Many people lauded the election of Barack Obama as the sign that America was finally post-racial. We had arrived at the completion of Dr. King's dream of a colorblind society where a black man could gawk at a white women's boobs without fear of discrimination at his local strip club.
A sign excluding black people from a future [strip club] is enraging some people in a small town. Now, the Wisconsin man who put it up is speaking out. It's a sign generations of people may have never seen. Yet a Clark County business man says it's his right to discriminate.
Federal and State law says if the business is open to the public, prohibiting people based on race is illegal. If the man's proposed gentlemen's club was going to be a private club, then an African American historian says he could discriminate. Legalities aside, his is a sign that many say is appalling.
"If I've got a problem with you it's going to be on the front of my store," says Mark Prior. Prior posted his 'No Negros Allowed' sign after he says he had some problems with black people in the past and needed to make a policy against them."I'm going to stick to my guns because I think I have the right as a business owner to reject service to anyone. It's not all the black people there are just a few bad ones," Prior says of his problems in the past. Prior wants to open a gentlemen's club in a building next to the Abbotsford city hall and library. He says he moved his sign inside after someone with the city asked him to remove it.
People in Abbotsford say it's a sign they don't welcome in their town. But, Prior says it's his right as an American and as a business owner to decide who's welcome; a right he says he'll take all the way to court if he has to. "That's the policy. I'm going to stick to my guns," Prior says. ...
He also said it's not just black people he's going to ban from his future establishment. He says he has a problem with certain white people as well, but he couldn't just put a lengthy list of names on his building so he felt 'No Negros Allowed' was the best policy.
Never mind the fact that Prior's sign ("No Negro's Allowed") is grammatically incorrect to comically epic proportions. Never mind the fact that businesses which discriminate against patrons on the basis of color are in direct violation of the Civil Rights Act Of 1964. Never mind how silly it is for Prior to state that he's not racist because he doesn't want unruly whites at his club either, but didn't have enough poster board to write a sign prohibiting them from entry specifically by name. Nope, never mind any of that.You know what really jumped out at me about this sad story?
Who in the heck thinks it's a good idea to build a strip club next to the public library?!? That's just bad for business. Stay classy, Wisconsin.
Personally, I (as usual) blame the Tea Party. When then-Senate candidate Rand Paul stated his disdain for the federal government forcing the Civil Rights Act on states, I knew we as a country were headed down a steep slope towards utter stupidity. The fact that few in the GOP admonished Paul for such a statement was glaring. The fact that Kentuckians just sent Paul to the U.S. Senate for the next 6 years, by a wide margin over his competitor, is even more glaring.
I'm willing to bet Mr. Prior stole a page from this playbook, all in the name of advancing his narrow minded agenda of, well, personally I have no idea what his agenda is. In a town this small (population: 1,956), I can't imagine that its 0.15% African American population is causing so much ruckus that he felt the need to systematically disenfranchise brothers from makin' it rain on them pros. Even if this were legal, it would probably just be a stupid business move either way.
It's time for people to learn that in America, in addition to freedoms we have laws in place to prevent African Americans from discrimination in the business arena -- as workers or as customers. "Freedom" does not mean "freedom to discriminate."
Then again, maybe Prior just wanted to make a statement. And thanks to the aforementioned Civil Rights Act, the Federal Government will make a statement of its own that I'm sure Prior won't like.
Grand Opening. Grand Closing.
(Via Clutch Magazine)
Jay Anderson is a freelance writer from Washington, DC, whose work has been featured in the Washington Post and on NPR. When he's not busy talking smack here, he runs the award-winning blog AverageBro.com. Follow him via Twitter @AverageBro.