Racist message spray-painted on black-owned downtown venue
A popular black-owned venue in Chicago was tagged with a racist message on its wall.
“N—– GO HOME” was spray-painted in large white letters on the front wall of Nouveau Tavern at 358 W. Ontario St. The club has a predominantly black clientele.
“This is very disappointing,” said Nouveau owner Marsette Mangum. “I’m born and raised in Chicago. I didn’t move to River North to have a ‘black only’ anything. I felt that all the propaganda said that hey, we’re in the post-racial [America] and everybody can compete everywhere, so sure, why wouldn’t I want to go where you can get the most bang for your buck?”
On Wednesday, before he learned of the graffiti, Mangum said he was “very seriously considering filing a federal discrimination lawsuit” after he says his team has been made to jump through hoops other area restaurants haven’t faced.
“Hopefully this will put to rest people falsely accusing us of playing the race card,” he said. “There are still some clowns that are going to think that we did this — trust me. I’m not even in town, so I didn’t go and spray paint my own restaurant.”
Officials with the embattled Nouveau Tavern — which has been butting heads with River North residents since it opened six months ago — said Wednesday that tensions are so high with residents that someone egged cars owned by patrons of the club Saturday night.
Staff at Nouveau Tavern filed a police report Tuesday after they say three customers’ cars parked across the street from the restaurant in front of a residential building were hit with eggs around 11 p.m.
The residential building’s security guard also filed a police report after seeing the eggs fall from an upper level of the building.
Police said that while no one was in custody, they did open a criminal damage to vehicle investigation.
Magnum, who said he’s complied with 42nd Ward Ald. Brendan Reilly’s requests that he alter his signage “at a considerable expense,” says the continued opposition to his business “must be racially motivated.”
To address complaints of loud noise by residents, Magnum barred exiting patrons from walking west on Ontario Street, and agreed to transfer his establishment’s liquor license to his name.
“We are [being] held to a different standard than our white counterparts,” Mangum wrote in a statement to DNAInfo. “All we ask is that we are treated the same as the other establishments in the area. It appears suspect at best to hear the neighborhood talk about public safety, yet remain strangely silent about the noise, public drunkenness, fights and, yes — even shootings — when they occur at other venues.
To keep the peace with neighbors, the tavern now closes the street-facing windows at night to keep the sound is. The venue also hired more armed security staff to keep order outside the business.
Several other restaurants in the neighborhood, some of which have outdoor speakers and patios, exist right alongside Nouveau Tavern.
Racism in alive and well.
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