Herbert Smith, a resident of Rochester, New York, took to Facebook to share a list of clothes that were banned from Murphy’s Law Irish Pub, an establishment in his neighborhood.
Smith was making plans to meet up with a friend at a nearby bar when he received a picture of the pub’s dress code. Speaking to Yahoo Lifestyle, he stated that “it immediately struck a chord.” Not knowing how others would respond, he uploaded the image on Facebook.
“I post a lot of stuff on Facebook, so I thought a few of my friends would chime in. But what happened next I was not expecting,” he said.
The post garnered a host of comments, and Smith quickly realized that he wasn’t the only one who felt unsettled by the code, which restricted clothing items like straight-brim caps, hoodies, bandanas, white tees, and Timberland work boots. Many called the dress code “prejudicial.”
“Code for no black people,” one wrote.
“Racist. Hands-down,” wrote another.
However, some came to the pub’s defense, stating that it was possible the bar wanted its customers “to show up in more classy attire.”
“Not that hard can get a whole outfit that looks good at Macy’s for like $80,” one wrote.
Some of the people who did not believe that the restrictions were racist quickly pointed out that the pub’s enforcement of the dress code was also flawed.
“My problem isn’t the dress code. It’s the fact that Murphy’s Law only enforces the dress code for people of color. I tried to go there a few years back and they denied me entrance because of my outfit but there was a group of white people that had on similar outfits like the one I had on,” one person wrote.
Smith expressed that the comments were a clear indication that more needed to be done.
He said: “A picture is worth a thousand words. The comments streamed in. People were very passionate about it on either side of the spectrum. To me, the act of posting that dress code, without any prompting, and seeing the response which ensued, warrants a change.”
He had a number of suggested changes: “I would like to see the fashion do’s rather than the fashion don’ts. What do they want people to look like, rather than what do they not want them to look like. I’ve been getting inquiries of ‘Am I trying to get more black people into these clubs?’ I’m not! I just feel in this day and age you should not be able to post something with that type of negative undercurrent on the front of your pub.”
Murphy’s Law Irish Pub declined to comment.