Racism witnessed through Aspen bartender’s experience | AspenTimes.com

Racism witnessed through Aspen bartender’s experience

I bartend at a popular restaurant in Aspen, and I cringe when I think about the many times blatantly racist remarks were projected before me.

Once, a group of middle-aged men were drinking at my bar as a black couple walked through the front door. After the couple was seated, one of the men whispered to me, “Hey, look, black people in Aspen.” His friends snickered.

Another time, a regular sat at my bar and after a single libation tried to describe to me how his nanny’s rear end resembles that of a black woman’s rear end — though, his verbiage was much more atrocious.

On a different day, a woman used several derogatory words describing our past president. I could go on, but you get the picture.

These things have stuck with me. In every one of these occasions, I walk away, gather myself and then ignore these people for the remainder of their stay. They may be guests of the restaurant but surely no guest of mine. Bartenders listen — I listen— but don’t mistake our empathetic nature for acceptance. Racially fueled utterances are despicable. They breed hate. For the record, I am not bound by confidentiality or canon law, so do not confide in me. Your discrimination and racist remarks have consequences. So, take a step back and understand that you are not in a Safe White Space.

Tyler C. Smith


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