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'Code for no black people': New York bar's 'racist' dress code sparks online debate

Rochester, N.Y., resident Herbert Smith wasn’t aware of the controversy he was about to create when he was moved to post a photo of a local bar’s dress code to his Facebook page. But since he took to social media to share the long list of items that can’t be worn inside the Murphy’s Law Irish Pub in his neighborhood, some people are calling out the bar for enforcing a “ racist ” dress code.

While making plans with a friend to meet up at a nearby bar, Smith received a picture of the questionable dress code posted in the front window of Murphy’s Law. He tells Yahoo Lifestyle that “it immediately struck a chord.” Although he wasn’t entirely sure what to think about it, he decided to call attention to it.

“I post a lot of stuff on Facebook, so I thought a few of my friends would chime in,” he says. “But what happened next I was not expecting.”

Nearly 200 comments later, Smith now realizes he wasn’t alone in his feelings about the restrictions against items such as straight-brim caps, hoodies, bandanas, white tees, and Timberland work boots. Multiple commenters said the list was a clear example of “prejudice.”

Code for no black people,” one person wrote. “Racist. Hands-down,” said another.

Some defended the dress code, saying its possible the bar just wanted patrons “to show up in more classy attire.”

“Not that hard can get a whole outfit that looks good at Macy’s for like $80,” one commenter wrote.

But even those who don’t think these restrictions stem directly from racism are quick to point out that there have been issues with how the pub’s rules are enforced.

My problem isn’t the dress code. It’s the fact that Murphy’s Law only enforces the dress code for people of color,” someone pointed out. “I tried to go there a few years back and they denied me entrance because of my outfit but there was a group of white people that had on similar outfits like the one I had on.”

Smith says the response to his post is a clear indication that further action needs to take place.

“A  picture is worth a thousand words,” he says. “The comments streamed in. People were very passionate about it on either side of the spectrum. To me, the act of posting that dress code, without any prompting, and seeing the response which ensued, warrants a change.”

As for the change that Smith wants to see happen, he thinks that establishments should start by having presenting their dress codes in a more welcoming matter.

I would like to see the fashion do’s rather than the fashion don’ts,” he suggests. “What do they want people to look like, rather than what do they not want them to look like. I’ve been getting inquiries of ‘Am I trying to get more black people into these clubs?’ I’m not! I just feel in this day and age you should not be able to post something with that type of negative undercurrent on the front of your pub.”

Murphy’s Law Irish Pub didn’t respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment. However, a statement about the dress code was posted on its Facebook page:

Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:

Parents are outraged after charter school turns away students for minor dress code violations
Girl gets removed from Catholic middle school for hairstyle: ‘This decision is going to affect black children more than white children’
Arrested teen says his teacher called the police on him for wearing a bandana to school

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