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Nadra Kareem Nittle

Kentucky Restaurant Refuses to Host African-American Event

By December 22, 2012

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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.




December 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm
(1) james says:

To be fair Nadra, the only difference with the lounge in Ky. and our lounge here in Cincinnati, is that owner went ‘public’ about his discrimination. My place is in a majority Black neiborhood, but there are a good number of Whites. Whenever a White comes in, my Black customers stare them down until they feel uncomfortable and soon leave and they don’t come back. I don’t like it, but if I object, I know that I’ll lose most of my Black customers. The truth is, and we all know this, if we don’t want Whites around, we just act hostile and they soon get the idea.We can’t demand they treat us right if we won’t do the same.

December 29, 2012 at 1:11 pm
(2) Robert says:

Hi Nadra…

This kind of behavior still cuts deep…

James… I get what you are saying…. when I went to college (All those years ago), my friend Susan H stopped me on day during lunch and noted that she and I were the only mixed race table in the entire lunch room.

But individual patrons and students deciding who they want to be with is one thing… a business establishment blocking people from using the facilities based on race is illegal.

Lastly, I am a gay male… and I went to a lesbian bar years ago with a lesbian friend of mine… I got those stares… but didn’t leave… and as a white gay guy… I have been to african american gay dance clubs and got those stares… and I ignored them…

again that is different than be barred at the door…

February 13, 2014 at 6:40 pm
(3) Ann says:

The restaurant owner should have the right!!! to serve who ever he wants in his restaurant I support the owner 100%. you go Makeer’s Mark
Bourban House and lounge. Stand Your Ground and fight that law suit.

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