A restaurant manager in Baltimore cited the “dress code” as the reason for a mother and her black child to be denied entry, while a similarly attired white child and family were allowed in. The outraged mother caught the entire incident on video and posted it. And now, it’s gone viral.
Video Shows All
According to NBC news, the mother, Marcia Grant, posted two videos and several still images to Facebook on Monday. She was outraged for her son, Dallas.
“I have faced racism time and time again, but it’s hard AF, when you have to see your child (9yo) upset because he knows he’s being treated different than a white child!!!” Grant wrote online.
In the videos, the manager of the Greek seafood restaurant Ouzo Bay is shown turning the mother and child away, citing his “athletic shorts” as a violation of the restaurant’s dress code. He requests the child change clothes.
“Unfortunately we do have a dress code,” the manager told Grant. “Um, if you, you know, if you have some non-athletic shorts.”
Grant then points out a similarly dressed white boy who was allowed entry with his family. The manager claimed to have not seen him. Here’s the video below.
Restaurant Group Issues Apology and Rule Change
The Atlas Group, which owns Ouzo Bay among other establishments, immediately issued a statement of apology.
“This should never have happened, the manager seen in the video has been placed on indefinite leave,” the statement says in part. “We are sickened by this incident. We sincerely apologize to Marcia Grant, her son and everyone impacted by this painful incident.”
Since this statement, two managers involved in the incident have been fired.
The group also announced a dress code policy change: children under 12 are exempt. The group did defend its use of dress codes, saying that the rules are a result of “ongoing input from customers,” and “in no way are they intended to be discriminatory.”
Dress Codes Discriminatory By Nature
Dress codes do have a history of being discriminatory. Dress codes at elite clubs, private and public schools, and eating establishments have all been used to block many — usually people of color or women — from entry or participation.
According to education site The Hechinger Report, dress codes for parents in schools are used to denote and separate races and socio-economic classes, rewarding whites with entry and denying status to other groups when simply entering a school campus.
“There is no regular outcry from legislators and principals from white, middle-class schools about parents donning gym attire and yoga pants when they bring their kids to school,” The Hechinger Report noted in a recent column.