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Smart Living Protest planned for Saturday after uproar over dress codes at Evansville bars

05:10  13 june  2020
05:10  13 june  2020 Source:   courierpress.com

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. — A peaceful protest has been organized for Saturday in front of KC’s Time Out Lounge after people took to social media to discuss what they felt was unfair treatment at some local bars.

a close up of a sign: The original dress code for KC's Time Out Lounge is shown on the left, with a new version of the rules listed on the right. In addition to updating the terms, the operators have pledged to uniformly enforce the dress code in response to concerns about perceived profiling. © Brook Endale (left) and Facebook screen capture (right). The original dress code for KC's Time Out Lounge is shown on the left, with a new version of the rules listed on the right. In addition to updating the terms, the operators have pledged to uniformly enforce the dress code in response to concerns about perceived profiling.

The conversation surrounding dress codes at local bars centered on the ones owned and operated by Kerry Chesser and Chad Brady.

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The establishments include KC’s Time Out Lounge, Bud's Rockin' Country Bar & Grill, Marina Pointe and KC’s Corner Pocket.

Various individuals on social media spoke out about how they felt the dress codes at those establishments profiled individuals and often led to minorities being denied entry.

An original organizer for the Saturday protest, Jaycob Stewart-Givens, said as the recent protest movement ushered in a larger conversation on systemic racism, it’s made more people willing to speak out.

“One thing we’ve noticed, and it’s been a problem for a number of years, is that Black and Hispanic people tend to be profiled and denied entry to bars that KC owns and we want to acknowledge and change this problem. That way we can work on fixing it,” Stewart-Givens said.

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He described the dress code in question as outdated and said it targeted items stereotypically associated with Black people.

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The original dress code posted outside of KC’s Timeout Lounge reads “no pants below the waistline, no cuts/colors, so saggy/baggy clothing, hats must be worn forwards, no plain white T’s, no sleeveless shirts, no 'do rags,' no long chains and no athletic wear.”

When speaking with the Courier & Press last week, Chesser and Brady said the dress codes are not racist but a way to ensure safety.

"We like everybody to look nice when they come in. We want to prevent weapons, fights, and keep everything organized," Brady said.

He said in past they've had fights break out between biker gangs, which is why they don't allow cuts/colors and hats must be worn straight forwards because wearing them at certain angles can signify gang affiliation.

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Brady also said long chains weren't allowed because people who came in wearing large chains could potentially use them as a weapon.

The ban on athletic wear, plain white shirts, and pants below the waistline is to ensure people look nice, he said.

On Thursday, the owners of Time Out made a Facebook Post in response to the planned protest and comments on social media. They put out an updated dress code and said they're training their staff to ensure no one will be allowed entry that violates the code.

Related Facebook post

Shared from Facebook

The updated dress code essentially lists the same rules, such as not allowing plain white t-shirts and athletic wear. New additions include, "no clothing with inflammatory or extreme statements including racial, social, political or otherwise."

That addition seems to be related to an alleged incident that happened last Saturday at Marina Pointe.

Tiffany Goins said she tried to enter Marina Pointe wearing a “Black Lives Matter” shirt, at which point one of the security guards asked another employee if they were allowing shirts like hers inside.

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She says she was eventually told her she couldn’t come in with that shirt, so she went to her car and put on a different shirt on top.

“I wouldn’t have been bothered by the whole situation until I saw another girl wearing a 'Justice for Corey' shirt. I didn’t know Corey, but I was irritated why I couldn’t wear my shirt that was asking for justice, but she could,” Goins said.

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Stewart-Givens said since originally planning to protest, he's sat down and talked with Brady and Chesser. He said he is satisfied with the updates and doesn't plan to protest anymore.

"I feel like some people are missing the point. Some people are saying the dress code is still racist, I disagree with that. I do see how people could perceive that as a racist dress code, but there are certain reasons why some of those styles are prohibited from the bar," Stewart-Givens said.

He said the main issue was people were being profiled and denied entry, so the solution is to make the dress code known and uniformly enforced so it will be applied to everyone equally.

However, Ebon Ellis, who joined as a protest organizer, said he is still going through with his planned demonstration from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. outside KC's Time Out Lounge at 1121 Washington Square. Ellis emphasized it will be a peaceful protest.

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“We’ve been denied entry into those clubs for years because of the color of our skin," Ellis said. "White people will wear sweatpants, but people of a different ethnicity will wear the same sweatpants and get denied, get told they must go home. It doesn’t apply to everyone."

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Dress codes similar to the one in question have stirred up debate over the years in bars across the country, as some people argue the listed rules play on stereotypes, and due to implicit bias, aren't enforced the same across races.

Reuben A. Buford May, a sociologist, conducted a study in 2018 to answer the question: Do bouncers at clubs enforce dress codes equally across races?

He found that Black men were two times as likely to be rejected from nightclubs than white men while wearing the same type of clothing.

Edward Maddox of Evansville said he’s had negative experiences at Time Out.

“The bars in Evansville have a dress code, however, I think the KC's group of locations seem to be very targeted. No jewelry, no jerseys, no caps. It seems very specific, and even when they say they enforce it on everyone, I have witnessed the opposite to be true,” Maddox said.

He said earlier this year, while at Time Out he went to the bar to get a drink and was told, “hood on, not serving you.”

Maddox said he took his hood off, and the bartender came back and said, ”okay Hip Hop, what would you like?"

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As for the event Saturday night, Phil Smith, EPD acting spokesman, said the police department is monitoring the planned protest for Saturday.

"We are aware of it and are monitoring it. We are fully aware it's happening. I'm not willing to reveal what (plans) we have in place but we are aware of it," Smith said.

This article originally appeared on Evansville Courier & Press: Protest planned for Saturday after uproar over dress codes at Evansville bars

Whole Foods employee says workers were sent home for refusing to remove anti-racism shirts, as the company faces protests over its dress code policy .
Whole Foods told Business Insider that its dress code policy prohibits clothing with visible message that are not company-related. If you're a Whole Foods employee, contact this reporter at hpeterson@businessinsider.com.Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.A Connecticut Whole Foods store prohibited a group of its employees on Saturday from wearing shirts printed with the phrase, "racism has no place here," an employee said of the store.

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