23 thoughts on “X-Lounge Bars Sikhs”

  1. WHAT!?!?!

    They will be out of business by the end of the year. This is CHARLOTTESVILLE VA. You can’t get away with that kind of racism and discrimination here. Charlottesville will boycott the X Lounge and meanwhile the owners will be sued into bankruptcy.

    Morons. What total morons.

  2. Even if they apologized, they should still be boycotted. Racism and discrimination cannot be tolerated at any level. For me, the apology only came because they got caught and now don’t want to loose business. It doesn’t change the fact that they did discriminate.

  3. I do wonder what some people would think is appropriate punishment for what happened. Clearly, it seems an apology is not enough. Does the manager need to be fired for being ignorant of the customs of Sikhism? Does the entire business have to go under because of two people (the doorman and manager)? Maybe the whole Downtown Mall should be razed.

    Seriously, though, what is enough?

    I think we’ve all seen employees of businesses make dumb mistakes from time to time. If a business were forced to close every time an employee (even a manager or owner) made a dumb mistake, I don’t think we’d have any businesses left to do business with. And if an employee was fired every time they made a dumb mistake, I don’t think there would be many employees either.

    Personally, I’m a bit hesitant to scream, “RACISM!,” at this. I consider myself well versed in how racism can manifest itself as I have served on diversity committees going all they way back to high school and I can easily see this being a case of a doorman and manager being ignorant of the customs of Sikhism (do YOU know all the customs? I sure don’t). In fact, I would wager a guess that the far majority of Americans don’t even realize what a turban represents and that asking someone to remove it is akin to asking a woman to take off her shirt. If the employees truly are ignorant of these customs, then this could VERY easily be the result of them following the rules they were given to the absolute letter of the “law.”

    Ignorant? Yes. Racist? I highly doubt it. While all racists are most certainly ignorant, not everybody who is ignorant of other cultures is racist.

    Besides, if this was an issue of racism, then why were any of the students allowed in? Wouldn’t they have all looked the same to a racist and been denied entry for one reason or another? I’m sure a true racist could make up SOMETHING to deny them entry for.

    Personally, I think the rule is stupid and should be done away with, especially since “at times this policy has created difficult situations.” I can’t imagine a “no head covering” policy actually does anything about gang violence or whatever it’s supposed to be preventing.

  4. I think everyone fails to remember that a restaurant can refuse service to anyone for any reason they choose. The X-Lounge is a private business and can do what they want. If they wanted to say all patrons must wear a suit they could.

  5. Seriously, though, what is enough?

    I’m left wondering the same thing.

    I think everyone fails to remember that a restaurant can refuse service to anyone for any reason they choose. The X-Lounge is a private business and can do what they want.

    Not true. It is illegal for private businesses to discriminate against protected classes. So while a restaurant can require that somebody wear a suit, they cannot require that somebody be able to walk without the aid of a cane, be Jewish, be white, be between the ages of 32 and 41, or not have served in the military. This is a result of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act, all of which were put in place to end just that sort of discrimination. Otherwise, Jim Crow would be alive and well.

  6. Restaurants have a right to turn away customers. The public has a right to refuse to patronize a restaurant. And no, an apology is not sufficient unless there is a real effort to make amends,which is accepted by those who were wronged,such as inviting the group back for a free event.
    The wearing of particular garments is part of many religions. And only an idiot would not realize the party in the restaurant was not a gang!

  7. This reminds me a little of the Ryan Moats incident in Texas–the inflexibility of “rules are rules, there is no room for judgment” approach.

    I like Gail’s idea of the free event for the Indian Student Association to show a sincere commitment to making amend — that would look better than the standard “we’re sorry if we offended, it was not our intent” non-apology.

    And yeah, Adam — wrong. Not for “any reason they choose.”

  8. Gail, Waldo is definitely right on this. Please recall Woolworth lunch counter sit-ins, etc. You might be thinking of signs that say “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” Those were racist backlash after the laws on public accommodations came in, back 50 years ago or so. The signs could not make illegal discrimination legal.

  9. Colfer, I don’t think you read Gail’s whole answer carefully enough… she seems to be on the side of the Sikh.

  10. From the Charlottesville City Schools ELEMENTARY School Handbook:

    “Examples of prohibited clothing include, but are not limited to: sagging or low-cut pants, low-cut necklines that show cleavage, tube tops, halter tops, backless blouses or blouses with only ties in the back, clothing constructed of see-through materials, and head coverings unless required for religious or medical purposes.”

    This meant that from the age of 5, my pale-skinned child was not allowed to wear a hat to mitigate against sunburn during recess & walking field trips. Wanna get outraged: yell at CCS for silliness.

    A restaurant at 1:30am trying to make sure that, 30 minutes before closing, they don’t have an incident and making a comparatively mild mistake about what might constitute religious attire should be excused. If this particular Sikh was so very interested in socializing with compatriots — wouldn’t they have arrived, what, three-and-a-half hours earlier when the gathering began?

  11. Oniss, why on earth would any reasonably intelligent bouncer seriously think that allowing a Sikh into the restaurant would lead to an “incident”? You’re suggesting that the bouncer was in fact confused and thought that this was sincerely a piece of gang headgear and that if he was allowed in there would be a gang war? Seriously?

  12. Thanks Cecil. I think Waldo and I were writing about the same time and I had not read his comment while writing mine. I am not very clear about Va private property laws but I certainly recognize discrimination when I read about it! Of course, I am completely sympathetic to the man who was denied entrance to a restaurant, where he was joining a group, for no legitimate reason. I do think apologies are becoming too easy a way to escape consequences where more substantial amends are called for.

  13. oniss,

    I quit high school in 11th grade when my school (out in the Shenandoah Valley) tried to suspend me for wearing a plain, wool cap on a day when it was cold in the building and the heat wasn’t on. ’twas simply the last straw for me…

    (Clearly a gang-banger, I wound up going to the Naval Academy a few years later. And I now home-school my own kids.)

  14. Cecil, I am only disputing this: “Restaurants have a right to turn away customers.” It’s limited by civil rights of course but that does not seem to be common knowledge?????

  15. They were hosting an Indian Student Association event at the restaurant that night. Even if the bouncer and manager were clueless, the president of the club explained that the student’s religion required him to wear the turban when he was first denied entry.

    I could be wrong, but the apology seemed to come when the club officers rallied the rest of the CIOs at UVa to boycott the restaurant.

  16. Am I mistaken or wasn’t there an Indian Student Association event going on… would a turban be totally unexpected?

  17. I can only imagine that the X Lounge applies their stringent dress code no matter what. I mean if Dave Matthews or John Grisham showed up late one night sporting a baseball cap, I am sure they would be denied entry by the bouncer and/or manager.
    This is not about cultural insensitivity. No!

  18. Landers…
    Paalease! The patrons on X-Lounge pride themselves on their ability to be snarky, not social awareness. There will not be a blip on the sales of the joint.

    Maybe they thought eagle feathers were showing.

    Zero tolerance is zero. Ask any kid suspended for having tylenol on their backpack.

    And what if they allowed in the Indian and then tossed the black guy with the sideways baseball hat (where do they buy those anyway? Everyone I find goes right out front on my head?) THEN they have a lawsuit on their hands.

  19. danpri, why would blacks be at a function for Indians? Why would the black man have to wearing a hat pulled to the side. Was the bouncer wearing a hat? What is “snark?” Could a white man wear a hat inside? Why don’t you simply say what you mean?

  20. What is “snark?”

    I like the definition of “snark” used in the description of David Denby’s new book of that title:

    What is snark? You recognize it when you see it — a tone of teasing, snide, undermining abuse, nasty and knowing, that is spreading like pinkeye through the media and threatening to take over how Americans converse with each other and what they can count on as true. Snark attempts to steal someone’s mojo, erase her cool, annihilate her effectiveness. […] Snarkers like to think they are deploying wit, but mostly they are exposing the seethe and snarl of an unhappy country, releasing bad feeling but little laughter.

    Snark has become the default mode for many bloggers. Snark is why I hesitate to use the word “blogger” to describe myself, because people who do not know me or my blogs will think that I’m one of those jerks. Snark is precisely the opposite of what I’ve tried to cultivate here.

  21. Thanks danpri for using “snark” and thanks Waldo for the quote. It is savory and delicious. I’ve fed on it twice. I just hope I can remember it.

  22. Just an aside to thank you for the Denby quote as well, Waldo. We also have tried to remove the term “blog” from what we do at Charlottesville Tomorrow for the same reasons you’ve described.

Comments are closed.