How many ways can a bar indirectly say “black people are unwanted here” before it is seen as a serious problem?
Last Thursday, Taylor Ward attended Reggie’s bar in Tigerland for the first time. The LSU freshman was shocked when she noticed the stamp she received at the door: It spelled out “REGGIN” and when looked at backward, read “N-----.”
Many people in the black community took to Twitter to express their disbelief and disapproval of the stamp. Reggie’s and other Tigerland bars have a track record of discrimination against black patrons. To many, this stamp didn’t come as a surprise.
Some people contemplated whether the stamp was purposefully meant to spell the discriminatory term backward. These people argue many black people are creating a bigger deal than what it is. Others are aware Reggie’s management isn’t the brightest, so it wouldn’t be shocking to them if it happened to be coincidental.
Coincidental or not, Reggie’s management had an opportunity to clear the air. They could’ve addressed the situation by apologizing for the “unintentional” act, but they didn’t.
Even if the stamp wasn’t intended to be racist, the bar’s failure to show any sympathy for their indecency is a problem. Reggie’s could’ve said, “We don’t care if black people feel uncomfortable because we don’t want them here,” and that would’ve sent the same message.
To everyone who continues to defend Reggies’ and believes black people are creating nonexistent problems, you’re wrong.
It’s time for all black people to stop patronizing a bar that continues to display offensive behavior. If Reggie’s Confederate flag or dress code wasn’t enough to stop you from “turning up” there, hopefully its racial stamp did the trick.
Realistically, Reggie’s won’t close down because of the lack of black support. However, it’s the principle — that $5 cover could go toward a more welcoming and accepting establishment. Sending our money elsewhere will show the black community stands in solidarity.
Tigerland is convenient because of its close proximity to campus and the low cover fee. Nevertheless, the conveniences don’t cancel out the discriminatory aspect of the bar.
We can’t stop at discontinuing our support. We need to continue raising awareness to what is happening in the Baton Rouge community.
The LSU community needs to understand black people aren’t expressing their outrage because they want a more comfortable establishment to hangout at. Reggie’s can take down the Confederate flag, change the stamp, remove the dress code and let me in for free for the next 10 years and I still won’t go. They’ve already shown they do not want us in their establishment.
This isn’t frustrating because I’m eager to go into a hot bar that smells like days-old-beer. It’s frustrating because we are repeatedly told we live in a post-racial society and that we’re simply “overreacting.” Incidents like these show otherwise.
Clarke Perkins is a 19-year-old political science sophomore from New Orleans, Louisiana. You can reach her on Twitter @ClarkePerkins.