Are You the Right Color for ASU?

This post is also available in: Kreyol

It’s the weekend, and you have plans to meet up with friends to celebrate. You have money in your pocket, and you’re ready to have a good time. You get to the bar, and you’re placed in a line, separate from other people who are allowed to enter freely. No, it isn’t because you don’t reach the age requirements; you’re simply not the type of person that is granted entry into this bar. You ask yourself, what exactly is the difference between me and the people who are allowed to enter?

This is the situation that has been going on at ASU Rooftop Lounge, a bar located inside Karibe Hotel. Several people have shared their experience with the discriminatory policies of who is and isn’t allowed into this bar via social media. The stories all sound the same: people being told that the bar is at full capacity. But what they really mean to say is that the bar is at full capacity for a certain type of person because moments later, a group of people with fairer skin are granted immediate entry.

 

The most disturbing part about all this is that none of these stories shock me. It doesn’t shock me because I know all too well the hypocritical, elitist, colorist society we live in. I know that there are many places where I will not feel comfortable because they send a message that their services are for members of the elite. But the most revolting part of all this is how we try to justify this terrible mindset. We have accepted the special treatment of lighter skinned/ milat people because this is the way Haiti is, and always has been.

Division in our society according to skin color has people thinking that in order to be somebody, they have to befriend a class of people who do not even want to be associated with them. Who I am and who you are should not depend on who we rub elbows with, or your last name, or what clubs you attend, what church you attend, what school you go to, where you vacation, or whether you have an eagle or palm tree on your passport. It is because of this culture of colorism and elitism that people continue to turn a blind eye to these instances of discrimination and humiliation, silently hoping that one day they too will be allowed entry and access to this circle of blan and milat.

Asu is not the first place in Haiti to treat people this way. I’m glad that people are being brave enough to speak out against this discriminatory treatment, but I hope that we can take a good look at ourselves and start treating this problem in our own homes, in our government, and all other sectors.

This post was originally written in: Kreyòl

Doris Lapommeray

Doris Lapommeray

Doris Lapommeray (Pommeris) is a Haitian architecture student studying in Barcelona, Spain. Doris is a creative and lover of the arts, a painter, drawer, and jewelry maker. She playfully describes herself as a cousin of Basquiat, and niece of Erykah Badu. She is the Creative Director of Woy Magazine.

21 Comments
  1. This im sorry my dear is a lie! ASUhas a capacity of people it can take! And they must respect that! YOU haitian people always have ti bad mouth talk things and put problems where there’s not! I MY SELF have been denied in asu for 1 none proper dress code and 2nd cause they reached their capasity AND IM THERE EVERY FREAKING FRIDAY!!!! I have friend from all type of skin color i see people of all type of skin color there!!!! So please before saying trash like this inform yourself on why someone has to take certain mesurement! If you have a guest list of 60 people whether these people are in there or not they have to take them in count! Cause they have 60 ppl guessed and when these ppl come and find they lounge/table taken if it was you who were s in that position how would you feel?!!! Or how would you feel if a place is over crowded and you cant move! Dance and cant get to the bar ot get a proper service?? Cause its too slow?! Ou ta pral monte laptop ou vin di how expensive they are for a crappy service?! KNOW WHAT YOU WANT! Wap critikel la mais leu yo few li USA ou bien Espagne kotew ye a Nou femen bouch nous nou pas di way! Paskeu li normal se bon club se bouncer ki genyen fok ou on jan poul kitew antre!? Right? Well its the saw damn thing! In Haiti at ASU

    1. Your comment pissed me off and I had to leave a reply. So, you’re saying it’s acceptable because it happens in other countries like the US?
      I’ve never been to ASU but I can tell she’s not the only one complaining about this situation. Depi se pa nou menm yon bagay rive nou minimize l. Li ka gen rezon li ka twonpel, men sa ki enpotan se kel pale e denonse sa ki pa paret dwat nan je pal.
      Peace

  2. This post is nothing but your projection…in every country the same thing happens and guess what, yes it is discrimination but the racism card and making it about Asu does not apply here…i have been denied entrance at clubs in the states before, during my college years, and i could say i am “fair” skin while they let a bunch of other people(dark and light) through…yes it sucks and yes it made me feel crappy and frustrated and yes it’s not cool to be in this position but i am so sorry to tell you it happens everywhere and to the best of us and yes it is based on shit….but trust me it has nothing to do with “racism” nor you per se…and it is NOT an ASU thing! PEACE and LOVE to you all. Let’s try to apply 2 of Don Miguel Ruiz’s 4 major agreements: do not take anything personally and do not make assumptions.

  3. This article is biais and is an attempt to undermine efforts been made by local haitian entrepreneurs to create a standard place where everyone can mingle and enjoy themselves.
    Out of 20 times I have gone to Asu, I was told only twice that the place was packed and that I could not get in. The other times I just showed up earlier than midnight in order to avoid the “peak” hour where everyone shows up at once.
    I have been to a few countries and I can tell you that Haiti is the only place where many with different social background socialize in the same clubs. Wherever you go in the rest of the world and even in the USA, the economic elite doesn’t share any close proximity to the rest. In Haiti everyone mingles in the same place without any obvious tension.
    This article is not fair and can only reflect the author’s ill assessment and own insecurities.

  4. Ooh yes it’s true. Came in Haiti during summer and was not allowed to enter but some other people who came after me got in. Was so angry, never went there anymore. Nice article, speaking the truth!! ????

  5. So this article has been written based on one side of the story? No effort on the part of the writter to try to contact Asu’s staff to shed some light on the matter….ain’t that discrimination too? Pitiful…

  6. I disagree with your article. Most of the time I got refused entry at Asu was because there were too many people on the deck or because they already predict by the number of tables how many and have to respect the occupancy rate of the space. At all the events at the Karibe, I see all shade of people. Sorry, haters.

  7. I have to say that this article is very sad and a reflection of this country.

    I am black and it happens that I do know the owners of ASU. The places looks great. The food is average and the service can be improved. Isn’t the case everywhere in PauP?

    It is a place however where I can bring people visiting in pride. Show them another image of Haiti. One of progress and improvement. A country moving forward.

    In every country discrimination does exist. We all have our prejudicee and we need to start accepting the reality of the world we leave in. Read your history, analise your behaviour and be part of the solution not of the problem.

    Yes it is first a question of appearance, of means and also of networking. I have been to places around the world from Dubai to Tunis, from Athenes to Buenos Aires. In some cases the doors were opened and in another they were not. I never looked at it as being because of my color necesarely. 

    Let me tell you about a little experience done in NYC where I went for grad school.
    It was done with some friends following a class about networking and social acceptance. One weekend, I walked to a happening bar with a couple (black couple). We did the line-up and were greated after having to wait 15@20 minutes. Went back a week later with four of my male friends (black and white) and they told us that the bar was full. We did see others go in and they were ”regulars”. Was it profiling? I believe it was and so did my friends. But it is the reality.

    I think that we need to stop complaining and pointing fingers. Some people are trying to make this country better by investing in it. It is a starting point. Do the same. Do it better.

    I always say that we as haitians need to imagine that we are not in the Haiti but in another country. Would you make a fuss for not getting in? Would you start a riot? Probably not. There are other places to go to. If you feel they dont want your money or your business, go elsewhere. I have an idea. Go next door to the Dominican Republic and see if the treatment is different. I can name a couple of hi-end restaurants where you might not be looked at because of your color. But i promise you will feel people looking at you because you have a creol accent. They will wonder if you are french or haitian? Some will smill and others will not. Who cares? 

    Dress for the part, behave the way you should and just start talking to the people around. What impression do people get from you? People are attracted to what they know and that reflects their image. White to white, rich to rich, powerfull to powerfull and so on.

    Go back to Asu at different hours, at different days of the week and see how you are treated. You will be surprised that when less under pressure and less busy you get more attention. Regulars will be treated differently and with priority that is for sure. Be a regular. It will help the economy. Invest in another place and make it better. Make it different.

    If you play the victime you will get treated as one.

  8. What a load of bullshit! And you guys are actually sharing it with no objectivity whatsoever. Let me explain something to you as a dj that regularly play at Asu: Their are ALL kinds of people in there. Bottom line is: Asu on Fridays starts at 9pm and closes at 2am. You come early you get in. You come late you don’t! simple. People have a tendency of showing up around 11-12 and are angry because they don’t let them in, what did you think was going to happen?? If its at full capacity, you will not get in! The people that skip the line and get in (at whatever time they come, whatever COLOR they are) are people with table reservations and bottle service, with their guests. This happens everywhere in every country! Stop making it look like racism, it is not! Furthermore, I wonder if the writer did even bother contacting the owners in order to know more on the matter. Writing an article, with a pretty serious accusation like this, based solely on one side of the story seems pretty unfair to me…

  9. This is an absurd story, it happens in all clubs all around the world….Selective clients; beautiful, sexy, attractive clients thats what attracts people, nothing to do with color, race, religion, fat, skinny, ugly, pretty and etc……… That is why the world is all fucked up, people lie, make up bs stories and create drama for no reason…..peace and love…..Put your personal issues to the right and let people live. Those articles create drama all around the world for no reason. We are all Haitians…….and black….So if you have any issues at home keep them there…

    PEACE

  10. The owners of Asu are black. Sounds like a bunch of people crying because they did not get what they wanted so they use racism to quell there frustrations. And for a writer to actually write this without even doing an ounce of research? You should be stripped of such privilege to write. There is a responsibility as a writer. Just like any other profession. Do your homework first.

  11. I can’t beleive i wasted my time reading this trash. This article is so dumb and not even worth reading. Its people like you that create segregation in Haiti, inventing it when it’s not there. I’m sorry for you that you are so ashamed of your color.The asu deck is pretty small, if they have table reservations of an amount of people then try to do some math and realize that there’s not much space left for last minute people at the door. (Assuming you do know how reservations work). Im black and Im always at Asu, I have never felt out of place. I believe they go for a clientele that knows how to behave AND DRESS in public. Understand that Asu is running a business its not a question of black or mulat (which is disgusting topic that frustrated people love using as a scapegoat for their internal complexes and battles). It’s a questions of big spenders and regulars. Reservations will always have priority. THESE PEOPLE ARE RUNNING A BUSINESS. Not an NGO for people to come complain about dumb shit while NOT consuming at the bar AND looking like a pile of mess when others are trying yo escape, enjoy and have themselves a good time.

  12. This is a very bold accusation. Call it anything from favoritism, to money talking, to flat out discrimination based on means and reputation, but based on skin color? That is very very inappropriate, shame on you!

  13. What a bunch of bulkshit. You people actually want to create a problem where there is not. You prob shld not be let in period!! The owners are not white just for ur info !!!

  14. I had the same issue at ASU, last December when I along with my husband tried to go into ASU to go pick up our daughter. Even though we explained to the security guards the reason why we had to go in, they were arrogant and got physical. We ended up sending a friend to go get our daughter.

  15. Nope I wasn’t the right color! Classism and racism…that was my experience one evening when My fiancé and I attempted to enjoy a night out on the town at Asu Rooftop Lounge We were turned away due to a “private party” taking place – as soon as we were turned an entourage of the perceived acceptable clientele slid right in…we knew a couple members of the group and they confirmed immediately…NO private party was taking place. I was utterly disappointed, not only was I looking forward to checking the space out and supporting this fine estahblishment in Haiti. I’m an avid traveler and I’ve never experience this blatant display of classism and racism. We were properly dressed and in line well before midnight. Lastly, I’ve promoted events and there’s a proper way to create buzz and crowd control. If you are at capacity you hold the line or change the tempo of the evening to flush some patrons out. This allows for more patrons into the facility and a new cycle of party goers spending money throughout the night. Clubs around the world create tiers of access based on how much you are willing to spend. At the end of the day it doesn’t make business sense to turn people away, but hey a lot of business in Haiti don’t really NEED the money otherwise customer service would be top notch. No one is trying to destroy the effort put forth by the owners and the estahblishment. As a business owner myself if I receive more than 2 complaints then I know if a problem. We live in a society where immediate feedback determines what you eat for dinner. It is our duty as patrons to bring up an issue for the betterment of the estahblishment and the county overall. Let’s also make that racism is not only perpetuated by whites…Black people can be racist and further you can not deny Haitian history of classism. Let’s call Spade a spade for the sake of recognizing a problem in an effort to fix it.

  16. Last weekend i went to ASU WITH a reservation in a large group. We were delayed and looked over because they were at “capacity”. Being an open minded person, I just observed for a while. The bouncer had a single sheet of paper, folded up, rarely even glanced at it while letting in people with fair skin.
    I watched a beautiful dark woman, nicely dressed and well spoken, request entry. The bouncer got in her face, telling her there was no room. Once her 2 fair skinned friends arrived behind her, he let all 3 in, without consulting his prop of a reservation list. Imagine my shock!

    Anyone that says that this does not happen needs to check their privilege! They let us in 6 at a time because that was “the rule” (suddenly and just for us). Just a reminder, we had a reservation.

  17. This is so sad! All parties must come together and make sure everybody is happy. Put some signs and just be fair! If you never had a problem at ASU this is your luck and just try to be considerate about someone else complaints. Educate the bouncers about their true duties… As gatekeepers they are also part of the entertainment machine. Ownners take notes! And remember this is business and try to make peace for the sake of your pockets. All my people let’s evolve together no lies no discriminations. No matter what, Haiti will be the best again….this is just a cycle. Love you all!

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