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Color of skin — and hair — can be imperative

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Justice

“The owner doesn’t want two black girls on stage at the same time” said a strip club DJ. As soon as I had clocked in to work, the DJ told me I would be up next to dance onstage. I wasn’t ready, and normally I am allowed at least half an hour to an hour before I have to walk the plank. “I just got here,” I complained. “Yeah well the owner doesn’t want customers to think it’s ‘that’ kind of club. You’re the only available white girl right now.” I couldn’t believe he said that. I asked, “What do you mean by that?” He said, “I don’t make the rules.” He explained that the owner didn’t want men to walk in and immediately see only black women onstage. It’s bad for business, they say.

I scrambled to get ready and performed as needed. I later asked a manager about the racism at that club. “What do you care? You’re white,” he responded. “Oh my God, you people are so racist” I said. He laughed.

He joked that I am just another brainwashed liberal. He says I’m smart but misinformed. He tells me he’ll fire me to make room for more black women if I’m so concerned. “That’s how affirmative action works,” he said. I’m so glad to be enlightened.

A house mom at the Cheeseburger Heaven club tells me that I should work the super-late shift while she’s there. She says I would make a killing because only black girls work that shift and that’s not what customers want. It would be so easy, she says. She whispers this whole conversation to me.

“It’s a white girl’s world,” I was told on my first day of stripping. I wonder who made it that way. I’ve experienced this opinion and subsequent discrimination on the side of the industry, but I wonder what customers believe. Some clubs will go as far as discrimination in hiring girls based on their hair color, favoring blondes over brunettes. I believe that maybe gentlemen really do prefer blondes, based on my own increase in earnings after hitting the bottle of bleach. It was great to have more money, but it kind of disappointed me to learn, through my limited research on the topic of attraction, that blond hair was favorable to customers. Maybe its just so freaking dark in there it’s just easier to see blond hair. Perhaps this is no big revelation, but I seek to understand it.

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