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March 02, 2009

P&L District dress code

I don’t see how a dress code in the Power & Light District can be construed as discrimination (2/26, Local, “Dress-code limits debated”). To me discrimination is excluding people due to something beyond their control, such as race, sex or a disability. Your race does not dictate how you should dress.

I live just blocks from the Power & Light District and make it down there with some regularity. I have seen people of all races making their weekend trip to our new entertainment area. None of them are in formal wear. They’re not necessarily even dressed up. They just put some decent, clean clothing on.

Go to any clothing store and they will tell you that pants are designed to be worn around the waist. They will also inform you that your waist is located nowhere near you knees. As a 24-year-old male living downtown, I don’t feel like I’m too out of touch with the youth of America. But it doesn’t matter what race you are, trashy is trashy.

In the words of so many great Americans, pull your pants up!

Kelly Roberson
Kansas City



Sorry about the bad numbering. I'm a 3ist.


"If you can explain just the inconsistency of cowboy boots..."

Sol - Here are some guesses at motivations, besides race, for the inconsistency of the shoe policy.

1. The P&L district houses a country western bar (PBR Big Sky).

2. Safety - As mentioned I mentioned before, maybe the work boot policy is meant to keep out steel toed boots which may endanger guests and their bouncers or maybe its easier to conceal weapons in work boots.

4. Perhaps it's simply style. Why would they ban sleeveless shirts for men but not women? They probably wouldn't if there were a Golds Gym Bar in the district.


Please don't disappear on us Sammy. i appreciate your willingness to discuss this, just as I do JJ's opinion. If you can explain just the inconsistency of cowboy boots allowed but not Timberlands that would be a good start. Seems like whites should be capable of changing shoes also.


Sammy, you are ignoring (or perhaps you are unaware) that the style of boot worn is a clean fashionable item, not equatable to someone just getting off a work site. Why are cowboy boots allowed Sammy? Cowboy boots are work boots worn as stylish by segments of the population.

Hypersensitive whining? I think better examples of whining are the comments of "they took Westport" and "don't let them mess this up" and "thug" this and "thug" that are posted under every article the Star has ever published on the dress code.


Sol, Here are my opinions: 1. Work boots are not worn by blacks alone. 2. Perhaps the policy is meant to keep out people in work clothes. Or maybe they've had trouble with steel toed work boots being used as weapons in bar fights. 4. To my knowledge, black people are as capable of changing their shoes as anybody so if they choose not to follow a written (and well known) policy of a privately managed facility and they willingly choose to go to said facility they should choose to follow the policy like everyone else and wear appropriate shoes.

Show me that there is discrimination and inconsistency in the application of the rules, then you might have a case. Until then, this sounds a bit like hypersensitive whining. Waaa! I can't wear my work boots to a bar district. If that's what we have to worry about these days, then we've come a long, long ways...don't you think?



There is no fair comparison between ripped jeans and sleeveless shirts and a neatly dressed person in urban style. We all agree that pants around the buttocks and bandana's(true gang attire) don't belong.

This ban goes far beyond that. You, like Sammy have not addressed why "bling" and Timberlands are barred. The fact is is that young black men dress in a different style that whites. There is no reason other than discrimination that neatly dressed clean people should be barred.

We are not going to agree here, so I'll continue to post when the topic comes up that it is discriminatory and you guys will continue to not speak to my point that a large black presence will keep whites away, which is the reason for the ban on the style of clothes they wear.

I said long before the district opened that there would be an effort to dissuade black men from attending. This type of thing happens all over the country to make whites feel comfortable.


"If he's been denied entry while adhering to the written policy you might have a case, let me know" "...that is, wasn't denied entry for following the written policy"=Sammy

As I said in this thread Sammy, the dress code did not come down from the mountain inscribed on stone tablets, it was written by people with an agenda. You have not addressed anything that Marctnts or I posted here about the code. All you've said is that there is a written policy. Who wrote it and WHY? Why in the world would neatly dressed money spending individuals be barred from entering or as Marctnts points out, be allowed in the area? Why are cowboy boots, a type of work boot, allowed but Timberlands not? I politely asked to hear your opinion but you for some reason won't voice it.


"Do blacks have to dress in the manner of whites to be acceptable?"

... who is doing the stereotyping here?

The ripped jeans and sleeveless shirt ban are probably going to affect whites and Latinos much more than blacks - so the bans seem to be equal opportunity offenders.

"I take issue with your characterization of "look like a gang banger"."

I didn't invent gang dress codes, but like it or not, they exist. Remember what I said about seeing some urban attired people with their families at "Chuckie Cheese"? ... pretty safe to assume they are just making a fashion statement. Unfortunately these same well-meaning individuals may piss off the wrong guy just by how they have their hat cocked - and violence my ensue.
If you don't believe me, ask the former owners of "Rum Runners".


"Do blacks have to dress in the manner of whites to be acceptable?" -Sol

What in the world?



I take issue with your characterization of "look like a gang banger". Gang bangers are not neat well pressed individuals in the styles that are being banned.

Once again, we are not discussing gang members carrying weapons in baggy jeans around their asses. Furthermore I've seen enough of the world to distinguish between gang attire and the style that is being targeted here. Sammy brings up the issue about written codes. Since these codes did not come down from a mountain inscribed on stone tablets someone with an agenda wrote them.

In the 80s and early 90s there were bars downtown along Broadway that instituted a no goatee rule when they started getting more black clientele. This is no different.

Marctnts posted some of the details of the code. Who is being targeted by the "bling" ban? Unless you can tell me most people who wear it are criminals there is no point to it. Why are cowboy boots, the original American work boots allowed but the style of boots young blacks prefer banned? Is it because no one in cowboy boots starts fights, gets loud or disorderly? Loose fitting garments present a problem because they might have a weapon? I carry a pistol often, as do many whites, and there is nothing in my attire loose or baggy needed to disguise it. To suggest that a black wearing baggy clothing might have a gun is absurd, all types of people carry guns. Ever watch the Sopranos? By your logic anyone who shops at Michaels downtown should be banned because they fit the stereotype.

I asked the question earlier, do blacks have to dress like whites to be acceptable, or is it that if they don't they make whites uncomfortable? If they dressed like whites and showed up in large numbers don't you think it would keep many whites away? We both know that once blacks show up in large numbers it keeps whites away. With very few exceptions (as I mentioned, jazz clubs). Please tell me a venue that you know of that a large number of blacks attend that white patronage doesn't drop off. I've been around this city for most of my life, going out since the 60s and it has always been the case. "We" lost the Bannister Mall. "We" lost Baby Does. "We" lost Westport. Let "them" go to their own places. If you deny that is the common perception you are either naive or disingenuous.


"...in another's private business."

Don't forget to add "on public property in front of another's private business" as well. The P&L dress code applies to the public ROW areas (streets, sidewalks, plazas, etc.) that are KCMO public property but are considered "part of the district". Just another "benefit" of the festival liquor license that Cordish (and no one else in MO) enjoys.

You are still missing the point. Almost no one is complaining about the gang influenced styles you mention (saggy pants, etc.). The issue is the level to which OTHER STYLES have been singled out at the apparent expense of one group.

Maybe I'm too old to get it, but could you please tell me what Timberlands and plain white t-shirts have to do with gang affiliation?


Sol - the point I brought up yesterday has to do with the gang influence in many of the fashions you describe.

If you took a class on gang awareness you would know that simply wearing a ball cap of a certain team pointed a certain direction is one example of how a gang member identifies himself. The baggy clothes are used to hide weapons and other contraband items.
This may be just a fashion statement to some - but it only takes one person to misread someone's intentions and all hell could break loose - just because someone wants to have the right to look like a gang-banger in another's private business.



When I go out I usually have a pair of Bally or Johnson Murphy shoes on. It is the style that I prefer. It is the style young black men wear to be fashionable in well kept clean suede boots. There is nothing sloppy or unappealing about them. (as in the case of any white person denied entry)

Do blacks have to dress in the manner of whites to be acceptable?

To discriminate because of style is wrong. As Marctnts correctly points out there is no ban on cowboy boots, the original American work boot.

If you'd like to speak to the point I posed in my first post here today I'd be interested in hearing your opinion.


...that is, wasn't denied entry for following the written policy.


"He was denied entry because he was wearing $150 Timberlands."

Sol - Work boots are specifically prohibited as written on the P&L District's website. Look under "DOES KC LIVE! HAVE A CODE OF CONDUCT?" at: http://www.powerandlightdistrict.com/index.cfm?page=about

If he's been denied entry while adhering to the written policy you might have a case, let me know. For each anecdote you can provide where someone was denied entry for violating the written policy, I can provide an example where someone wasn't.

Stifled Freedom

Well, I say bring in the nude dancing clubs....then dress code wont matter.

And in the end, they will be glad to nude dancing just to rent the empty space and meet the bond obligations.


A young man who works part time with me (I wrote him a 1099 for over 28k in January) and has a full time job at an insurance carrier is a prime example of who is affected by the ban. A college grad, he is impeccably neat and always appear to look like he just took his clothes out of a dry cleaners bag. He was denied entry because he was wearing $150 Timberlands.

There is no rational reason that he should have been denied entry, just an obvious one.


I think a little clarity on the issue is in order. On top of banning what most would consider inappropriate dress (extremely baggy pants, shorts, wife beaters, etc.), the dress code also bans items that seem to targeted to one particular group, for example:

- Timberland-style work boots. Cowboy boots are okay, as are most other types, just not the yellow style.

- Excessive jewelry, including gold chains. It's okay to be 65 and have fist-sized earrings and fingers sopping with turquoise rings, but no more than one "tasteful" gold chain is allowed.

- Plain white t-shirts. It doesn't matter what color it is, or how "vintage" the AC/DC logo is, it fine as long as it's not white without graphics.

- Baseball caps worn "wrong". You can get away with forwards or backwards, but when you go "sideways", you've broken the rules.

As Solomon has stated, the P&L dress code seems to have gone above and beyond banning what would be considered "inappropriate" and looks like it has listed every current BET style it could think of.

And lest we forget, the dress code not only apples to the private businesses within the P&L, it applies to the public streets and right-of-ways that are considered part of the district.


Please allow me to edit that. Jazz lovers who are white are probably an exception, but a small group not representative of the population.


No one disagrees about the pants thing Kelly. The pants thing is just subterfuge.

Truth be told, if all the young black men wore Dockers and showed up in large numbers it would still keep the group the P&L wants to attract away. White people, particularly suburbanites, do not prefer to go to entertainment venues where there large numbers of blacks. History has proved that time and again.

For those of you that disagree, please name anyplace you can think of that proves me wrong.

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