tears won’t drown out the fact that the restaurant’s sign didn’t include ripped jeans, worn tennis shoes, rugged baseball caps or other things associated with white men who dress down when they’re out. (Also, we’re not just going to ignore the curious AAVE-like dropping of the “g” in the sign’s use of the word “saggin.”)
Factory told the San Antonio Express-News she wanted to share the image because the bar’s policy “targets specific dress styles commonly associated with Black culture.”
“Bars are places that people should be able to go to enjoy themselves and unwind,” she continued. “This kind of sign further marginalizes its patrons that enter that bar and are seeking a safe experience from racism.”
Still, the Restaurant’s manager, E.J. Rodriguez, insists the sign isn’t racist at all.
“We’re not racist by any stretch of the imagination, we just don’t want that at our bars,” Rodriguez told Express-News, adding that he wears wave caps and durags, just not when he’s out on the town.
“They’re not made to come out to the club or to wear in public,” Rodriguez, who has clearly never been to a club in Atlanta his whole life, continued. “They don’t come into our bar because it’s just unacceptable in society today. Period.”
OK calm down bruh—your bougie-a** bar rule isn’t reflective of all of society.
Unless you’re really only talking about white society.
But that would make you racist.