Why are dress codes used? And how are they implemented? When a restaurant like The Parlor Pizza in Chicago denies entry to a Black couple because the husband’s pants are “too street”, what is the basis of these claims?
This June, Antar Jackson and Christina Jacobson were looking for a restaurant to watch the NBA playoffs. They chose The Parlor Pizza which has large patio seating, most of the tables consist of picnic tables with umbrellas. Indoors, there are giant windows that open to the sidewalk on a nice day and large TVs broadcasting live sports. If you are indoors or outdoors eating a slice of pizza, you are visible to patrons and pedestrians.
As Christina handed her ID to the host she noticed her husband was denied entry because of his pants.
The Parlor Pizza dress code is located by the front entry that states: “Appropriate Attire Required." The restaurants’ website says: "Dress code enforced beginning at 5 PM, daily: Business Casual, NO over-sized clothing or athletic attire."
That night Antar Jackson wore wool joggers by Vince, pictured below. These pants were originally priced at $245.
Antar Jackson and Christina Jacobson stated that there were other patrons wearing casual and sporty attire including yoga pants, sandals, and cargo shorts. I personally walk by this restaurant multiple times a week. There are plenty of white guys in cargo shorts and flip flops. Ew.
The point is, dress code implementation is SUBJECTIVE. The words used to deny Anatar’s entry being that his pants were “too street” are discriminatory. Let’s just imagine the white guy in the picture above walking into The Parlor Pizza.
Whether or not he is denied entry (which I doubt he would be), how likely would it be for someone to tell him he looks “too street”?
Dress code can be used as a form of institutionalized racism that most white people never have think about. White people as a dominant group create the standards of their customers by setting a dress code, and people of color are made to present themselves to a higher standard because of every day prejudices. Why would a restaurant turn down potential customers for business?
Another example happened in early July when Chance the Rapper went bowling at WhirlyBall in Bucktown, Chicago. He and some of his friends were allowed in, but when the rest of his group came to meet them, they were denied entry based on their attire. The WhirleyBall dress codes says no baggy clothes and oversized chains.. (Hmm I wonder who this is geared towards). Baggy clothes isn’t a safety hazard for bowling or playing whirleyball, is it?
If it’s not a safety issue, it’s a matter of defending the standards of the customers they choose to serve.
Antar Jackson and Christina Jacobson filed a discrimination complaint with Chicago Commission. Luckily, Christina is an employment attorney, and files complaints like these all of the time. Bad choice, Parlor Pizza.
I for one, will not be supporting businesses that discriminate against people of color.