Bambu’s racist door policy is a sad echo of Birmingham’s clubbing scene
It’s not OK to joke about the RnB room
After travelling over 100 miles to celebrate a friend’s birthday, a group of 11 girls were turned away from Bambu because they didn’t want “too many” black people in their club.
They were rejected by a bouncer on the door, with the club’s manager saying he could not undermine the decision made by security staff. Understandably, they were “disappointed, frustrated and hurt”.
This also isn’t the first time the club has been accused of racism. Just this September, the club was criticised for rejecting a girl’s job enquiry because they needed “less Afro Caribbean staff”.
These actions are disgusting and racist, and we should be saying more about it.
But we should be checking our own prejudices on a night out. Racist stereotypes are perpetuated everywhere, with ongoing “jokes” about RnB rooms being exclusively Asian, or as playing exclusively “black music”. So what if a particular dance floor, or club, is filled with the members of one race? Are we to expect Bambu would turn away a group of 11 white girls because there are too many white people on the dance floor? Of course not.
Nobody really jokes Popworld is a “white club” with “white” music, because to be white is to be the norm. Nobody bats an eye when they walk onto a dancefloor full of white people because we’re used to a lack of diverse representation everywhere we look.
To have a room full of Asians or black people is to deviate from the norm. To segregate in such a way gives rise to ridiculously racist notions that “black nightclubs” are a certain kind of club – maybe even one where certain people might feel unsafe.
It’s the same principle of suggesting too many young people in one place gives way to rowdy behaviour. To say there are too many black people in your nightclub suggests you think they are giving your business the wrong kind of image. And we all know what kind of image that is: a racist one.
As long as nightclubs all over the country follow the disgustingly explicit racism demonstrated time and time again by Bambu, then racist stereotypes will persist. As long as this continues, we will always have these damaging prejudices.
It’s time we spoke more about racism in our nightclubs, our institutions, our establishments, and our businesses. It’s time we stood up to clubs like Bambu, because that’s the only way we will change our own society’s attitudes.