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GCSU hosts forum on racism complaints about Milledgeville bar | News

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GCSU hosts forum on racism complaints about Milledgeville bar

The American Democracy Project hosted a "teach-in" Thursday Night on recent allegations of racial discrimination at a downtown Milledgeville business.

The forum was from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Museum Education Room at Georgia College.

The conversation centered around Capital City bar on South Wayne Street where many people have accused the establishment of refusing to let black patrons in.



Speakers included Bryan Collins, a local activist and historian; Joy Ford, local activist, teacher and entrepreneur; Stephanie McClure, professor of Sociology; and Matt Roessing, J.D., assistant professor of Accounting.

"I have been hearing stories from students about discrimination at Capital City and Chops in downtown Milledgeville almost since I arrived," said Sociology professor Stephanie McClure.

She says ten years later, the complaints haven't changed. Her contribution to the forum included research from Reuben A. Buford May, who wrote about racism in nightlife.

"It is possible for a bar owner to have no personal desire to discriminate but to feel constrained by the racist preference of their primary clientele. If they let too many people of color into a bar, then the primary target customer will no longer go there," said McClure.

She was followed by fellow panelist Bryan Collins, who claims the bar discriminated against him using dress code as an excuse.

"I went there once with a white friend of mine, and I was dressed nice, but I was still denied entrance at the door," she said.

Collins said he joined the Facebook group Boycott Capital, to unify and protest the bar. Many in attendance said the allegations came as no surprise, but freshman Gabrielle Apa said she had no idea.

"It wasn't that I turned a blind eye. It was just that I honestly didn't even know. I feel like honestly, many people have no idea," Apa said.

She attended the discussion for extra credit points, but says she's leaving with a plan to fight back.

"I am definitely going to tell my friends about this," said Apa.

Meanwhile, others feel word of mouth won't get the job done, and expect a stance from the college.

"As a tuition paying student, what am I supposed to assume about the silence," student Anthony Boynton asked faculty members.

They told him several staff members have tried to get the college involved, but were told it's not the school's place to tackle-on private businesses. The Dean of Students did add that they are discouraging sororities and fraternities from hosting events at the bar, but as for the school taking a position, things could get cloudy legally. 

With that response, many left the forum agreeing that never returning to Capital City is the first step in the long journey ahead.









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