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March 01, 2009

Dress-code ‘discrimination’

I would like to take a minute to thank the American Civil Liberties Union for all their hard work protecting the rights of us citizens. Take the dress code in the Power & Light District (2/26, Local, “Dress-code limits debated; Civil-rights advocates support the planned city ordinance. Business groups worry that it could restrict their rights”). Why do businesses think they have the right to say what I can or can’t wear in their establishment?

In fact, I plan on contacting the ACLU, because I feel I’ve been discriminated against. Why shouldn’t I be able to go in and pay for my gas or buy my groceries without having to worry about wearing shoes? Why can’t I enjoy a burger at my favorite restaurant without being burdened by a T-shirt? All of the businesses with a “no shirt, no shoes, no service ” sign are trampling on my civil rights.

After we take care of this, we can move on to the businesses with the “concealed weapons prohibited” signs. I call discrimination and racism.

Dylan Borns
Grain Valley


Taobao English site

Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.


For those involved and interested:

A pretty good description of a business's right to refuse service.


The Missouri statute related to discrimination.

Also of note that while Missouri does not protect sexual orientation, Kansas City does (according to http://dolir.mo.gov/hr/faq.htm).


It seems to me that the law is already in place to protect discrimination based on race... and that, if the current codes were implemented in such a way that they were intending to discriminate against race then there is no need to debate on the matter - simply file a lawsuit instead.

On the other hand, if the dress codes are not overtly discriminatory against protected classes, implemented fairly and consistently across protected classes and is done for a particular business interest (which is not very restrictive) then there is nothing wrong. Now, the business interest bit basically means whether the particular code is arbitrary or not. Arbitrary can easily be vastly different from one business to another, depending on the type of business.

Honestly, some of the codes seem very arbitrary ('Wearing of ball caps or the manner in which they are worn.') while others might actually make sense for certain businesses ('Length of sleeves or pants being too long.', 'Type of shoes worn.' - I could see both of these being enforceable within a dance club, again - as long as it is done consistently).

What I truly don't understand is why there is any talk about 'publicly subsidized city developments.' Especially when you consider that the business owners are probably not getting public monies, the developers are, unless you consider the public funding to the developers is passed on to the businesses. Still, discriminatory practices are discriminatory no matter who paid for the place... if it's discrimination, it doesn't matter who pays for it.

The best that I can see is that businesses that are not 'open to the public' can discriminate, even along protected classes in many cases... and that there should be such businesses in a publicly funded district. But that's not what this is really about, so the whole publicly funded nonsense seems rather idiotic to me.



Forgive me if I was too harsh in my judgment. There is a huge difference between ripped jeans and the attire they are barring. In my first post here today I said that the district has a right to establish a dress code keeping sloppily dressed individuals out. This is not what their dress code addresses though. The dress code is meant to keep young black males out. This has been repeated numerous times all around the country.

If you haven't yet, please read the comments under any of the dress code articles here in the Star. Not about race? The proof is in the pudding.


solomon - you couldn't be more wrong - about me at least.

Do I have issues with the dress code? Yes. I doubt that I would pass muster on the nights I go to a movie or to Applebee's.

I have been known to wear work boots as a fashion statement. I wear fashionably ripped jeans and "vintage" t-shirts. Apparently my style is not desired by the shop owners at P&L - which is not a problem since I will likely never frequent their establishments.

Unlike you, I don't see this as being racially intolerant as much as it is being culturally intolerant. Blacks, whites and Latinos dress pretty much the same in the urban core - if they are trying to project the same attitude. It's that attitude that P&L is trying to squelch.



You are a prime example of the bigotry, fear and idiocy I'm talking about.

A man goes to a C&W concert at Sprint Center and can wear his $150 cowboy boots into the P&L. Another man goes to a Hip Hop concert at Sprint Center and can't go to the P&L in his $150 Timberlands. Chains hanging beyond a certain length? Does that say criminal to you, or does it say you are uncomfortable and would prefer not to be around black men?

If you look at crime stats during the 90s when whites started staying away from Bannister Mall you'll find they are almost identical to the Oak Park Mall, with car thefts being higher at Oak Park. That is a fact people like you who are frightened if in the minority fail to mention.

BTW, I said in these threads months before the P&L opened that there would be an effort to exclude young black men from the district, just as there has been at many club scenes here and across the nation. You make the excuses I expected. Chucky Cheese? Face it JJ, you are afraid of black men after dark.

Pub 17

Message to Grain Valley:
Shoes and shirts isn't a dress code, it's a health issue where food is sold and served.


You're right, Solomon - Bannister Mall is a huge success and should be emulated. Why not invest millions into a development plan and then allow your customers to be scared off by people wearing gang attire?

... that's what it is by the way - gang attire. The current hip-hop urban look was inspired by the gang-banging rappers and celebs that made it popular. True, if I see a couple people dressed this way at a "Chuckie Cheese" on a Sunday afternoon then they will seem less threatening than if I see them at a bar at midnight.
... that probably explains why there's no ban at Chuckie's.

This whole "outrage" seems imagined to me. If enough people really thought the code was unfair then attendance would drop and the P&L would voluntarily change its policy... that's the way it works in a free country.



Stand in line with all the others who just don't get it.

We all agree that any business has the right to keep out people who are not dressed appropriately. Pants around the bottom of the buttocks, long white tee's and hats turned backwards don't belong.

This ban goes beyond that. It is about race too. Sure, we hear that some white person was turned away for wearing sweatpants or a wife beater, as well they should, but this ban goes beyond that. Young black males, in neat clean clothing in the "urban" style are being turned away because they make white people uncomfortable. All you have to do is look at the opinions under the articles on this issue in the Star and you'll read "thug" this and "thug" that, "We" don't want to lose this district like "We" lost Westport and the Bannister mall.

And this crap about a private business not being able to set a code? Last I read the young money spending black individuals who are turned away so the folks in Grain Valley feel safe to make a visit to the P&L are part of the tax base that allowed the TIF this private business was granted in order to turn a dollar.

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