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.
It seems like no one wants to talk about the discrimination at #ASU.
— Lynn Gedeon (@LynnGedeon) January 18, 2016
Trying to get to a so-called free admission club at Karibe Hotel, "Asu" told they've reached capacity. Only to see 10-15 light skin get in
— Ilio D (@durandis) January 13, 2016
After multiple friends have complained about discrimination at Asu Bar I think it's now fair to say it's systematic.
— Etant Dupain (@gaetantguevara) January 12, 2016
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