Restaurant's bizarre dress code sparks racism row

A sports bar is copping major flak for insisting that patrons follow a strict dress code and set of behavioral guidelines.

Kickback Jack’s restaurant in Durham, North Carolina, has reportedly sparked controversy by posting a sign informing the public of its ban on certain types of dress.

The banned items include stiletto heels, backpacks and large bags, sleeveless undershirts, pants and shorts that hang below the waistline, plain white T-shirts and other oversized tops that fall past the thigh, and any attire “deemed offensive” by management.

Patrons are also forbidden from modifying their clothing once they’ve entered the establishment.

The rules that are causing controversy. (Photo: Courtesy of Brittani Mechele)

The restaurant, which is located at a local shopping centre, also comes down hard on ‘negative attitudes [and] behavior’ and ‘offensive language’.

Management also reserves the right to ban anyone at their discretion.

While the crackdown on foul language hasn’t raised much fuss, many locals are concerned that the restrictions on dress may have racial connotations.

Brittani Mechele, whose photograph of the rule posting has gone viral, told Yahoo Lifestyle that the restaurant is ‘in a predominantly African-American part of town’.

“Durham is essentially a largely African-American/black town that is undergoing a sweeping amount of gentrification,” she said. 

“The first part sounded OK, but it just got, to me, more discriminatory,” diner Laurie Washington told CBS 17.

“That’s typically younger African-American-type attire,” she added.

“Just put a sign up that says ‘WHITES ONLY’ [because] that’s exactly what it seems,” a Facebook commenter responded of the policy.

“Pretty much no black people,” read another comment.

But others have defended the rules, noting that the restaurant is privately owned.

Supporters say that the rules aren’t racially motivated but are simply designed to avoid unruliness.

“In a family atmosphere other than just a sports bar, I think profanity should be restricted in any public place,” customer John Baucom told CBS 17.

“The way they wear their pants and exposing certain parts of skin or whatever, I think that should be a manager’s discretion as far as [being] offensive to other people,” he continued.

A Kickback Jack’s representative told the news station that the rules apply to all of their locations, not just the one in Durham.

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