Exploring the Use of Exclusionary Practices Against African American Participation in Urban Nightlife

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Abstract

Drawing on qualitative data from an exploratory study of the experiences of audit pair researchers—pairs of black, white, and Latinx field testers—in an urban nightlife study in Austin, Dallas, and Houston, Texas, this paper examines nightclub owners’ use of what I identify as “exclusionary tools”—that is, “dress codes,” “steering,” and “fake guest lists.” Using Critical Race Theory’s critique of neutrality, I argue that these exclusionary tactics create a welcoming atmosphere for white patrons while maintaining limits on the participation of African Americans and other peoples of color. This paper offers empirical examples of how these exclusionary practices limit legal challenges to discrimination in the first place and concludes with a discussion of potential methodological approaches for expanding this exploratory study and further identifying systematic exclusionary practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-110
Number of pages20
JournalSociological Forum
Volume37
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Keywords

  • African Americans
  • Critical Race Theory
  • discrimination
  • exclusionary practices
  • space
  • urban nightlife

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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