In August I went out in Manchester with a group of friends. Knowing Club Liv’s’ strict policies, we’d made sure we were on the guest list beforehand. We knew they didn’t welcome large groups of guys, so we made sure we only had one male in our group of thirteen. Excitedly we joined the queue. We had just given our guest list name when the bouncer asked to see the whole group. I thought he wanted to check numbers and our outfits. “You’re not on the guest list, so you’re not getting in”. Of course, we’d all seen that he’d not even looked at the list of names in his hands and we were told to leave regardless.
One of my friends had a confirmation messages on her phone that we were on the guest list. The bouncer refused to read the messages. I tried to identify with him. I tried to explain we’d travelled fourty miles for this night out to celebrate my cousin’s birthday. He looked straight over my head as I spoke. I thought it was rude, but now, with hindsight I assume this was his way of dealing with it.
Mum had told me about an article she’d read, explaining that lots of UK nightclubs only allow a certain percentage of ethnic minorities in. I had never experienced this, so this was foreign to me. I watched sadly as a group of black girls and another group of Asian boys, were turned away, whilst a large group of white girls were greeted with, “ID’s please”.
My cousin’s friend called her, she was already in the club. She had arrived an hour earlier with the intention of meeting us inside. She had used our group guest list name to get in – the same name which was apparently not on the list. We rushed over to the bouncer, who told us that it was not up to him, but the people upstairs, but he didn’t attempt to contact anyone.
I watched as the queue continued to be ethnically cleansed. Our friend inside the club was black, but she had been inside for about two hours at this point, presumably before Club Liv had met their ethnic quota for the night. Now, capacity was full – it seemed to be whites only. I try not to fulfil stereotypes, as I don’t want to be known as an angry black woman. But I want to understand how a black bouncer could turn us away for being black and how he feels working under such racist managerial instruction. “You’re black but won’t let us in because we’re black.” He still didn’t look at me, but this time he replied; “You are not getting in now…or ever”.
I can’t believe as a race we are still faced with issues like this. It saddens me to see that there is a lack of solidarity between some ethnic minorities. A lack of passion and a lack of knowledge. I understand the bouncer was doing his job and following orders. But I can’t accept the way we were treated. It is so easy to describe Manchester as united when we look at how the city responded earlier this year to the terrorist attack; we shouldn’t have to wait until horrific incidents happen to be united. It is not until we experience events, like my own, first hand that we realise that the city is not widely accepting. Like some parts of the UK, it does not wholly welcome diversity. It’s far easier to accept a publicised image of a place which does not really exist. Manchester has so much to offer and is considered to be the capital of the north, but is this how our capital should treat its visitors. Rejection on the grounds of colour is never acceptable. Being black and rejecting other black people, does not make it ‘okay’ because you, yourself are black. Nor does it make you any less black to your boss; it makes you shallow and naïve. The black bouncer at Club Liv not only turned us away from the club that night, but he turned himself away from his heritage. In order to elevate ourselves, we need to first set the example. We as a race need to do better. Black people need to do better.