Here's The Latest With All The Kung-Fu-Saloon-Is-Racist Talk.
First, the good news: Just about a year after we first brought up the fact that more than a few people had accused Uptown bar Kung Fu Saloon of having racist door policies, the rest of the local media is finally paying attention to the claims thanks to Dallas' most recent — and loudest — cries of racial discrimination at the establishment to date.
WFAA, Eater, CultureMap, NBC5, the Dallas Morning News — they've all covered the latest accusations. Even Houston's FOX TV affiliate has given it time. Local radio, too: Moments ago, Deandre Upshaw, the spark behind the most recent racial fire at Kung Fu, spoke to “The Ben & Skin Show” on 105.3-FM The Fan about his allegations.
And all this coverage is certainly merited — because, for one thing, this kind of behavior that Kung Fu is being accused of is just plain gross. But also? Because Kung Fu's handling of these accusations isn't exactly great, either.
On Monday, after the newest claims first came to light, Kung Fu Saloon released the following statement to Eater.
Management of Kung Fu Saloon is currently investigating a claim that an employee of the company made an inappropriate comment to a customer trying to gain entrance to the bar wearing unacceptable attire. Management will determine whether the comment was racially motivated and if so, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken. Kung Fu Saloon is home to one of the most diverse crowds in the Dallas bar scene – a reputation that we value and cultivate. It is not the policy of Kung Fu Saloon to deny any customer entry based on race or ethnicity. Our aim, as always, is to continue to provide a fun, safe and welcoming atmosphere to anyone, in keeping with Kung Fu Saloon policies.
That's cool. Except, no, it's not: Instead, it's the same exact statement the establishment released — verbatim, for crying out loud — after racist allegations were thrown the Austin location of the bar's way last year.
So much for an investigation from Kung Fu's higher-ups.
Here's a far better investigation, shared on YouTube by Upshaw, in which a turned-away potential patron at Kung Fu shows off the spot's hypocritical dress code policies at the door:
Still, there has been at least one semi-positive thing to come out of all this noise: Finally, after years of media types across Texas requesting it, Kung Fu management did eventually release a statement to the Morning News this week that included the following dress code regulations enforced at doors across its chain:
Dress Code: Kung Fu Saloon, employees, and patrons are to present themselves in an appropriate manner which is conducive to a productive, safe and fun environment. Administration has the final authority about dress code compliance. In accordance with Kung Fu policies, employees and patrons may not wear:
• Improperly fit clothing; baggy pants, overly tight clothes, or clothes that expose
body parts or undergarments.
• Boxer shorts, sweat pants, or athletic shorts
• Undergarments, pajamas or other clothing not designed to be worn as an outer
• Gang associated clothing or colors
• Emblems or writings that are obscene or that may reasonably be expected to
cause a disruption of or interfere with normal operations
• Clothing advertising, condoning, depicting, or promoting a controlled substance, violence, or displaying vulgar or suggestive language
• Clothing or items that promote discrimination or intolerance of any group based
on race, religion or sexual orientation
• Accessories, which are weapon-like, such as metal-studded collars and arm/wristbands
• Any item with graffiti including of backpacks and other items on the personage
Of course, it's worth noting that the above dress code makes no mention of athletic shoes — or, in other words, the exact supposed “violations” that bouncers have been accused of using most readily, which is rather bizarre in that it doesn't add much weight to Kung Fu's defense. (Eater also notes that the above dress code is awfully similar to the one used by the Austin Independent School District.)
Regardless: Upshaw, for his part, is continuing his crusade. All week long, he's continued to post to his Twitter feed accusations of racism at Kung Fu that others have passed along his way. And, tonight, Upshaw and his collaborators have organized a protest of sorts, asking that others who are similarly fed up with this alleged treatment at Kung Fu take to the streets of Uptown and show their disgust. Here's the information on that rally:
More on this story as it develops…