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Ruling says theater not racist for telling black people to be quiet before a Tyler Perry film

03.02.2011

It sounds like an Onion headline, but it’s most definitely true. A white theater manager in Delaware was deemed a racist by the Human Relations Commission when he used a “condescending tone” to tell an almost entirely black audience to get off their phones and be quiet before a Tyler Perry movie.

The Delaware Supreme Court has now ruled that this was in fact NOT racist, despite allegations of humiliation, which also cited that the theater had extra security and were double checking ticket stubs on that opening night.

"The warning about cell phones was shown on the screen and then was delivered in person in the largest of the three auditoriums by Stewart, according to court papers. Some patrons later said Stewart's tone "was offensive and condescending, as if he were speaking to children." And because the crowd, which had been well-behaved to that point, was "90 to 95 percent" black, some felt it was racist because it implied that blacks did not know how to behave in a movie theater."

I wasn’t there, so I can’t comment on either the behavior of the patrons or the tone of the manager, but I think the issue is that the warning was given preemptively before any actual offenses were taking place, which is not standard procedure in any theater I've been to, nor this one according to patrons. Is it stereotyping by giving such an announcement in a movie you know is going to have an almost entirely black audience? I think if they were in the act of texting or talking, it would be different, but assuming that would be the case is a bit dickish.

Yes, I have encountered groups of black moviegoers who have demonstrated this behavior, but I can say the same thing has happened with any other racial group in a movie at some point, including my own dumbass friends, who I always scowl at until they stop asking me questions or texting.

Read more details of the story at Delaware Online. Do you think the manager was in the right here? And let’s keep things civil. 

Extra Tidbit: They also need to invent packaging for movie theater candy that doesn't crinkle.
Source: Delaware Online

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