Ah, quaint quiet London, the sleepy little 2,000-year old hamlet in the Southern Midlands of England with nine million people, has an “urban problem.” Specifically, the upscale nightclub Cirque le Soir has a problem admitting six rich black American football players who had reservations:
A few Saints players, including running back Mark Ingram, cornerbacks Sterling Moore and B.W. Webb, and safety Vonn Bell, traveled to England's capital city to check things out this week.
Ingram tweeted that they had a great time , with the exception of being turned away from a circus-themed night club called Cirque Le Soir because the group of black football players looked "too urban," Ingram said.
Some of the reasons offered by the venue for turning away the group include them being “too big and tall” and being “too urban.”
The first claim is kind of funny since three of the players are 5’10”, and none of them are over 5’11” — in the UK, the average male height is 5’10”. So, you may recognize these hulking Ents as “average or slightly above average” in height if you were a Londoner.
The second claim, “too urban”, is not even a clever use of racist code words. C’mon, England, at least use “low crime neighborhood” or “great school zone” like we do in America. It’s even more ludicrous since London is a Top-10 global city, the largest one in Europe, and with New York, is the only A++ designated megacity. You may recognize that as “urban.”
If le Soir meant that phrase demographically, it still has a stark issue with its own citizens then: London is ethnically 15.6% black, meaning that, based on average height and sheer demography, that one out of six Londoners is too urban and too average-a-height for the Cirque le Soir.
Mark Ingram mainly took it in stride on his twitter feed (@markingram22) but I would imagine after a lifetime of dealing with this crap he, and his teammates, have little choice: it is not in their power to change the hearts, minds and reactions of racists.
When money won’t allow someone to look past your skin color, I’m not sure what will.