Drinking Issue

Booze and Strippers

Suddenly Serving

The Ballard Booze Legend

Under 21?

Once Upon a Time in America...

How Are They Doing?

Past Help

Yet Another Modest Proposal

Seattle Bans Booze—A Cautionary Tale

Police Beat Special Edition

The disadvantages of being black at a nightclub are numerous. On a hiphop night, patrons face pat-downs at the door, metal detectors, and drinks served in plastic cups. While such measures may hinder the mood, a brother out in search of a good time does have one distinct advantage over his honky brethren: Underage brothers can generally use anybody's ID at the door as long as the ID's photo is of a black person of similar gender. White bouncers are not afraid of blacks, they are petrified of them, and therefore they'll avoid confrontation by any means necessary--which often means that an underage brother can coast in the door with an ID that is obviously not his own.

In exploring this phenomenon, I interviewed four former bouncers--three were white, one was black--and asked them why I could patronize clubs carrying the driver's license of, say, the conspicuously deceased Malcolm X and not be turned away. By and large, all four feared having the Christ beat out of them by angry underage patrons. Simply put, there is more pressure for a favorable result when a brother hands over his ID, which creates an entertaining dissimilarity between drinking while black, and other "while blacks"--such as "driving while black" or "boning the sheriff's daughter while black." You see, when a brother offers his ID to a bouncer, it is one of the few times in life when the violent stereotype that follows every young black male actually works to his advantage.