Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Time for a task force

I like how the Forum handled an e-mail complaint accusing them of ethnic discrimination. The Forum is the latest nightclub to face one of these e-mail campaigns, and like previous accusations this boils down to he said, she said.

In an e-mail last November, member Joe Wind accused a bounce at the club of barring he and his Asian friends from getting in. When the club received the e-mail from Wind describing his experience there, the club's management sent an e-mail apologizing for any "perceived impropriety" and invited Wind to return with friends for a free evening in the VIP area Prive, according to Forum spokesperson Carol Adams. The club did not receive any response from Wind, but the offer still stands, she said. (I have not received a response from Wind either as to whether he plans to accept the offer.)

At a staff meeting, the Forum's management reiterated the clubs desire for diversity and reminded the staff that any sort of discrimination would not be tolerated, Adams said.

Although the club doesn't admit any wrongdoing, they recognize that a patron was upset with the level of service they received, and the club tried to rectify it before Wind's e-mail got a bunch of press.

Still, I'm concerned about the persistent perception that uptown establishments don't welcome ethnic minorities. Whether it's true or not, that perception means when minorities have negative experiences uptown one wonders if skin color played a part in it. On Sunday, Observer writer Gillian Wee writes about her experiences as an Asian in Charlotte. It's not pretty.

You can tell from my previous posts that the issue of how minorities are treated uptown sparks heated debate. Ranting about it on blogs and through e-mails won't solve this problem. I would like to see city leaders form some kind of task force to look at the issue of diversity uptown, from restaurants and bars to the way the city handled the cruisers. Invite people who are black, white, Asian, Hispanic, gay, transgender and anyone else who I've left out to be a member of this task force to identify the problems and solutions. The city should also increase the fine for violating the human relations ordinance. Anything less than $1,000 per incident is laughable.

What do you think? Post your replies below.