Who and What is a Racist? An individual who has made a generalization or assumption based on race. I do not believe anyone is totally exempt from this from time to time.
Reno Nevada is one of my favorite getaways, I love the drive through the Sierra’s, I particularly like the drive in the winter, every thing is white. Once you have reached the summit everything quickly changes. By the time you reach the Nevada border, much of the trees have disappeared giving way to rock and brush , with little warning you have gone from forest to desert. .
Reno, like Vegas is a place where adults can turn into children. the town is open all night for what ever. Reno doesn’t have the glitz or the entertainment on the scale of Vegas, but fun can be found. Unlike Vegas, Reno has quiet places at its core, I enjoy sitting listening to the waters of the Truckee River.
The City has fallen on hard times, much like Las Vegas and the rest of the state. The economy and Indian gaming has taken its toll on Nevada. Fewer people are making the drive over the mountains from Los Angeles to Vegas or from San Francisco or Sacramento into Reno. Most of the casinos are dark on Virginia Street , gone is the Fitzgerald next the to famous Reno Arch, gone is the Sundowner with its saucy waitresses, the Comstock with its $5.99 one pound Steaks.
But there is something about Reno, the Indian Casinos cant recreate Reno or Vegas, once you step out of the Indian Casino your enter a different kind of desert, a bleak asphalt parking lot filled with cars, once outside, there are few smiles. Missing is the crazy, the mischief, the revelers on the street drinking booze in oversized glasses, screaming, laughing folks letting their hair down.
Thunder Valley Casino outside of Sacramento is impressive , but I can’t imagine getting a room there or staying over night at any of the areas Casinos.
Reno has quite a few nite clubs in the area. On this night, my family is in town for a wedding. A nap was needed after the huge buffet at the Grand Sierra. The Grand Sierra (formally the Reno Hilton and MGM) is the largest resort in town, it has a lake, movie theaters, several restaurants, a huge bowling alley and more, whats missing is a proper top 40’s- hip hop club. So it was off to Aura at the Silver Legacy, after a few hours of dancing, it was time for the old man to crawl back to the hotel.
As I am driving home, my nephews called wanting to go out… It’s after 3 am I agreed to meet them downtown, Aura was closed for the evening and a staff member suggesting a few clubs, that were still opened. We head out on 4th Street, one club is closing and I knew of one other about a block away. Its seven of us, my nephews with their girlfriends and my niece and her boyfriend.
As as soon as we arrived the bouncer (I’m assuming he is the bouncer or security) informs us of a $20 cover charge ten dollars to enter and ten dollar drink minimum. I ask how long will they be opened? He tells us for another hour. I had a real sense of what was happenng-It was all too familiar. I looked at the group and could since no one was interested in shelling out $140.00 for an hour of dancing.
The group ranged in age from 25 to 35, so I waited until we were at Virginia, to explain what happened. The man at the door did not want a group of blacks in his club. It wasn’t my first visit, I’ve been there on a Saturday night with friends and the cover was five dollars with no minimum. Most clubs drop or reduce cover charges in the last hour, at least that has been my experience.
I have experienced the premium cover charge before. I waited to tell them because I wasn’t sure how they would react. I remember going to a club in San Mateo in my twenties. My friends entered in before me, I paid a ten dollar cover charge (that was a lot of money in the 80’s) and discovered none of my friends paid a cover charge. I asked why did I pay a cover and was told something that didn’t make sense. I wasn’t loud ,but I wasn’t going away. Before I knew it ,the police were called, and I was forced into the rear seat of the San Mateo Police car, my friends-coworkers rushed to my defense. Someone from the club tossed a ten dollar bill at me and I was told by the policeman I could never return to the club. That incident permanently scarred the relationship I had with my friends, all supported me but perhaps a little fearful. Its possible that they thought I was trouble.
Through the years, i have experienced forms of racism in some of the disco(did I say that?) nightclubs. Some Dj’s would change the music from what ever that was popular at the time to non-dance able music. until we left. If I was the “black man” in the group all was fine in the world, but if two or more blacks and mexicans were in the same group, the tone changed. Owners unleashed attack waitresses that circled our table, who would clear the table once we got up to dance.
So I waited……
I refuse to take a brush and paint the town, the community or even the business racist. This was the action of one man, who based on one or several incidents with black people or simply decided that we weren’t welcome. What I find interesting with all racist is the absence of logic. ( How many times have you heard someone say, I will NEVER return or interact with those people based on the actions of one. or two people? )It is very possible he has had negative run in’s with blacks and other people of color. Removing all of those people of color now means that of the incidents are with people who look like him.
Reno is a great and fun town, filled with great people, I will return to this club on 4th street, I remember having a good time there. What happened Saturday was a simple random act of racism.