Doug Fir Lounge: Apologize for Your Racist Poster (Updated)

Last night it came to my attention that the Doug Fir Lounge, a popular restaurant and music venue here in Portland, OR, is using this poster chock full of racist tropes and stereotypes to advertise a show on the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally known as ‘Black Friday’:

Racist Doug Fir show poster

After many people complained and demanded an apology, here is their response:
Doug Fir's response to outrage about their racist poster

In acknowledgement of the reaction to the art for Friday’s dance party/benefit, we’d like to address the fact that the event is not called Black Friday, but just so happens to fall on that day of the year. A day created by the media and used on our behalf simply to reference a well-known moniker for the Friday following Thanksgiving. The event is called Magic Mall, which is in reference to an actual place in Orlando where the DJ is from and used to frequent during her time there. The art was created last month by DJ $ew What, a Thai American, to look like a Black Friday sale for said business. Magic Mall is an opportunity not only to get together with friends to dance and have a good time, but will also serve as a benefit for one of Doug Fir’s long-time bartenders who has recently suffered medical complications from a broken leg and is severely in debt going into the holiday season. We want nothing more than to provide a welcoming environment for everyone to join in, spread the love and have an awesome night during a time meant for giving thanks and appreciation for all the wonderful people in our community.

If you’re playing along with your ‘non-apology’ bingo card, you’ve probably won by now.

  • Acknowledging that people are pissed off without actually apologizing? Check
  • Trying to explain their ‘intentions’ as if they are more important then the actual harm done? Check.
  • Hiding behind “This person of color made this / said it was OK!” Check
  • Saying they want to be ‘welcoming’ while actually alienating and dehumanizing a bunch of people? Check.
  • Ends (fundraiser) justifies the means argument? Check.

BINGO!

I really didn’t want to start my Thanksgiving morning with an angry blog post, but as recent events have shown, there are no days off from racism if you’re Black in America. There are people right now giving up their holiday to march and protest the events in Ferguson. This is the very least I could do.

The problem with living in a state with a 2% Black population, is that when things like this occur, I wonder if there enough white people awake enough and angry enough to even care about this. But if there are, and you’re reading this, feel free to head on over to the Doug Fir Facebook Page and let them know you won’t be patronizing their establishment until they apolgize.

If you’re a musician, feel free to let them know you won’t be performing there until they apologize.

Clueless, unapoligetic racism like this won’t change unless they start getting hit where it hurts, and that is always the same place: The pocketbook.

Even though it seems futile, even the most vile discrimination has been turned around sometimes when enough people stand up and give a shit.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Update:

The Doug Fir posted an apology on their Facebook page and have canceled the event:

We sincerely apologize for the insensitive artwork and design of the promotional image for Friday’s DJ Sew What dance party. The reply posted to Facebook last night was not crafted by a Doug Fir employee and does not reflect the views or opinions of Doug Fir ownership, management or staff. Friday’s show has been cancelled and we want to express contrition and regret for the insensitive nature of the imagery and will use this as an opportunity to internally examine all existing and future promotional material and educate ourselves and our staff on how we can be better, upstanding and socially conscious members of the Portland community.

I’m not sure if they’re actually sorry, or just sorry for the bad publicity. Time will tell.

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