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After a Des Moines, Iowa tavern instituted a new dress code, critics have accused it of being racist. The new policy specifically denies customers from wearing do-rags, baggy jeans and sideways facing baseball caps. Residents of Des Moines agree that the dress code is designed to keep black men out of the tavern. Although the dress code does not explicitly say that black men are not allowed, its not-so-subtle messaging clearly forbids a predominately black population from enjoying the bar. Read more about this growing scandal happening in Iowa.
The tavern owner claims that the new dress code has nothing to do with racism or discrimination. Instead, the tavern claims that the dress code has to do with safety concerns.
The bar in question is called Tipsy Crow Tavern and doesn’t want to serve customers who wear the clothing mentioned above as well as plain t-shirts and construction boots.
Locals are concerned that this discriminator practice is happening in their community. The news made it into The Des Moines Register on Thursday and has gone viral across the country since.
The tavern forbids customers from wearing do-rags, which are headscarves or cloths that are tied behind the head. These items are almost exclusively worn by black people.
After the sign received fierce backlash on social media, the management promptly removed the sign.
The dress code stated that customers were not allowed to wear the following:
-No plain tee’s
-No baggy jeans
-No jeans hanging below waist
-No doo rag’s
-No sideways caps
-No construction boots
-No sunglasses at night
-Thank you. Management.
Although the dress code sign was immediately removed after it was exposed online, it is unclear if the policy is still in place.
Locals in Des Moines wonder if the dress code is really about safety or if it is a thinly veiled scheme to discriminate and keep black people out of the tavern.
The forbidden clothing listed in the dress code is most often worn by young African-American men.
“Not just downtown bars, but all bars want it both ways,” 28-year-old Arnold Woods told the Register. Woods is a black man who graduated from Iowa State University and feels like the dress code targets his demographic.
“They don’t want minorities there because if too many black men are in a bar it brings trouble. It’s obvious what they are trying to do.”
The owner of the Tipsy Crow Tavern, Steven McFadden, was forced to step forward after many Des Moines residents accused him of discrimination. He said that racism was not his intention was creating the dress code.
He claimed that other local businesses had problem with rowdy customers including a 2015 shooting that left a man dead.
“We all, of course, want those good customers, but some of the disruptive clientele are now being dispersed to other nearby establishments, and many of the nearby establishments have adopted similar dress codes,” he wrote in an email.
Last Saturday, a group of white and black men harassed other customers. That’s when McFadden decided to take action.
“Our establishment experienced an isolated incident that made several customers feel unsafe and caused a disruption in the business,” he said.
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