Martin, "White Sale," July 3
In his July 3 column about the dress codes in the Power & Light District, David Martin was evenhanded and factually accurate — with one exception. The ACLU is indeed involved in looking at the seemingly racist dress codes at KC Live and in the Power & Light District. We have been processing complaints since the week the district opened, and we have a team of lawyers reviewing constitutionality issues there.
Be assured, David. We're on it.
Executive Director, ACLU of Kansas
and Western Missouri
We applaud David Martin's column on the dress code at the Power & Light District. Our public servants have a duty to ensure fair and reasonable practices on the part of commercial interests, especially when their projects are subsidized using funds supplied by taxpayers.
Perhaps a more salient feature of the culture of the Power & Light District is the misrepresentation of "Kansas City" in the district itself.
How many of its establishments are based in Kansas City? Certainly Famous Dave's does not come to mind when one thinks of Kansas City barbecue. Were local vendors and developers ever solicited to play a role in this lucrative venture? And why should P&L, which is certainly drawing tourist and local revenue from other worthy areas of town, be uniquely exempt from ordinances such as the ones prohibiting drinking on public streets?
Perhaps our most absurdly obvious complaint is not exclusion based on race but exclusion based on pocketbook. Six dollars for a beer? Instead of embracing our local flavor, we have ended up with yet another entertainment center that no more reflects what is Kansas City than Chipotle.
Once again, those who might attempt to make our city a truly metropolitan community have wasted a unique opportunity in the face of a big-city developer and other interests. Or were they too sleepy to notice — or care?
As for us, we will continue to frequent those establishments that we feel are fair to their clientele and are more rooted in — and representative of — Kansas City.
Magan Rice and Jeremy Rush, Liberty
I am truly appalled at the way the African-Americans are treated at the Power & Light District. Our tax dollars are also used to pay for this project. I expect a dress code, yes — but one that is equal and fair to everyone. I see Caucasian males and females dressed inappropriately and nothing is done. I, for one, will not spend my money down there, even though it is the same color for everyone: green.
All African-Americans are not gun-toting, gang-banging troublemakers. Some of us grew up with morals and respect and know how to represent ourselves in a respectful manner. These same people who want to keep us out are the same people whose kids try to dress like us, listen to our music, talk like us, burn their skin by tanning to be dark like us. Don't try to be like us if you want to keep us out of your world.
This area of downtown should have been named "The Power & White District." Oh, excuse me, that is not politically correct and it suggests racial injustice. But isn't that what the dress code is implying? I will continue to patronize the black-owned and -operated nightclubs and bars — at least I know I am a welcome guest.
Carla Gray, Kansas City, Missouri
I appreciate Martin's article and thank him for writing it. This past weekend, I was down at the Power & Light with some friends who were in town. These were very important people in the hip-hop, R&B world. They are thinking about holding a hip-hop summit on teen violence in Kansas City. I told them the dilemma that the African-Americans face when it comes to indulging in the P&L District.
We proceeded to head down there with me wearing a white T-shirt on purpose; once we got there, we were all stopped because of long shorts and my white tee. I then started pointing out every white tee and raggedy shirt or pants and extremely revealing clothing article that was granted access. It was my job to sell to the guys that Kansas City would be a good place to hold this summit, which would bring in millionaires from all over the United States, including professional athletes from baseball, football and basketball.
I couldn't do that because of the racist actions of the P&L District. Yes, I did make a good impression on my visitors because we now have another agenda. What makes a man? What makes a black man? What makes trends that change year by year in all cultures so wrong that a person can't wear what he wants — as long as it's decent — in an outdoor environment with scantily dressed women and extremely drunk patrons? White T-shirts and long shorts should be the least of their worries.
Keith Williams, Kansas City, Missouri
Nobody is compelled to patronize the Power & Light District. Those who find the rules of conduct oppressive are more than welcome to take their patronage elsewhere. The Cordish Co. learned the lessons of Bannister Mall well and is not willing to risk its multimillion-dollar investment by lowering standards of admission. I am almost certain that a business seminar is conducted in college titled: "Remember Bannister Mall."
Kenneth Lee, Raytown
Pitch Music Awards
Didn't notice a Latin or World Music category this year on the Pitch Music Awards ballot — hmm.
There are some great acts, though no validation is needed — they have a following that validates them in venues that sell out! Maybe The Pitch staff isn't into world music this season, and that's OK. Maybe if KC caught up to real mainstream Latin and world music acts, the best local acts wouldn't have to travel outside KC and would be able to share locally what we share around the country. But that happens when folks are musically uneducated or afraid to open other horizons in KC. I think the politically correct word would be ignorance. If you don't know you have the world in your backyard, maybe you just need to get outside the bubble and enjoy it all. I read The Pitch, and there isn't any horizon you folks would not cross to tell it all — great local magazine. Someone slipped through the cracks on the "World Beat" category!
You are invited to my birthday bash on July 19 at the Westport Beach Club. There is life in world-beat music and in El Mambo world!
Miguel DeLeon, El Mambo Orquestra
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