Stories of racial discrimination in venues such as restaurants, bars and nightclubs are becoming entirely too common. Unfortunately, I have another one for you. A Louisville, Ken., establishment called Maker's Mark Bourbon House and Lounge now faces a racial discrimination lawsuit for allegedly refusing to host an event for African-American patrons. On Aug. 17, Andre Mulligan and his brother reportedly spoke to officials at the lounge about hosting a public event there. Representatives of the restaurant proceeded by asking what the ratio of blacks to whites at the event would be. When Mulligan informed them that the event would be for African Americans, lounge officials allegedly told him that he could not hold the event there.
For those not in the know, it's against the law for such an establishment to deny to serve a particular group on the basis of race. Accordingly, Mulligan, his brother and their friends showed up at the restaurant the following night. They allege that bouncers at the lounge denied them entry to the bar, subjected them to abusive language and threatened to have them arrested simply for showing up.
Now Mulligan has filed suit against the lounge and parent company, Cordish Operating Ventures. To boot, a boycott is in the works against Maker's Mark.†Hopefully the suit and the boycott will send a message to businesses that discriminating against clientele on the basis of race is not only illegal but also morally wrong. What especially concerns me about such stories is that usually the African Americans in question do not fit the violent, thug stereotype that so stigmatizes black men. Black college students, churchgoers and working professionals have been singled out for this kind of reprehensible behavior. These incidents signal that, in fact, class and education do not trump race in a country that remains divided by it.