Monday, January 25, 2010

Racial Discrimination in Night Clubs

Over the years, there have been allegations of discrimination of all kinds in night clubs all over the world. Personally, I must confess, I've faced racial discrimination (twice) in night clubs in Europe - Sweden and Finland. In both instances, I did nothing but feel sorry for myself and threaten to take action - which I never did. In one instance - in Finland - I called the Police and was shocked when the cops told me to go to another night club because the management of the night club has the right to decide who to let into the club. As a Law student (at the time), I knew there was more I could do, but for some reason, I let it go. However, on that fateful winter day, I promised myself NEVER to let racial discrimination go unheard by a competent authority.

Have you ever been a victim of racial discrimination in a night club? If yes, what did you do about it?

Guess what - a couple of night clubs in Sweden have been dragged to court and ordered to pay compensation to victims of racial discrimination in night clubs.

Four law students in Sweden were denied admission to a night club in Malmö (same city where I was a victim) and the club was found liable for discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin. According to the facts of the case, four law students were denied admission to Escape Night Club in Malmö while their "Swedish-looking" friends were granted entry. The students video recorded the incident and produced the recordings as evidence in court. The bouncer at the night club was charged with unlawful discrimination. Note that the court accepted the secret video recordings as valid evidence. The court of Appeal ordered the night club to pay each of the students 15,000 kronor ($2,200) in compensation. Although the Supreme court later reduced the claim to 5000 Kronor per victim, at least damages were paid for racial discrimination at a night club (related document of the case is available, here).

In Sweden's capital city, Stockholm, a night club - Kickis Bar and Café, - was found guilty of ethnic discrimination against six men. In this case, when a group of sober (and respectfully dressed) dark-skinned men made their way to the door of the bar, they were told the club was full. Shortly afterwards, a group of light-skinned men were allowed to enter. Like in the Escape Night Club case, the court accepted video footage provided as evidence by the prosecution. The bar was ordered to pay each of the victims 40,000 kronor ($5,524) in compensation. This is good money, isn't it? Well, it's not about the money, anway, it's about justice being served.

I'm fully aware of the fact that many cases of discrimination go unheard because the victims worry about the cost of suing or due to lack of evidence. I don't know about other countries (you can enlighten me), but if you live in Sweden, it's not expensive - with a camera or a phone and with the help of Sweden's Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination (Diskrimineringsombudsman), you can drag any offender to court and your voice would be heard. It's high time managers and bouncers of night clubs, in Sweden and beyond, watch their behaviour.

Night club incidents that could be considered discriminatory include:
  • Being barred entry and told it's a "Members Only" night
  • Due to "dress code" restrictions, yet other similarly dressed people are admitted (happened to me)
  • Asked to produce more identification than others
  • Minority males barred entry because they are "too drunk" to get in, yet they are visibly sober (happened to me)
You got a camera or a phone - do not hesitate to [video] record a discrimination incident. You'd need the evidence in court!

Racial discrimination in night clubs is unlawful. Do not be silenced!


  1. I am quite pleased to read about this,as the same happens in london,Uk.
    Its actually a rule of some of the clubs to limit the admittance of people of black origin .
    Can this be placed under the category of race discrimintation.

  2. This happens in Birmingham,London & Leeds in England as well, but no one stands up and says anything. You adhere to the dress code, arrive sober and then the bouncers turn you away while our white counterparts are allowed to questions asked. Asian and Black patrons who are born and grew up in UK suffer humiliation and frustration, and the nightclubs owners can lie and get away with it.

  3. i hear it happens in New York too but having lived in Atlanta, Ga for the past 10 years and shamefully admit to know 99% of the night life business...i have thankfully never faced this issue. However, now I find myself in the north and while i have yet to go exploring, I hope I never run into this.

  4. It's disturbing to learn that this does not only happen in Sweden and Finland.

    @Mon petite Niche, it is however consoling to read that you have not experienced it in Atlanta, Ga. Keep your eyes open, and please let us know if or when you face it. I hope you don't. :-)

  5. This happens all the time in London , movida , jeleuse , project and Maddox are the biggest clubs in London and they are especially racist , infact movida has a 99% white crowd , you will never see a black person in jeleuse, u will see 4 colored people overall , project quite openly says no if you're not white , Maddox, I haven't seen much racism there, I've been there thrice but I've heard it's racist too, basically high end London nightclub means racist London nightclub

  6. you have to do something about the racism in nightclubs in london, my friend who is asian is a promoter at westend nigtclubs and he lost a job in the first few weeks cos he brought other asians to the club, club management told him its not the crowd we want here, they say it all the time to him, even when he brings a mixed group, they single out the asians and blacks, the only blacks allowed in clubs are the promoters infact, these clubs have no respect for people who are not white and they always deny it, as londoners, i feel we have as much right to a good night out as the next guy, Movida is by far the most racist, the woman at the door, ANNA, winges everytime she sees a colored person


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