Racism? In North Carolina? Imagine that…SMMFH
After a Harvard-bound 21-year-old said police refused to help him when he was kicked out of a Raleigh, NC sports bar for being black, other spurned patrons came out of the woodwork to claim they had received the same racist treatment. Now their grassroots campaign to shut the bar down is gaining traction. Who needs the cops when you’ve got social media on your side?
Jonathan Wall’s story started attracting attention after North Carolina Central University Instructor Philip Christman posted Wall’s account of the incident on his blog yesterday. Christman said he calls Wall, a former student of his, “Mr. President” because “he’s one of the most intimidatingly accomplished and polished undergrads I’ve ever met.”
Jonathan wrote a rather long blog detailing his entire ordeal, we’ve broken it down for your reading pleasure.
As the story begins, on last Saturday night around 12:30am, I and 2 other friends went to Downtown Sports Bar and Grill off of Glennwood Avenue. The night got interesting as soon as we got to the door, and the bouncer told us “you need a membership to come in tonight, I’ve never seen you here before.” My friend Chris and I looked at each other in curiosity, knowing that the establishment was a bar and not a club, and that people in line before us walked right in after showing their ID. The only difference between those people and my friends and I was our race. Still, we stood at the door in bewilderment asking “What?” as he further tried to explain that we weren’t going to be able to come in because of our “non-member” status. However, as he was explaining this, a police officer walked up to where he was standing to tell him something unrelated. As soon as he caught sight of the officer beside him, he said “Never mind, y’all go ahead.” This was the first interesting ordeal of the night, but not the last.
After getting into the bar, Johnathan was asked by a bartender to either “get a drink or leave right now”. Then the following ensued.
After staring me down for about 30 seconds, he walked back over and said “Are you going to buy a drink, or are you going to leave?” I replied, “As soon as my friend comes from the bathroom.” Before I cold utter another word, he grabbed my right wrist and my left arm and threw them behind my head in an effort to constrain me, although I was speaking to him a calm and non-aggressive tone and didn’t once even gesture. He then used excessive force to push me through the crown and out of the club while I was still in this “headlock” of sorts, before pushing me out of the front door. As soon as he grabbed me, I let my body go limp because with the degree of force he was already using, I didn’t want him to think I was trying to fight back. I accepted that he was on an ego-trip, and let him guide me through the club in this position before pushing me out.
At this point Jonathan searched for a police officer to report this incident to, he wasn’t pleased with the result.
What troubled me about my conversation with the officer was that she seemed to assume the worst case scenario in every possible solution to my encounter. She kept talking about how much paper work would be involved, as if that were going to deter me from seeking justice. Still, it was 2am, and after speaking to both of my parents and my friends, I realized that justice couldn’t be served that night. Because of the lack of witnesses, it would simply be my word versus his (and that of his three “witnesses”), which could potentially yield extremely negative consequences for me, even though I had done nothing wrong throughout the entirety of the ordeal.
When it comes to this kind of racism, unfortunately, there is very little that can be done legally to get justice in these types of cases. Luckily, through the power of social media, there is a Facebook page dedicated to this incident and a boycott of the Downtown Bar & Grill in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Image via NewRaleigh