“If you’re not white, you’re missing out… I’m not saying white people are better, I’m saying being white is clearly better.”
I am reposting this article in full because I think everyone should read it… all of it [and then check out my rally story after the jump]. Dori Maynard*** writes:
A few hours before the recent Rally to Restore Sanity, the general manager of a Hampton Inn in Washington, D.C. kicked me out of his hotel, forcing me to stand on the street to wait for my colleague in 39-degree weather.
The incident began when I arrived early for a breakfast meeting with a program officer from one of the major foundations that supports the nonprofit I run. We were in town for the Online News Association’s annual convention and wanted to catch up.
After looking around the lobby, I settled on a seat at a table where I could watch the elevators.
Right in front of me was an older white guy wearing a T-shirt with the word “eracism” emblazoned on the back. Given that the tenor of our national conversation these days has me increasingly fearful about where this country is heading, I was touched to see him making such a strong statement and got up to tell him so.
He was in town for the rally, and we discussed that and the general mood in the nation. When the conversation ran its course, I turned to return to my seat.
That’s when the general manager stopped me and asked if I was a guest at the hotel. I explained I was not but was there for a business meeting with a guest. “Ma’am, you’ll have to leave the hotel,” he said, leading me through the lobby and toward the doors.
I thought he had misunderstood, so I repeated that I was in fact there at the invitation of a hotel guest. “Ma’am, you’ll have to leave the hotel,” he repeated. Slowly, I began to realize that this was no case of “mistaken identity.”
The general manager apparently had deemed me so undesirable that he did not think I was fit to sit in the lobby of his Hampton Inn.
Somewhat disoriented, I managed to have the presence of mind to tell the front desk clerk to call my colleague and let him know that I would be unable to meet him in the lobby as planned because I was being escorted out of the hotel.
The general manager and I watched as she spoke into the phone. Clearly, I was there to meet a paying guest. But the general manager continued to repeat, “Ma’am, you’ll have to leave the hotel.”
People have asked why I did not refuse to leave and then insist that he call the police.
I think that the truth is I was blindsided.
My professional life is all about working with the news media to ensure that all segments of our society are accurately and fairly portrayed. I often speak of the corrosive effects of skewed media images on our public policy and personal lives.
As a person of color in this country, I have many times felt as if I am under greater scrutiny, so I compensate and arm myself as best I can. I consciously try to act in a way that reassures those around me.
Taking a cue from my father, I try to dress as well as possible, almost as if I’m sending up a silent prayer that if I look like this, maybe you won’t treat me like that.
But walking into a hotel lobby a for a business meeting is such a mundane and common occurrence in my life that it never dawned on me to be on guard.
It wasn’t only the manager who blindsided me. Equally shocking was my own reaction.
We have programs that teach people how to talk across difference, including not internalizing another person’s negative reaction. Intellectually, I knew this had nothing to do with me. Yet all I felt was shame.
Henry Louis Gates Jr., was roundly criticized for screaming “you don’t know who you’re messing with,” according to a police report, as the Cambridge cop arrested him in his own home. [I wrote extensively about Gates-gate, starting here.]
I wanted to shout the same thing, not as an arrogant assertion of my authority but as an anguished cry for recognition of our shared humanity.
“You don’t know who I am. I could be your mother, your sister, your cousin or your aunt. I am a fellow human, not something to be discarded on the street.”
I said none of that.
The closest I came was, “Why are you doing this to me? You know I am meeting someone here.” Even I could hear the weakness in my voice, further deepening my sense of humiliation. That was the only time the general manager deviated from his script., saying, “We have to protect our other guests. Ma’am, you’ll have to leave the hotel.”
I made one more lame attempt to assert myself and asked for his name. He thrust his card at me, opened the front door of the hotel and ushered me into the cold. The card identified him as Joseph Galvan, General Manager of Hampton Inn Washington DC Convention Center.
Stunned, I stood shivering on the street wondering what the heck had just happened to me.
People have asked me whether I want Galvan fired. The truth is I don’t want him ever to do this to someone else, particularly someone younger and truly vulnerable. But firing him won’t solve the problem.
As I pointed out after NPR recently fired Juan Williams, just because you shut someone down doesn’t mean you’ve lifted up the issue.
Our Fault Lines framework teaches that it will be very difficult for us to reach common ground until we learn to have the difficult conversations around charged issues. That’s what I would like to see happen this time.
I would like to sit down and have a conversation with the general manager and his colleagues. I want to know what and who he saw when he looked at me in the lobby of his hotel. I want to discuss his underlying assumptions and how he came to them.
After hearing about what had happened to me, my cousin Peter looked up the company on the Internet and learned that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had sued one of its Indianapolis properties about a month ago. I’d like to talk to company representatives and learn what happened and what they think about both of these incidents. I’d also like to know what the company’s guidelines are for escorting people out of the lobby.
This is what we teach and preach in our media work because we don’t think we have a chance to restore our national sanity if we can’t even determine how to have a civil conversation with each other.
I also attended the rally. I have a couple friends who were nice enough to let me stay in their apartment in Georgetown while they are out of town. It is a very nice building with a lot of upstanding citizens. I guess my friends hadn’t sufficiently alerted the entire condo association that their loud black friend was going to be staying there because I swear, I was getting some of the strangest looks from some of the residents of the building.
I was extremely aware, or at least paranoid, that these people were thinking “What is she doing here?” My friend (whose apartment it is) even joked with me before I got there, “We told the front desk you’d be arriving on Friday. We told them you’re black.” The funny thing is, as he said, “We told them you’re black,” I was saying, “Did you warn them that I’m black?”
Cut to a few days later (after I’d annoyed my friends by locking the keys in the apartment, having to take a cab to my friend’s brother’s house to get the spare key, and etc. (It’s typical me, and because they know me, their reaction to my various shenanigans was more “frustrated parent” than “why are we friends with her again?” Besides, I have the mentality of a 20 year old and a raging case of ADD; it’s not really my fault)), I get a rightfully angry message from my friend that the condo association was unhappy with them because their guest (me) had a “very loud party with 8-10 guests until late.”
Uh. No I didn’t. I had some people over; we were listening to friggin’ Portishead, drinking gin, and talking about sex and politics. I am super loud normally, and when I get drunk, I’m even louder. But 8-10 people? No way.
But guess what? All but one of us was black. I kept trying to rationalize it in my head, while not making lame excuses to my friend, because it certainly wasn’t their fault, and I wasn’t going to play the race card that early.
I was thinking to myself, it’s probably just that the people who lived in the condo weren’t used to any noise at all. Or, maybe we shouldn’t have been drinking and smoking on the balcony. We did get a “Please you keep it down” from a woman upstairs at midnight. At that point there were two of us on the balcony. And we went inside and kept the shit down.
So who knows what went on. I apologized profusely, sent them flowers (who doesn’t like flowers?) and wrote a professional sounding letter that they could send to the HOA. Of course I made sure to mention lawyer and law school about fourteen times, and I used as many “smart sounding words” as I could. I mean, it was Halloween weekend, after a huge ass rally, and they had a whole meeting about me! I’m sure they were very concerned.
But really, we weren’t that loud. I can’t help but think, “It’s because they saw a gaggle of Negros1 walking in the building, a little bit drunk after having been out in Georgetown.” Then I think, “No, it’s because I’m a loud drunk asshole.” I don’t know what it was. I keep going back and forth.
My point is this: I always feel like I need to state certain things about myself up front. I’m 36 (I look like I’m 20 and somehow being 36 gives me more gravitas); I’m a lawyer (that always helps); and of course, whomever I am talking to can immediately tell that I’m very well-spoken.
I’ve had a good life. I have a good life. I don’t want for anything. There are people who are so much worse off than I am. I’m not complaining. I can dress well and be extra friendly to disarm people. It’s my cross-eyed bear.
It’d be nice, though, to walk into a room and not immediately start counting brown faces.
It’d be nice to not get furtive glances my way when I’m shopping.
It’d be nice to meet a group of people and not feel like an asshole because I’ve met Mr. So and So or Ms. Whatsherface before, but I don’t remember because it was at some social function where I met tons of people, and the only reason Mr. So and So and Ms. Whatsherface remember who the hell I am is because I was the only black person at that function.
Woe is me.
1 One such Negro is the gentleman who stirred up a metric fuck ton of controversy with this post over at Pajiba, Brother, Can You Spare a Dime.
***The original post stated her name was “Dorothy.” It’s “Dori.”
[cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles]
Sort of law suits, nothing will stop it.
Even law suits will just cause it to hide in another guise,
People just suck.
That was an epic thread that brought asshattery (and BigTodd) plus awesome fun over on Pijaba the other day.
I made popcorn….
I would love an answer as to how Joseph Galvan thought he was protecting his guests and what danger a middle aged black lady posed to them. I’d also like to know if it’s company policy to not allow guests to meet visitors in the lobby.
The “midnight” part might be your first clue. All in all it sounds like a poor decision by your friend.
Why do you think that either instance was related to race? I’m white, and sometimes people are shitheads to me and my white friends. I’m not saying that the problem wasn’t race, but I don’t necessarily see anything that requires that conclusion.
I don’t understand that manager. I’m just scratching my head. What the hell was he afraid of that he had to “protect” his guests from?
Did he maybe think she was a hooker?
Or did he just have to protect them from seeing a dark face in the lobby?
Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people)
He assumed Ms. Maynard was a hooker. Doesn’t make it right but there it is. I guess Mr. Galvan’ll be ruing the day he made that assumption. I’m a 37 year old black woman who looks twenty-something and I always make sure to dress conservatively on business trips but yeah I’ve gotten some strange looks at hotels over the years – I’m in a field where I’m usually the only person of color and often the only woman at gatherings.
Whew. I’d been worried about your country’s recent descent into madness (as a Canadian watching the dimwit vote elect MORE of the Republican Taliban into office), but such BLATANT racism is hard to fathom. I’m aware there’s still a sizeable number of goobers in your nation, but still, wow. Easy to say for myself as a white Canadian, but if something similar had happened to me I would have stood my ground and let everyone within earshot know I was politely asking on what specific grounds that weaselly dipshit was inconveniencing me…if that was official business policy, show me the sign I missed…Again, wow and aargh!!! You and your friend are too classy for white trash like those clowns.
Regarding Dorothy Maynard, I had a run in with a law enforcement officer a couple years ago at the airport and I admit I was flustered and it took me a minute to get my feet under me. It had been so long since I’d done anything but exchanged pleasantries with LE, that I was unsure what was happening for a minute or so.
Which has absolutely nothing to do with what happened to her except to say most adults don’t expect to get manhandled like that.
That gentleman had the right to inquire about her business there as it is private property, but that should have ended it.
You really need to watch the Louis CK video on this post….
@Jonny Scrum-half: With the last name of Scrum-half I’m sure they ask for cash up front at whatever hotel you check in to.
:: checks calendar, makes sure it’s still 2010 ::
Words fail. But at least she’s done one very courageous thing: she named names. Both the manager’s and the hotel’s. I predict she’s going to get a very nice letter from Hampton Inn legal very swiftly, and possibly even a few free stays. And that manager will get a stern talking-to if not outright demotion. Hotels are very sensitive to corporate image, and this is a huge black mark.
@Yutsano: They had better get on top of it, because right now it looks like if you’re black, you’re not welcome at Hampton Inns.
@ thread: I can’t believe how furious I am about this.
@Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people):
That’s rich coming from a Hilton property.
Vision: To fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality.
Mission: We will be the preeminent global hospitality company – the first choice of guests, team members and owners alike.
H Hospitality – We are passionate about delivering exceptional guest experiences.
I Integrity – We do the right thing, all the time.
L Leadership – We are leaders in our industry and in our communities.
T Teamwork – We are team players in everything we do.
O Ownership – We are the owners of our actions and decisions.
N Now – We operate with a sense of urgency and discipline.
The ladies I work with and I are alwasys talking about this:
Cause it is soo true. I know, that the first thing I do whenever I walk into any building, bank, store, shop, office, etc, I literally case the joint looking to see any other Black faces, and I make not of them. It’s not obvious, it’s not blatant, it’s just something WE (Afr Am, POC) all do.
Case in point, after graduating from college with my Med Tech degree, I was out job hunting, and I went into this one lab for a job interview. They gave me a tour of the lab where I would be working if I got the job. It was mid-morning, and the first thing I noticed was that there were no POC there at all, this included the clerks, support staff, etc. I also seemed to be the youngest. I wasn’t offered the job, but I was actually glad I wasn’t, I was immediately uncomfortable with the idea, that I would be the only POC on the morning staff, and at that time, I was young, and just wasn’t willing to even contemplate working there.
@debit: I kinda want to make a reservation and then call back to cancel citing this and/or inquire about a reservation but say I am concerned because I want to have a friend meet me in the lobby.
@Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people):
Not to be snarky in any way here, but that would include pretty much every professional services category I am familiar with. Attorney, Marketing, Consultant, IT, Sales, Accountant, etc.
It’s a disgrace, but in some ways IMO self-perpetuating. If you’re a young black female law student and you clerk for a firm who may have one black attorney out of 50 for a ratio, what would motivate you to join that firm?
From the manager’s point of view, Ms. Maynard was a prostitute. It seemed to him that she had solicited the man.
It has nothing to do with being black. It would happen to any woman especially if she is well dressed.
It’s better to meet someone somewhere other that a hotel or motel lobby.
This has been going on for years and years.
I’m not say it’s right.
As for the condo, the associations can be very fussy and picky. And snooty.
Four years ago, our yearly meeting (I’m a Quaker) decided to start exploring racism and unspoken assumptions within our community. I’m grateful for a community that created a place where I could wrestle with some of my internal realities that did not fit with who I believed myself to be, and who I want to be. Slowly, amazingly slowly, I am beginning to learn how to bring those assumptions that are buried within me out into the Light and look at them. Posts like this help me in that process. thanks.
Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people)
@Corner Stone: Yes.
What about her mode of dress made him believe she “might be a prostitute”? She was not dressed provocatively from what I can tell.
What was it that made her seem “whorish/escort”-like? Do they ask any woman who approaches a man at the bar to “leave the hotel”? Do they assume any unescorted woman at the hotel is a prostitute? What is here actions towards the gentleman (who did not run from her affronted upon starting a conversation) said “professional” to the manager? My bet is that the answer to all of these questions is mothing, no, & negative. So what was it about this woman that was different?
I know certain people’s first reaction is maybe it wasn’t racism. And that’s fine as some reflex reaction, but after some thought, at the very least racsim become high on the list of things.
I am calling bullshit on the “thought she was a hooker” thing. Have any of you read the article linked? Did you look at her picture? Fuck me, I look like a hooker more than she does. But let’s assume that’s why she was kicked out. Were there any other women in the lobby? I’m guessing yes. Were they asked to leave? Remember, she didn’t say she was there to meet someone until after she was told to leave. So, why was she the only woman kicked out?
Angry Black Lady
that’s my point.
Someone needs to explain to that hotel manager that the whole purpose of a lobby is to have a place for visitors to wait for hotel guests. And yes, even if they’re black.
Everyone who reads that story needs to drop Hampton Inns a sternly worded email — the local one, and the corporate office too.
One color they understand above all else — green. Let them know you’re not going to stay at a place where this kind of shit happens, and they’ll change their tune fast.
@Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people): I knew it!
@Angry Black Lady: Ssshhh…you’ll cornfuzzle his libertarian brain making sense like that. :)
@TR: Tweet at them @ HamptonFYI
@Maude: No, it has everything to do with being black because the association of woman with prostitutes comes far easier if it is a black woman. Especially if it is someone who is professionally dressed.
@debit: I feel for their social media person. This is gonna spill all over the AA blogs and Hampton Inn will find themselves smack dab in the middle of a boycott before they can blink. I’m honestly amazed they’re not more in front of this than they are right now. This could have a huge impact on Paris’ next shopping trip. Or is she still cut off from Daddy’s money? I can’t keep up.
High end what used to be called call girls and now escorts are usually dressed in expensive clothes. They do wear business suits and in another setting look like an executive.
The escorts have a low key appearance.
Hotel managers are afraid of the police accusing them of supporting prostitution.
A white woman would have gotten the same treatment. Any woman in that situation would have been tossed out.
A good book to read about escorts is the Mayflower Madam. Sidney Barrows (I think that’s the name) started a classy escort service in Manhattan. She described how she told the women to dress and act before and after meeting their dates.
Sidney was arrested and it was all over the NY papers.
Personally I’m going to choose other hotels than Hilton because I’ll be damned if I want the hotel I stay at to run off all the working girls.
@Maude: I what situation? Sitting in the lobby? Are honestly telling me that if I go downtown to meet someone before the theater I will be kicked out of the hotel just because I’m a woman? Please.
Not sure about this individual case being totally race based I will take ABL’s word for it. My experience is that HOA’s and people you tend to find living in those ant like colonies ruled by an HOA’s can be Aholes, regardless of race, creed, national origin, age, sex, or drink preference. My parents live in one, I done seen things. And they are white as white can be.
On that race and ethnicity stuff in general, I have no doubt at all that what ABL says is true. I got permanently radicalized in grad school and shortly after living near campus, and I saw how the same type of people of different race/ethnicities got treated. And also what I saw teaching at different college’s and living in different areas in Southern California.
Say something happens. Whatever. Loud party, neighbor sees somebody at a party piss in the bushes, broken bottle, overly loud movie night. The protocol is burned into my brain.
If you were a rich white frat, you could do what you damn pleased, and police hassled people who complained.
Regular white guy, ‘good Asian’ then policy knocked on the door and gave warnings, and low key enforcement, with police a little ticked off at complainers for taking them away from ‘real police work’
Black (this was ‘real police work’). four or five squad cars, some official asshole on loud speaker shutting down party. An arrest. If anything out of the ordinary happened, you got a helicopter. (I swear, sometimes if it was late at night, I would think, ‘Do not send an effing helicopter, for a loud party with a lot of black people, Pllleeaase, local law enforcement gods’ But usually, helicopter) Area was very safe to walk through if you were white, since cops were crawling all over the place for hours.
Hispanic/bad Asian: some body almost always ID’d as having a bad ‘tude towards authority and gets roughed up.
‘bad Asian’ was definitely Filipino, PI, Hmong; maybe Vietnamese, Cambodian, depending on that community’s rep in the area.
I taught at places on Southern California where Vietnamese was ‘good Asian’ and others where it was ‘bad Asian’ and the difference in how things went with the students and their families was stark. It was tragic, and in a very very black and grim way, hilarious and absurd. But in the end, sad, since I had to deal with students who were missing class or trying to get up money to repeatedly bail our a relative because they were put on some bogus ‘gang list’ for playing hooky one day.
This country is so messed up on race and ethnicity, it is tragic.
The only silver lining I can see to what is happening now is that so many Very Serious Right Thinking Sore Winner Tighty Whities are making such damn fools of themselves, it might shame the country into changing.
Like Obama, or not, the political fuss is idiotic. There is nothing to justify it, not one damn thing. People are acting completely stupid, humiliatingly and heartbreakingly funny stupid. They don’t see it now, but they will, or better yet, people who will do a lot voting some day do see it.
If a whole generation of white aholes discredit themselves in future generations, too damn bad, it will be for the benefit of all.
In all the hotel bars I’ve been in and conventions I’ve attended, I have never been propositioned by a black woman.
Been offered lots of interesting ideas by a variety of women, and men at times, but I can’t recall one who was black.
ETA – I understand you’re referring to some inherent bias, but just throwing the anecdote out there.
Whatevah. It’s obvious you are full of shit on this. Read the article, go to the webpage and look at the woman who was possibly deemed a “prostitute”, and tell me that that bullshit you are spotting means diddly squat.
High end call girls are a young woman’s game even now. So please with the call girl bullshit.
Go look a this woman, and tell me that that manager REALLY thought this middle age woman was a prostitute.
You don’t know about the escort services. You don’t know how hotels operate and why managers are so scared of being accused of having prostitution in their hotels. This is not a race issue. It is a female issue.
Read the book I suggested. It gives a good background on escorts and how it works.
That dude is totally fucken hilarious! I would have enjoyed hanging out at a party he was at!
Angry Black Lady
@Maude: click the link. look at her picture. does she look like a high end prostitute? i don’t think any reasonable hotel worker on the saturday of the rally to restore sanity would think that she was a prostitute waiting for a john. that’s ridiculous.
@Maude: You are so unbelievably full of shit. DID YOU LOOK AT HER FUCKING PICTURE? She looks like a nice, middle aged, rather plump grade school teacher. Jesus Christ on a fucking cracker, I am beyond words here.
Uhm… doofus? Someone not in the same apartment as you, let alone not even the same goddamned floor, has to ask you to keep it down, at midnight, then you were, no question about it, too fucking loud.
Go try it and see.
You may be thinking of streetwalkers as apposed to escorts. There is a stereotype about women who conduct business on the street. And those woman are not all black. That is a tv and movie stereotype.
@Angry Black Lady:
ABL, you just stereotyped a high end prostitute.
They don’t look like prostitutes. They do go out ot formal functions with men. They do go to fancy restaurants with men.
I do know this as I have known women who have worked in that business. I lived in Manhattan.
Some escorts are paying their way through college. Some have young children and need money.
I think prostitution should be legal.
@Maude: Lady, I may not be as well versed in the ins and outs of hookerdom as you are, but I have traveled, I do stay in hotels, I do wait for people coming in from out of town in hotel lobbies and I have dressed to look both professional and provocative (depending on who I was meeting) and not once have I ever been approached by staff and asked to leave or received more than an admiring look. Not even fucking once. You are, in my humble opinion, a loon. Good fucking day.
Okay. Think what you want.
@Maude: The book is 26 years old. It was written in 1983/4.
Ok, you are either an idiot or you are just being purposely obtuse.
I’ll leave you and your crusade for the lowly call girls to discuss it amoungst yourself
Okay, you are right. Happy now?
And don’t try to slime me.
You don’t know about that world, that’s fine.
Go read about it.
@Maude: If not racist, then sexist.
Either way, you’re being a jerk and the policy is stupid.
And it still holds true. It gives an idea of how it works. It has changed in some respects, but not completely.
@gwangung: I’d lay money this policy starts and ends at that particular property. If not, then the Hiltons have much bigger issues than a stupid manager.
Having prostitution illegal is stupid. Of course it’s sexist.
(Because I can’t edit comments)
I agree with Debit at #43. I used to do a bit of business travel and I would meet people in hotel lobbies, often of the hotel I was at or at theirs. I would have expected a manager or other clerk to hear my explanation and take my business card. Mr. Galvan apparently didn’t give her the chance to say who she was or who she was meeting. That’s a very bad business practice. (And I do think it was because she was black.)
Are you sure there aren’t some Republican lawmakers who are into this demographic — want to be told what to do by an authoritarian fantasy?
I do hope the person Dorothy was meeting had the good grace to light up the hotel manager’s ass over this. I’m Buddhist, so I try to be nice, but as I said about the whole H.L. Gates incident, I don’t know what he said to that cop, but it was tame compared to what I would have said to him, but then I stop and think, oh, right, that would never happen to me, I’m the ultimate white boy. I have lately become friends with a black lady who is not as angry as I’d like her to be, who similarly complains about having people stare at her everywhere she goes — she lived in NYC for many years before moving to Madison, WI, a relentlessly PC kinda place that would be shocked, SHOCKED to hear the complaints about racism I get from my new friend and another older friend from law school.
If a whole generation of white aholes discredit themselves in future generations, too damn bad, it will be for the benefit of all.
You’re an optimist. We are taking a step backwards where white ahole is the “new normal” for the next generation or two.
Maude: Either you’re the most sheltered person that ever lived and never visited a hotel lobby or you’re arguing just to hear yourself talk. I travel to business conferences two or three times a year. I often sit in hotel lobbies while waiting for a fellow attendee or for a session to start. I have often observed women dressed like, well, like my mama told me never to dress unless I wanted a hassle, and THEY WERE NEVER BOTHERED by hotel management. And by the way, my conferences happen in expensive, expensive hotel venues. A middle aged African-American woman dressed professionally shouldn’t have even raised an eyebrow.
And by the way, Sidney Barlow wasn’t arrested because her hookers sat in hotel lobbies.
@Bill Murray: Republicans find Sarah Palin attractive, so nothing would surprise me.
ABL, I lived in Southern CA for 42 years and I can recount more than a few incidents when out with black friends like you describe. My daughter’s ex- boyfriend is black and I’m sure a few heads exploded in my Torrance neighborhood when he moved in with us. He eventually charmed most of them, but not all. Just before I moved to NW Arkansas, some black friends came over to pick up some furniture I had sold to them. I wasn’t home when they arrived and they sat waiting on my front porch for about 10 minutes. A neighbor across the street, who did not have a relationship with any of us on the block, stood on her front porch and watched my friends the entire time. My daughter and her boyfriend were hassled by cops on a few occasions. Torrance cops are noted for that. They were also followed in stores on more than one occasion. These were two very beautiful, well-dressed, well-spoken young people.
Now I live in a county where there are about 5 black people at most. I miss the variety of a large metropolitan area. My daughter and I also attended the Rally—at least the tale end of it. What is normally a one hour trip from Fairfax into DC on the Metro took five and a half hours due to backed up traffic on the freeway and long lines at the station. We walked around for quite a while afterward talking to people. It was wonderful to be with such a happy, up-beat crowd.
The trade off for living here is my 23 acre toy farm. Just a few miles away is Eureka Springs which is a counter culture community—lots of gays, DFHs, artists, and regular folks. No one looks twice at inter-racial couples there. Also a few miles away is Harrison where there is clan activity to this day, and one of my black friends from Eureka would not even go there for a rodeo.
We are better than we once were though. There were towns with “Sun Down” laws in my life time. Greenville, TX had a big banner sign hanging over the roadway which said “The blackest land and the whitest people”. That sign didn’t come down ’til the late 60’s.
Loved your reference to the cross-eyed bear and wonder how many Juicers picked up on it since this does not seem to be a very churchy group. I didn’t know it was “Gladly the cross I’d bear” until I learned to read.
@Maude: Now work on the jerkiness. Sexism often works in tandem with racism and compounds each other.
@Yutsano: I would guess that every hotel in America has this policy. I would also guess that its enforcement is not encouraged. It’s kind of a “we have the right to refuse service, …” type disclaimer.
I have absolutely no idea about that particular hotel, but I do know that the vast majority of hotels near Newark Airport have a real issue with escorts (Craigslist was a big source) and I would not be surprised to see them question any woman who comes in on her own, sits down, gets up to talk to a random single man for a couple minutes then resturns to her seat. A black woman will probably get questioned more often, but women of all races will be hassled to some degree.
(Note: I am not defending the actions of the hotel in actually forcing her to leave the lobby. It should have taken 30 seconds to figure out who she was meeting, what the business was, etc. It seems like we are not taking the lesson from the Ann Landers food stamps birthday cake story and are jumping to conclusions without really considering the perspective of the other side.)
Thanks ABL. Good infuriating piece. Most white people don’t understand privilege. Most male white people *really* don’t understand it. I understand it partially as a woman, but not totally though my friends have tried to educate me gently through my years in organizing. We white people take so much for granted. Thanks for the video of the white guy trying to educate through comedy – but – it just is a little pasty, ain’t it?
You know, i figured it wouldn’t take long for some stupid asshole to attack, Maude. I was right.
What happened to the woman at the hotel lobby was wrong, obviously. She was probably profiled.
But, but, it could very well be that that particular hotel had problems with people that were not guests coming in and hanging out in the lobby. It could very well be the case that they had had problems with hookers/escorts, etc., meeting clients in the lobby, etc.
DC is a predominantly black town population wise, isn’t it? It stands to reason that the majority of the “working girls” would be black. It’s also true that guys visiting hotels from out of town on business often hire hookers. It’s quite possible that the hotel may have had a policy to ask non- guests to leave the lobby precisely because of this or because of homeless people coming in and hanging out. My ex-wife worked in a public library had an awful problem with homeless people coming in and doing this. Many were often under the influence of either alcohol and drugs and terrorized patrons..
I’m not saying any of this to justify what happened to the woman at the Hampton. This is especially the case after they called and confirmed that she was meeting a guest of the hotel. Even IF she was a “working girl”–if she wasn’t making a disturbance of any sort, then she she should have been allowed to stay.
As for ABL and her story about disturbing the residents–I’m calling BS on that being related to “race”. Drunks (or just someone liquored up) are often loud. Walls in many places are often thin as well. Some people don’t work standard schedules and may have to get up dead ass early on the weekend (I’m assuming this was the Friday before the rally or Saturday night after). I can see someone getting a case of the ass and complaining about that–and rightfully so irrespective of whether or not the people causing the disturbance were black or not.
Now imagine being the Black President…………
Good for you.
She is attractive to a lot of men–and I’m sure to many women–because she is physically attractive. She spoils it when she opens her mouth to demonstrate that she doesn’t have much between her ears.
I’ll back this up. If you dress poor (which I do because I’m a lazy ffck) then you get all the treatment I expect (based on anecdotal stories) color would bring on . . . security follows you around, customer service reps diss you. I have money to spend, people who treat me well despite how I look get my return business in spades.
FYWP ate my nice long post and I’m not rewriting the whole damned thing.
Only to say that I’ve cut up my HiltonHonors card and will be sending it to corporate on Monday morning with a letter exlaining my reasons.
Oh, and did I say FYWP?
Robert Jensen on his white privilege
I will make one defense of the condo residents: sometimes they build those damn things with such bizarre acoustics that the sound echoes way more than you’d think. In our apartment one time, it was driving us insane that the people in the building next door (literally across the driveway) were playing their music so damn loud and we were seriously thinking about calling the cops.
Then I went downstairs to get something out of my car and realized I couldn’t even hear the music standing directly below their condo. There was something about the way the sound bounced between the two buildings that made it sound extra-loud when it wasn’t objectively all that loud.
BUT … you may very well be right that they were on extra alert for too much noise once they caught sight of you and had their trigger set a bit lower for where it might have been if you were white. So that does factor in.
There are a lot of fucknuggets here that do that, Maude. Don’t back down from them.
They do the EXACT SAME THING as the “firebaggers” they complain about.
Angry Black Lady
@Maude: stereotyped a prostitute? i understand that not all prostitutes look like pretty woman. but never in my life have i seen a prostitute that looks like a college professor. it just seems ludicrous in this situation, especially when you add the fact that every hotel in DC was booked solid for the rally, and she was meeting someone for breakfast before the rally.
@Angry Black Lady
I wouldn’t have talked about this unless I had learned about it some years ago by meeting women and talking with them. Some men like Grandma Moses types.
I think what happened to Ms. Maynard was despicable.
I didn’t have a chance to get to that part, was too busy circling the wagons.
A college professor type look could be quite alluring to some men. See what I mean? SOme men don’t like young women.
If prostuitution was leagal and you killed off all the dirty old whitemen, I know I shouldn’t say that, perhaps it would easier for women.
How many times do you hear women called sluts, whores and so on?
Women do not have equality in the US.
What happened to Ms. Maynard makes me want to flush the manager’s head in the toilet.
Oh, and I hope you keep front paging here. This wasn’t a boring comments.
ABL, I honestly think that had Ms. Maynard been Mr. Maynard, the manager wouldn’t have done that.
Angry Black Lady
@Mnemosyne: that’s what my original thought was. my original thought was not “ZOMG! RACISM!” my original thought was “i am a very loud person and i was drunk.”
@Maude: fair enough. i admit i do not know much about sex workers. i guess i just think that’s not the likely scenario here.
How many white johns are kicked out of the lobby of most hotels?
I don’t think it was that the manager jerk thought she was a prostitute, just sayin’.
The guy was an ass worried that the black lady had had the nerve to “talk” to a white man.
End of story.
@Maody: Thanks for this essay.
@Angela: You’re welcome… met him at a lefty conference I helped set up at NCCU in Durham, NC in the early 2000’s.
So what I’m hearing is that there is “probable cause”, as it were, to–without any provocation–kick a woman out of a hotel lobby where she is meeting one of their guests if she meets one of the following conditions:
1. if she looks like a stereotypical prostitute, because she might be one, or;
2. if she doesn’t look like a stereotypical prostitute, because high-end escorts dress conservatively;
3. if she is young and pretty, or;
4. if she looks like a plump middle-aged schoolteacher.
Reducing to the lowest common denominator, this tells me that hotel managers have grounds to kick a woman out of a hotel lobby if she:
1. is a woman.
Is that about the size of it?
Y’know, private businesses can do that shit if they aren’t guests.
Doesn’t make it right, but it isn’t “public” property.
I suggest googling White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh… begins with:
“I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group”
@Maody: Again, thanks. Just starting to unpack this and these sources help.
Cheryl from Maryland
This is disgusting. Hampton Inn, I’ll remember this for my future business travels — time to find a new chain. You cost too much and are too entitled now anyway. Hello Holiday Inn Express!
As for Georgetown, I am not in a position to argue with ABL’s take on the situation, but that area has a very bad town vs. gown situation. The condo residents could have been thinking, shit, more rowdy students, get off of my lawn.
I’m bothered by the level of insults that are hurled at people who present a different point of view here.
I don’t see where Maude, for instance, has been rude or insulting or even used swear words, for that matter. Yet people have responded with hot personal insults because they disagree with her comments.
It’s something I’d expect at a Huffpo or Kos thread, not here.
Just my opinion.
Just Some Fuckhead
You must be new here. ;)
@Zuzu’s Petals: You’re right. She didn’t swear. What she did was refuse to acknowledge any point of view but hers and insisted that because of book written 20 some years ago that she must be right. When asked to look at facts that might show her theory to be wrong, she refused to consider them.
Look, I can be an asshole, and I was one tonight. But I consider doing the equivalent of “la la la la la la la I’m right because I can’t hear you” just as assholish.
That doesn’t excuse me from being a total bitch, naturally.
@MattR: Oh no! What you need to do is book the hotel meeting space, reserve 12 rooms and then cancel, based on your detailed recitation of this. “I’ve just become aware that a presenting official that I hoped would attend this conference won’ t use your space based on her treatment here”.
That will get corporate down wit a frown
I don’t think she refused to consider other points of view, it seemed to me she just didn’t agree with them. And I don’t imagine people won’t disagree. It was only an example, though, and perhaps I’m investing it all with more meaning than she or anybody else would care about.
As I said, it’s just my opinion.
@Zuzu’s Petals: And I’m going to clarify because my previous reply was rather flip. At the core of my rage toward Maude was her stubborn insistence that, essentially, this wasn’t a race thing, it was something else. That nice manager just wanted the prostitute out of his hotel, that’s all.
The problem, my problem, is that I don’t know how it could be seen as anything but racial. Were any other women asked to leave? No. Was she dressed provocatively? No. Does she look like a prostitute? No. And yet in the face of that, Maude continued to try to make it about something, anything other than race. I found it offensive and insulting and enraging. Obviously. Hence my ragegasm.
I’m already boycotting Denny’s and Cracker Barrel. I’ll add “Hampton Inn” and “Hilton” to the list.
When Barack Obama won the Presidency, I remember being surprised that racism hadn’t won this time.
The day after Election Day, I realized that racism had won, it was just a delayed reaction.
And people wonder why President Obama isn’t more aggressive and is so calm.
Hon, whatever you does, don’t go a changin’. I’m not sure what angle Maude is trying to represent other than go out of her way to excuse the white guy in all of this. But if it smells like a white sheet moment, go with your gut on that I say.
What I don’t get is that (Based on 30 seconds of Google) Joseph Galvan is the General Manager of a rather large hotel (on the job 3 months) and is personally booting people out of the lobby.
James Brolin never did that at the St Gregeory
@Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people):
It doesn’t happen just to black women. I’ve been asked to produce my key, especially when I was younger.
I think the condo thing was just people distrubed at night. We had a few years ago college students renting the house a couple of houses down. I have never called the cops on neighbors on anything ever but I did once because every freaking weekend turned into a drinking party with fireworks. And with gun nuts and all the other crazy nuts out there I don’t feel comfortable going out to tell some drunk to quiet down.
The Hampton Inn deal is racism, pure and simple. I’ve gone out shopping and to eat with a couple of black friends – you are almost always treated differently. BTW I stayed at a Hampton Inn years ago. I found a few strands of hair on the pillow of the bed before I had slept in the bed. Never stayed at a Hampton Inn since. Not that that’s going to stop me from writing to Hampton Inn about this.
I understand your views differed.
And I’m sorry if my comment came off as being aimed only at you. It was a general thing, really.
Kevin Drum was looking at last week’s exit polls and discovered that the group that saw the biggest increase — up by 56 points — was people who had not voted in 2008.
Yeah, tell me again this is a “post-racial society.”
@Karen: No mention of PUMA in there anywhere? Your comment seems oddly out of balance without it. Just doesn’t feel right.
@Mnemosyne: That group was white people?
was there ever a restaurant chain better named than “Cracker Barrel” for those that eat there…??
Or city. I knew Sacramento was okay when I realized that I could walk into a store and not be the only black face. And when I discovered that they had multiple brands of “ethnic” hair-care products at Safeway? After living in New England for 13 years, it was like coming home.
Crap, I forgot the link, didn’t I? Here it is:
Weird Findings from 2010’s Exit Polls
Yes, the increases were almost all white people, and especially white people who were 65+. It was pretty striking.
Sorry, can’t stick around to fight with you about it — on my way out to dinner.
@Yutsano: I would so attempt to horn in on your fake marriage if I wasn’t afraid of someone’s rusty farm implements.
@Zuzu’s Petals: No worries. The shoe fit so I slipped it on.
Hotel manager: racist as fuck and deserves to be fired. But as a card carrying member of the “shut the hell up, I’m trying to sleep” club, I hate noisy neighbors so I’m willing to believe that being a curmudgeon has no color.
@lamh32: This post and comments are making me think of a story my mother used to tell– two, actually.
1) Some time in the early 50s, she went to see a friend in NYC and was staying in a nice hotel. She was very excited to see that Dave Brubeck was playing in the lounge that evening and stopped in– at the lounge of the hotel where she was a guest— and was asked to leave because she was an unescorted woman. 30+ years later, she told me about it, and the embarrassment she had felt and impotent rage, that she didn’t do anything, just meekly left.
2) Just after WWII, she was relieved to transfer from Iowa to UCLA (first person in her family to go to college), partly because she didn’t have to scan every class and party to try to ascertain if anyone, anyone, else might be… Jewish. And that try as she might, 30+ years later, she still wasn’t over that habit, and was startled to find I don’t do the same. I don’t ever consciously look for the Jews in a new environment; I don’t feel that I “have” to for safety, or just for security in letting down my guard.
So I too bet that if the woman in the OP had been “Jewish-looking,” (wow, there’s a subject for a whole other post, no?) but otherwise exactly like her in dress and demographics, this wouldn’t have happened, because in fact it doesn’t ever happen to me, and I too travel a lot for business, and that description would be me.
Having had older parents gave me a window into some experiences that people my age don’t necessarily otherwise have, speaking of the relevance of “it’s a__ thing,” of whatever kind. She so hoped and wanted to believe things were better by now. She died two years ago, age 80. This story would have broken her heart.
Agree about Sacramento proper, though the ‘burbs may be a different story. It may just be my liberal white lady perception, though.
I’m just curious about the condo thing: was it a weekend?
Because as a long-time apartment dweller, my standard rule is that during the week, one should keep it down after 10 pm, or midnight at the latest. On the weekend, though, I wouldn’t think that noise after midnight is not unreasonable–especially if it was the same weekend as a well-publicized event that drew thousands of people to the area.
Hotel managers are scared of being accused of having prostitues in their hotels. I don’t know how to make that any more clear. That would motivate a manager to make her leave.
In any given situation, there are different points of view.
No, the burbs are a very different story. I’ve only been to the Roseville Galleria once (prior to the fire, of course), and I was very aware of how incredibly white it was, especially when compared to Arden Fair.
My WASP blonde sister, who admittedly is adorable in a nonbimbo way, was told to scram in no uncertain terms by hotel security…twice. Once in Tahoe, when she was a fundamentalist housewife in her 30s, and once at the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel when she was in her 40s.
The first time she was saved from being tossed out by pointing to her husband sitting 20 feet away. She wasn’t so lucky the second time, even though she and her other middle-aged friend explained that they were just hoping to catch a glimpse of Warren Beatty as they sipped their $4000 glasses of grapefruit juice.
I can’t believe that she was even nice about it…either time.
Oh yes, Roseville. Well if it’s any consolation, I get the heebie jeebies up there too.
What color is my skin?
I have no way of knowing if race was a factor in your condo experience. But, let me say that you share with my sister a built-in excuse (severe ADD -in other words- not her fault). Plus your story about the keys -hey not your fault- right? I’m not completely sympathetic. Which part of guest in an established condo, after midnight, on a deck, at volume does not compute? All of it, I guess?
My sister stayed as a guest in my apartment some years ago. I gave her the boot after some sailors that she picked up at fleet week were invited back to my place without clearing it with me. When my girlfriend and I arrived, finding them there, I did my best to welcome them. The final straw was when one of the naval revelers made a wrong turn after using the restroom and entered my bedroom instead of returning to the living room. Suffice to say – I gave them the boot (the sailors, not my sister).
The next day I asked her to consider the breech of decorum of the previous night. She failed to see my point. I didn’t even get flowers. I asked her to exit earlier than originally planned.
To this day she still will not concede that she crossed the line. An invitation often implies an unspoken set of standards. Some people just don’t get it. It’s not about blame, it’s about being clueless.
Here’s the thing:
Racism is tiring. And one of the things that makes it worse is when perfectly well-meaning white people try to come up with any reason other than racism to explain to a black person why that couldn’t possibly have been racist.
I’m not saying that was your intention. But to me, it sounded that not only were you trying to explain away something that had me nodding and saying, “Mmmmhmmm…yeah, fucking cracker-ass-cracker hotel manager,” but adding an extra side of “well, she was dressed for it” victim-blaming.
I don’t doubt that hotel managers are worried about prostitution. I also know that there is a perception that there are certain places black folks don’t belong, and if they are there, it must be because we’re Up to Something. In this case, I highly doubt the the manager would have responded the same way to a white woman in the lobby during a weekend when every hotel in the area was booked and people were in and out all the time.
@Mnemosyne: Alright, someone’s going to have to explain that Kevin Drum analysis to me. I’m unclear on how he reached several of his conclusions, and/or if they should be statistically significant at all.
Besides the method he used to reach the “56%” number, the exit polls in 2010 say that 4% of their total respondents did not vote for anyone for President in 2008.
Maude @137: I’ve met clients and businesspeople in hotel lobbies (where I wasn’t a guest) plenty of times. I’ve never, ever been asked to leave or escorted out, or had any response to “I’m waiting to meet a guest” other than “I see, thank you” or “Would you like me to call up for you?”
@Maude: You’re missing the point. The point is that if it’s not about race, then what it basically means is that any woman can be harassed out of a hotel lobby for being suspected of being a prostitute, no matter:
1. how she acts
2. how she dresses
3. whether she’s pretty or plain
4. how old or young she is
– whether her appearance is “slutty” or appropriate for the floor of Congress
Simply for being a woman at all.
I don’t buy that. It’s not that I doubt there are
douchebagsmanagers that paranoid, who would bounce any unescorted woman no matter her age, dress, behavior or color. And I certainly don’t doubt that inoffensive women have been bounced like that without cause.
But other than being black, the only other thing this woman did was be an unaccompanied woman waiting in the lobby for a paying guest she was meeting. And I think we’d be hearing a lot more screaming if there was some kind of common practice in the industry of kicking out any unaccompanied woman waiting for a guest in hotel lobbies.
She certainly didn’t behave in any way that could be remotely provocative or against the hotel rules. Something else other than just her gender is going on here. I wonder what it could be?
I hope to goodness that’s a typo in there.
Angry Black Lady
@Darkrose: it was saturday night. the night of the rally and halloween…in georgetown. the whole damn town was loud. but like i said, racism wasn’t my first thought. i definitely could have used better judgment. the point is, it was something that ran through my mind. i was there for three days and was quiet as a mouse, but i guess three hours of noise on a saturday night warranted Serious Concern.
meh. whatever. my friends aren’t pissed, nor are they on the HOA’s shitlist, and that’s all i care about.
Angry Black Lady
@Darkrose: oh man, the ethnic hair care thing is priceless. i live in west hollywood. before i could afford to spend what i spend on hair care products, whenever i needed hair care products, i would have to go south of pico (the black neighborhoods.)
Maude: Okay, several years ago some co-workers and I were taking a software workshop. It was held at the W Hotel, 46th Street and Broadway. The hotel lobby is reached by a double-height escalator from the street doors. (There is no lobby at the street level, just an entrance area to the escalators.) The lobby is filled with leather chairs, couches and benches. There are 3 or 4 elevator banks, separate ones for room floors and function room floors. As we did not know which function room(s) to go to for the workshop, my co-workers and I agreed to meet in the lobby. We set 8:15 a.m. as the time so we could get coffee at the workshop buffet.
So, based on your insistence that managers are so intent on keeping hookers out of their lobbies, would it have been okay for the W Hotel manager to escort me out of the lobby when I got there at 8:05 a.m. and sat down to wait for my co-workers?
Angry Black Lady
@Zuzu’s Petals: NO ONE is allowed in the Polo Lounge unless they are spending 50 bucks for a hamburger. that’s more velvet rope mentality than anything else, i think.
An organization I work with does hotel contracts in 10 year blocks. Different cities but the same ultimate chain of hotels gets the business for essentially 10 years if they take care of business.
The organization also happens to be a shah hoooge proponent and enforcer of diversity.
If this incident was even tangentially related to an event the organization was involved with, and the muckity mucks found out? Bam! No more global bookings from them for up to 10 years, and possibly ever.
Now, they’re not the only company in the world but that would hurt, not only in money but in PR and ripple effects of other companies that want to do business with this organization.
Just really stupid if Hampton/Hilton doesn’t jump all over this in the best manner possible.
Angry Black Lady
@graz: i’m not sure you bothered reading my post carefully, or any of my subsequent comments all of which state that i’m fully self-aware of my loudness. as for me losing the keys, that really has nothing to do with the thrust of the story and was a sidenote. but good on you for having no sympathy for people with ADD. it’s not like it affects our lives or anything. i’m sorry your sister is a jackass, but don’t project her behavior on to me.
My brother (who worked in the hotel industry for years) would have already talked to the guest and issued as public an apology as possible. Then again he would have had the graces to ask her what she was doing there and then check if the guest were expecting her. One simple phone call could have ended all of this quietly and neatly.
Uhm, a leetle joke.
@Angry Black Lady:
Oh trust me, it wasn’t just being snooty. It was more along the lines of: “Okay gals, move it. Go ply your trade elsewhere.” Though not that nice.
Did I mention that these were women in their 40s? Dressed like the English PhD candidates they were?
@Angry Black Lady:
If you read my post carefully you would not find me saying I had zero empathy for the affliction otherwise known as ADD . I hear you, I feel you, boo hoo. Yeah so your loud … and the neighbors complained … why isn’t that a fair assumption, that needn’t require introducing race?
“This type of shit happens every day” is a reality, no doubt.
Your condo experience might not be a suitable case for applying that point. That’s all. My sister my not be perfect, but she never called you a jackass … but maybe if she knew you …
@Zuzu’s Petals @Angry Black Lady: :
I’m sure lingering over a single glass of juice didn’t help ’em though.
(Darn you to heck, WordPress. And your slamming- the- edit -door- closed- even- though- I- have- minutes- to-spare trick.)
@Zuzu’s Petals: Oh. I don’t have any WASP sisters so that one flew past me.
Well I imagine the price tag isn’t that much of a stretch in some parts. After all, didn’t the Algonquin sell a $10,000 martini?
Well okay, so it had a diamond ring in it. But still…
Angry Black Lady
@graz: i self-admit to being a jackass. my apologies to your sister.
I have no way of knowing if race was a factor in your condo experience.
But, let me say that you share with my sister a built-in excuse (severe ADD in other words not her fault). Plus your story about the keys hey not your fault right? I’m not completely sympathetic. Which part of guest in an established condo, after midnight, on a deck, at volume does not compute? All of it, I guess? My sister stayed as a guest in my apartment some years ago. I gave her the boot after some sailors that she picked up at fleet week were invited back to my place without clearing it with me. When my girlfriend and I arrived, finding them there, I did my best to welcome them. The final straw was when one of the naval revelers made a wrong turn after using the restroom and entered my bedroom instead of returning to the living room. Suffice to say – I gave them the boot (the sailors, not my sister). The next day I asked her to consider the breech of decorum of the previous night. She failed to see my point. I didn’t even get flowers. I asked her to exit earlier than originally planned. To this day she still will not concede that she crossed the line. An invitation often implies an unspoken set of standards. Some people just don’t get it. It’s not about blame, it’s about being clueless.
Angry Black Lady
@Zuzu’s Petals: ah! people are asshats, indeed.
@Maude: Any woman who looks 20-something and is dressed in conservative business attire and is hanging out in a hotel lobby will be assumed to be a prostitute, even if the person she is waiting to meet joins her fairly shortly. I am white and used to be approached by hotel security ALL THE TIME if I waited in the lobby for the rest of my party. (I used to travel a lot for my job.) Even if I was a guest at the hotel, I would frequently be asked why I was there. I was kicked out of the Four Seasons in DC once because the person I was meeting forgot we were meeting and had already left the hotel. It doesn’t happen to me any more when I do travel at least partly because I have gray in my hair (even though I still look younger than my age).
Still, it was probably easier for the manager to make the assumption because she was Young While Being Black.
@debit: In DC, you bet. It’s happened to me, and I’m white. The escort services want their girls to blend in, so they dress in Brooks Brothers navy blue suits and Nordstrom navy blue heels with silk blouses and maybe pearls and leather attache cases. Seriously.
Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll have another PUMA comment soon enough. ^_~
The part I don’t get is the presumption among Maude and others that managers are terrified of having prostitutes in hotels, even prostitutes that look like middle-aged, well-dressed professionals. Whose ox is being gored here?
But one thing I’d say is that these different explanations of this incident are not exclusive: the manager may have concluded the professional lady in his lobby was a prostitute and he wanted her gone — and he may have also not acted with the same deference and politeness that he would have afforded to a white woman in the exact same circumstance.
drosophilo melanogaster III
without coming down on one side or another of the discussion here i feel like one possibly key point may be slipping by some people.
it’s not necessarily simply a case of a woman or professional-looking woman or black woman being assumed to be a prostitute and kicked out of a hotel because she was standing around the lobby.
in this particular case, the woman by her own account first approached another (male) person in the lobby, whom she had previously been sitting near but not with, and initiated a conversation with him. this may all have been observed by the manager person. it may (or may not – i don’t know) also be a thing that prostitutes in hotel lobbies sometimes do.
doesn’t mean it wasn’t racism or race-factored. also, whatever the motivation behind it, it was clearly handled dickishly. but to me it’s plausible to imagine a hotel manager with a policy of banishing, not necessarily every woman in his lobby, but every woman who talks to strangers in his lobby.
it’s also not hard to imagine such a policy being enforced selectively by racist assholes. but i feel like it’s worth highlighting.
Parties are always louder than the party people think they are. Always.
Otherwise, right on, ABL.
Lawyers with ADD? There is an oppressed minority! Usually it is their clients who are gunning for them after the 500th unreturned phone call.
As for the hotel, there is no question that is racism. The telling detail in the narrative is the time of day. If she were hanging around the lobby at 12:30 am then I can see the need to send her packing, but in the morning? Before a major event where people were coming in from out of town and meeting up?
And when the manager does not even offer to call the guest to see if she checks out? Utter bullshit. This manager needs a new career, and the Hilton corp. needs to get a new manager.
Wait a moment. So, you read a book by a prostitute from the eighties, (which makes it upwards of twenty to thirty years ago,) and that makes you qualified to know what the hotel manager was thinking?
I’m sorry, what other qualifications do you have to be an expert on prostitution? Or hotel management, for that matter?
I disagree with your premise that he thought she was a prostitute. What he thought she was, was this: someone he could push around. She was female. She was black. Either one of those two states was enough, but both together made it almost certain.
This story doesn’t make sense unless the guy thought she was a prostitute, thats Ocham’s Razor on this one IMO. I live in DC and am white married to a black woman. This is the chocolate city for god’s sake, 60% black… racism is everywhere yes, but in DC it is pretty rare in our experience (my lady is around your age by the way). The condo story is more close to the race mark in my book. Gtown is famous for it and I could see the condo dwellers there of being a little too racially sensitive to blacks in their space which is ridiculous I agree. But the Hampton Inn in DC… come on that place has literally dozens of black women and men inside and out of it all day long the race angle doesn’t make sense. And by the way in the 10 years I’ve lived here with my lady we have never encountered it. There isn’t a private party you could go to in DC that wouldn’t have blacks or other races represented for the most part. Now a young lady in a lobby dressed nicely… regardless of race is always going to be suspect… I was a former doorman at the Ritz downtown DC… trust me it’s a pretty common thing to have ladies of the evening in the lobby even at the Ritz, we would never escort them out though :)
I TripAdvisor’ed their ass.
We’ll see if my review gets posted.
@Original Lee: Did you look at her picture at the link? Does she look like a 20 something? Does she look in any way like an escort?
Yes, but she obviously wasn’t a prostitute–or his problem was with the actual guest not with her–and he still asked her to leave. She had ID and everything, she explained what she was doing there. The proper thing to do–and what he would have done if she were white–was to apologize profusely and offer to spot her and her host a coffee in the dining room. The manager made a mistake. A huge mistake. Mistakes happen. When they are not rectified right away you have to question the stubbornness of the stereotype that promoted the mistake in the first place.
I, too, find your style of argumentation incredibly rude and stupid, btw. Its not the words you use, its your blind, repetitive, insistence and your obvious pride in having read one book. Try reading a few more.
The manager at Hamptons Inn was just wrong. He should not have thrown her out after she contacted the guest and the guest confirmed that they were meeting her in the lobby. I dunno if he was a racist asshole, but he was definitely an asshole.
ABL, when you are a guest at someone’s condo, you do as they would do. Are they the kind of people who would be holding a drinking party with loud music early Sunday morning? Didn’t think so. It may have been racism, but I see where it might not be.
JMC in the ATL
This thread, more than the actual incident, makes me embarrassed to share a common skin pigment with white people.
Lost Left Coaster
@JMC in the ATL:
I was just thinking the same thing. I am absolutely stunned how many people here are arguing that neither incident had anything to do with race. C’mon people! You think that they would have asked a white woman in a business suit to leave the hotel lobby? Not a chance.
And I’m positive that the Georgetown incident too was all about racism. Even if the tiny little party was mildly annoying, the neighbors cut much less slack because they were freaked out by all the black people. They may not have even made an issue out of it if the participants in question were white. This should be obvious to anyone how knows a thing about the lily-white privileged people of Georgetown.
We’ll never move towards a so-called post-racial society if white people aren’t more willing to listen when people of color talk about the way racism affects their daily lives. Trust me, you know when someone is discriminating against you because of who you are.
White people second-guessing the judgment of black people in these cases is just another manifestation of white privilege — it’s like, “I know better than you, what could you know about racism, just because you’re black? Listen to me, I’m the wise white person.”
EDIT: And in case it wasn’t clear, I’m white. I’m not trying to present myself as the most enlightened white person out there — I’m just saying, shut up and listen, white people, if you really want to learn something. You don’t know everything.
Once again, DC is 60% black, the Hampton Inn DC definitely would have a lot of black customers on a daily basis. For a general manager of a hotel in downtown DC to be racist as a first assumption just doesn’t make business or common sense, he would be pissed off and kicking customers out of his lobby on a regular basis who were black and he wouldn’t have a job very long for sure. This was not a race episode, guy’s an asshole yes but highly doubtfull that race was involved. Location, Location, Location… Ask yourselves if you could see this happening in a downtown Detroit or Atlanta Hotel… not going to happen on a race basis, the hotel wouldn’t be in business long… DC same story. This ain’t kansas.
One other quick observation. You can bank on the fact that a majority of the employees at that Hampton Inn are going to be black as well. As I mentioned above, I used to work at the Ritz downtown DC as a doorman, I was the only white person on the front of the house staff (1 out of 20 or so) other than the desk clerks who were 50/50 black and white, and that was the Ritz, Hampton Inn is probably even more predominately black employees. Be pretty tough for a true racist to be a general manager in that type of environment no?
Jrod the Cookie Thief
@SmallAxe: You’re saying the manager couldn’t be racist because he had black people working for him?
Sure, and the plantation owners weren’t racist for the same reason. Sheesh.
@Jrod the Cookie Thief:
No I’m saying it’s highly unlikely, of course it’s possible but not very probable. Once again DC DC DC why is no one taking into account the location of this event? This GM is managing a hotel in a predominately black city with predominately black workers, what is the likelihood that he would be a racist in that environment? How long would a guy like that be working there? DC is a different environment than other cities, not saying racism doesn’t go on here because of course it does but for a business GM of a hotel to conduct it in a downtown DC area is just not very likely.
Jrod the Cookie Thief
@SmallAxe: That’s one way of looking at it. Another is that, out of the thousands of hotels in and near DC, the chance that at least one of them is managed by a racist is close to 1. Again, I don’t see why living in a black majority city makes this so unlikely.
Many communities in the southwest have a hispanic majority. This doesn’t mean that racism has been abolished there, not by a long shot. If anything, it would seem to have made white folks more racist against latinos.
Think of South Africa. Blacks made up the vast, vast majority of the population. Guess what, the whites there were still massively racist.
Eventually, whites will be a minority in this country. If you think the result of this will be the evaporation of racism among whites, then I pity your naivete. The coming generation will be a rough one for you.
@Maude – sorry, but a self-serving book written thirty years ago by a madam is not a good reference to what escort services are doing today. It may not even be a good reference for thirty years ago since we have no idea if Sidney Biddle Barrows was telling the truth or if she was spicing things up to earn back her legal fees.
Second, regardless of *why* the manager of this hotel did what he did, he should have stopped the instant Ms. Maynard stated that she was meeting someone for breakfast and produced identification. She has every right to be upset that he continued to force her out once she told him she was meeting a professional colleague and that colleague confirmed it over the house phone.
Third, unless you’re a sex worker (which you almost certainly aren’t since you’re relying on a ghost written thirty year old book) you don’t have the slightest idea what actual escorts look like today. Maybe they *do* look like well dressed middle aged women, and maybe they don’t. What’s your source besides Sidney Barrows?
Fourth, your race isn’t relevant. Your insistence on your own knowledge, based on a single out of date book, is.
@Jrod the Cookie Thief:
I take your first point on the chance being 1in a 1000, that would be the definition of “highly unlikely” wouldn’t it.
I dont’ take your point on Southwest hispanic population or South Africa black population and comparing it to DC’s black population, thats totally apples and oranges. It’s not just the city that’s predominately black it’s the CUSTOMERs too… whereas I would argue that in the Southwest (which I have lived in by the way PHX) or in South Africa there would be less of both those populations actually being customers. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you… that will trump racism everytime especially for someone who is managing the business.
And as far as me being naive on race, maybe I am, but I would say I’m more sensitive to it than most as my wife of 11 years is black and we have lived and worked together in this environment. Not saying I know it all but I think I do have a decent perspective on it.
@Jrod the Cookie Thief:
Also both South Africa and the Southwest (esp. Arizona) have well known reputations for being racist against their populations. Are you going to try to tell me that the DC area has a well known reputation for racism against blacks? Apples.
You cannot enter a bar, hotel, restaurant or basically any other establishment in DC without it being a mixed environment. There are no “white only” hotels… they wouldn’t last here come on.
Jrod the Cookie Thief
@SmallAxe: Naive might be too strong a word, after all I don’t know what you’ve seen.
However, I do find the idea that having black employees or customers necessarily leads to less racism absurd. This assumes that the manager thinks of the people under his as colleagues, rather than, well, the people under him. It assumes that such a manager is happy to serve black customers, rather than doing so because he’ll lose his job if he doesn’t.
It also seems to assume that racism is a binary thing, where a person is either a full blown klansmen or a racial saint. You know, the manager may in fact like and respect some black people, but still see black women as whores. Maybe the manager doesn’t have any special antipathy toward black people, but enjoys pushing people around and targeted the black woman because he assumed she had the least power to push back. Who knows?
All we have to go by are the man’s actions, in which he singled out a black woman for humiliating treatment. I have no trouble calling this racist (and sexist) without knowing this man’s heart of hearts.
And yes, 1 in 1000 is highly unlikely, in a sense. In a population of millions, however, that turns into a lot of people. And I personally doubt that racist whites are that rare anywhere. 1 in 100 seems too low to me. Their numbers are high enough that they assume that I’m one of them all the damn time, confiding some disgustingly racist thought to me as though I’d find it witty and charming.
@Jrod the Cookie Thief:
I hear ya but don’t get your animosity and misunderstanding of simple economics… he pisses his customers off, his business loses and he eventually loses his job what’s so hard to understand about that?
The larger point I was making on this thread is Occam’s Razor, simplest explanation is the most likely. That being that he thought she was a prostitute, not that he was being racist (that would be much more rare). I come to that conclusion because of my background, the fact that I have lived and worked in DC for many years including in the hotel industry. I have seen prostitutes commonly in lobbies and they dress all kinds of ways so her dress has nothing to do with it. The fact that she was probably very cheerful, smiling talking to some random old white guy in the lobby then says she’s waiting for another friend upstairs… come on that’s the MOST LIKELY scenario. Not that he saw her, saw that she was a black female (which he must see in his lobby HUNDREDS of times a day) and then decided to kick her out because he was biased against her race??? come on that’s much less likely than the HO scenario.
Is he an asshole, YES, against women (maybe even probable) but racist even to a small degree VERY unlikely so I go with scenario one. The make up of the city and his business does have a hell of a lot to do with it to say it doesn’t is not being logical.
@SmallAxe: Your scenario still does not explain why, after she explained she was meeting a paying guest that he kicked her out anyway, saying, “I have to protect my guests.” The front desk called the guest and confirmed this, but she was still kicked out.
Also, why would anyone make note of who you talk to in a hotel lobby? Why would anyone take note of her in particular and then report it to the hotel manager?
And finally, what hooker meets her john before breakfast?
Wow alot there Debit… first off I will take your last point.. Ho’s have a specific time of day??? are you kidding me… trust me they are in hotels at all hours, people have needs at all hours.
Second, why would he take note? Because he’s the friggin GM part of his job is to keep ho’s and other solicitors out of his lobby.
Third, the fact that she showed ID and confirmed with a call upstairs means nothing, wouldn’t a pro do that with a john too? come on people… wouldn’t a legit ho potentially do that to dissuade a GM too? That’s pretty standard procedure for Ho’s at least from what I’ve seen. Most of the discreet customers will usually have them come right up but some hotels force people to pick them up in the lobby because of security.
Jrod the Cookie Thief
@SmallAxe: The manager has pissed off customers by his actions, and his hotel likely will lose business thanks to this story, and it may well lead to the manager being fired. Despite “simple economics,” the man still took the actions he did.
People are not robots who weigh up the economic pros and cons before they inevitably take the most profitable action. They’re people, who often do stupid things, as this manager did. What’s so hard to understand about that?
I think my first assessment was spot-on. Naivete.
@Jrod the Cookie Thief:
Whatever Jrod, take economics out of it, let’s break it down by simple percentage chance of
A. He thought she was a prostitute
B. He Hates black people and was happy to kick one out of his lobby for no apparent reason other than the fact that she appeared to be black.
C. He has a non-binary view of race and is just a teensy weensy bit racist and chose to kick her out because of it.
D. The guy is just a numb nuts asshole who really screwed up.
I’d say 80% chance of A. 5 % chance of B, 5% chance of C. and 100% chance of D.
What say you?
Jrod the Cookie Thief
@SmallAxe: Are you saying it’s reasonable for a hotel manager to kick every single woman in the lobby out because she might be a prostitute?
You seem to think Occam’s razor tells us that this event couldn’t be racism, but Occam’s razor also tells me that hotels don’t kick every woman in the lobby out because they might be whores. Actually, experience tells me this. So, why exactly did this manager think this particular woman was a whore? Because she talked to somebody? OK, sure.
Occam’s razor says that the simplest solution is likely to be the correct one. In this case, the manager being racist is the simplest explanation. That his hooker-sense went off because a business woman was meeting a paying guest at 9am, and that he honestly thought that the frumpy middle-aged woman in business attire with a business card and was meeting a guest who was in fact a paying customer, seems to me less simple and thus less likely.
And please, save the “hookers wear nice clothes and can have cards too” spiel. The manager had no good reason to think this woman was a whore, period.
Jrod the Cookie Thief
@SmallAxe: I give a 100% chance that the man’s actions were racist and assholish on their face.
I also give a 0% chance that I care about his true soul. I judge people by their actions, not what they claim to be their true feelings.
@Jrod the Cookie Thief:
That is just ridiculous Jrod, you say she looks “frumpy and middle aged” in that picture… no way. She’s good looking and yes hookers dress in all kinds of gear, and come in all shapes and sizes and economic classes put down your Pretty Woman imagery of the modern hooker. Don’t you all recall Elliott Spitzer and Ashley Dupre met and were caught here at the Mayflower Hotel???
Does he kick out every young lady he sees in the lobby probably not. But a good looking black woman talking to an elderly white random guy in the lobby with I’m sure the same inviting smile she has in the pic coupled with the busy weekend with the rally and the fact that she said she was meeting ANOTHER guest… ya it is a pretty easy conclusion to make albeit the wrong one.
@SmallAxe: Did you look at the lady’s picture? I realize you’ll come back with “Hos come in all shapes and sizes and ages! Because they’re hos!” but seriously, did you look at her picture? And if you did, can you tell me in what situation you would assume a plump, middle aged, well spoken professionally dressed woman at 8:00 in the morning would be so desperate to turn a trick that she’d randomly hit on people in a hotel lobby?
I don’t know why you are so invested in making this not racial, and frankly, I don’t care anymore. Because now we’re back to the point made above: any woman, any where, any time is a potential whore and, if I’m reading you correctly, should expect to be ejected from any public place at the drop of a hat. You seem weirdly okay with that.
ETA: I’m, almost sorry that I was right about that.
Son of edit: “Inviting smile”?! Dude, you have issues. Don’t bother replying to me.
Look what the guy did was obviously wrong all I’m saying is it doesn’t mean it was definitely racism and in my opinion, i’m aloud one right? Having lived in DC, been in an interacial marriage, worked in downtown DC hotels as a doorman hence I’m pretty familiar with lobby situations etc., in my opinion it is more LIKELY that he thought she was a prostitute.
But just like I’m entitled to mine you all and ABL are entitled to yours. It isn’t always about race, and pretty unlikely to be about race in a downtown DC hotel IMO.
whatever people, obviously I’m not condoning it, never have in any of my posts.
Jrod the Cookie Thief
@SmallAxe: So any good looking black woman who talks to any man in a hotel lobby while waiting for one of the hotel’s guests to meet her should expect to be considered a whore. Is this true of good looking asian or white women too?
But, of course, you don’t condone this. You just think it’s vitally important that we understand that this asshole couldn’t have been motivated by racism, because racism doesn’t exist in DC.
He made a mistake, and then wouldn’t back down.
Probably started from a racist assumption, but definitely a petty asshole. Hell to work for. Bully.
People are never just one thing.
Jrod you are ridiculous. whatever dude is right…
You see race and misogyny in everything I get it.
Jrod the Cookie Thief
@SmallAxe: No, ridiculous is getting worked up because somebody thinks that an obvious asshole was probably motivated by racism, which can’t be right because he’s in DC. And even though racism still exists in DC, we can be certain that this particular asshole in DC wasn’t racist because… um, whores.
I get the feeling you really haven’t thought this through.
drosophilo melanogaster III
it’s actually fairly uncommon for women to strike up conversations with random men in public places, on account of how many dudes out there have this thing where they interpret “oh hey, random woman talking to me” as “oh hey, she must want my junk”. from what i hear, chicks have enough problems just coping with random dudes who strike up conversations with them. if a hotel had an existing hookers-in-the-lobby issue, i can see them reacting this way. it seems like a janky policy to me, but i can picture it happening.
i can also picture it only happening to the black ladies. so it’s ambiguous. which, as ABL said upthread, was kind of the point she was making.
I have seen women get the ‘hooker treatment’ in hotels before. Actually seen it happen.
Basically, if you’re a well-dressed youngish woman entering a hotel or meeting a single man (and you didn’t reserve a room together), you’re going to get a certain amount of stink-eye. If you’re dressed in evening clothes and/or wearing any visible amount of makeup, even worse. Being white makes no difference. Remember ‘Pretty Woman’?
That said, actually asking someone to leave is pretty nasty & may be motivated by racism in this case. I’ve never seen any hotel staff go that far. But they *are* under orders to watch for prostitution and make damn sure no regular guests find out it’s going on. Getting a reputation as ‘that’ kind of hotel is worse than bedbugs.
If you want to be left alone, you have to convince the mgmt. that you’re not a working girl damn quick. “Meeting a friend” doesn’t cut it…you need a specific, convincing non-prostitute sounding explanation of what you’re doing there & why. It’s unfair, extremely discriminatory (against women), but hotel staff have strong incentives to do it anyway.
@Corner Stone: Being the second black person, to help the third decide to be the third, to help the fourth decide to be the fourth, and so on.