Post Dstrkt: racial discrimination in nightclubs

how do we effectively bring change to raves?

By Hannah Odonkor
Sub-edited by Jasmine Wing

In recent years, there has been a significant number of people, of ethnic minority, who have experienced racial discrimination at the entrance of nightclubs.

The #DoILookDstrkt protest took place in September 2015, where many black individuals criticised the racist door policy. It’s no surprise that after the #DoILookDstrkt protest and the eventual closing of Dstrkt, complaints still arise today about many other clubs in London.

Bouncers still shame minorities upfront and many have revealed they were only following management rules. Last weekend, I myself experienced discrimination when my black and Asian friends, and I were turned away from not one or two, but three clubs in Oxford Circus based on claims by the bouncers that there were ‘too many’ of us and there was ‘not enough space’, sending us away along with other individuals of various ethnic minorities.

The profiling that I experienced myself indicates the evident underlying issue of club discrimination in the capital. Clubs as big as Dstrkt are known to play techno or house music, often attracting a ‘whiter crowd’.

But, this in no way justifies or excuses the turning away of individuals based on their ethnicity.

A regular raver Kenneth, an accountant from South East London revealed ‘since the shutdown of Dstrkt, I have observed that more clubs have been playing genres that appeal to a wider group more, especially since the wave of grime artists playing at festivals and at sold out concerts”.

The major success of artists such as J hus has thrived off energy evolving from club culture. Various mixed genres, such as Afro grime fusion, have ended up on the charts : this reflects the unique array of cultures that exist in London. But, this can’t be fully embraced if this racial profiling continues.

Clubs in London have the potential to bridge the gap between cultures, allowing the ever-growing appreciation for underground music to unfold.

Music is at the heart of many young Londoners and now we are seeing bouncers distorting the rules of the dress code and other policies to turn people away based on unacceptable reasons such as racial discrimination stemming from the stereotype of black people being rowdy.

This should not be happening in what has become, in many ways, a positive atmosphere for Londoners. Clubbing should be an experience that enables anyone to celebrate events or just enjoy a night out without experiencing discrimination or exclusion.

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