Baton Rouge Bar, Reggie’s, At The Center Of Controversy Over Hand Stamp—Is It Racist? [VIDEO]
Reggie's, a Baton Rouge bar located in Tigerland, is at the center of controversy surrounding a hand stamp that some feel is racist.
Taylor Ward is a freshman at LSU, and a fun night out with friends went south quickly after they arrived at Reggie's Bar in Tigerland—a popular college bar district near campus. Ward says that upon entry, her hand was stamped with the word "REGGIN"—a slang term used to covertly insult African-Americans by spelling out the N-word backwards.
In an interview with Clutch, Ward describes the moment she noticed what had been stamped on her hand.
The bar stamped our hands at the door, and shortly after I noticed that the stamp spelled n***er backwards. I immediately showed my friends. We decided to bring it to the manager’s attention. However all he had to say was, ‘It’s a stamp,’ so we left
Ward then shared a photo of the stamp on social media, and almost instantly it went viral. Other patrons, both white and black, began sharing photos of their "REGGIN" stamps as well.
The LSU Reveille spoke with a bar manager who refused to give his name, but claims the stamp comes "from when people used to say they were going 'Reggin'—a verb he says is used to describe going out to Reggie's."
The top result in an online search for the term "Reggin" is a definition from Urban Dictionary, describing the term as a "slick" way to use the N-word by spelling it backwards.
The next most popular result is a Canadian construction company that goes by the name Reggin Industries. They specialize in custom stainless steel fabrication, high-end architectural features for the commercial construction industry and residential homes.
A search for both the word and the hashtag "reggin" brings up a lot of controversial images and tweets surrounding the term (including the aforementioned company), but very little to no use of it as a verb to describe going out to Reggie's.
The only use of "reggin" in the context that Reggie's claims the stamp represents was from a Twitter user who appears to be an employee of the bar, often promoting events and drinks specials from his account.
The Reggie's manager says the stamp has been used once a week for 10 years, and any racial aspect of the stamp was unintentional—but when asked if he would change or do away with the stamp he responded that he,
hasn't changed anything for 15 years and is not going to change it now.
Ron Clark, a freshman at LSU, says he and a friend have been to Reggie's numerous times before, but had never seen the "REGGIN" stamp before.
Thursday night was the first night I ever saw that stamp. Normally the stamp is an "R" with a circle around it.
When I spoke with Ron, he was still in disbelief over Reggie's using the stamp. He told me when he noticed the stamp, he and his friends—both white and black—became upset and decided to leave the bar.
While this particular incident has sparked outrage and gone viral on social media, it isn't the first time Reggie's has been at the center of racial controversy. Along with Clark, many on social media weren't shocked about the stamp at all, given the bar's alleged reputation of racial profiling.
Major complaints surrounding allegations of Reggie's racial discrimination include a strict dress code that is reportedly believed to target African-Americans, this according an article published by the LSU Reveille a few weeks ago.
Numerous people on social have also pointed out the large Confederate flag that hangs in the bar doesn't really support Reggie's argument—some citing the flag as the reason they don't patronize the bar in the first place.
Others on social media support Reggie's, suggesting that the argument of those who are offended are "idiotic."
First off, it doesn't say n***er it says reggin. Reggin as in a reference to people saying I'm going to reggies which got shortened to I'm going reggin. I don't like the bar but this isn't a racist thing. Stop TRYING to get offended over something. If white people had the same stamp on their hand (which they do stamp everyone that comes through) then it's NOT a racist thing. God its like people hunt for things to be offended about. Some of these comments are just as bad saying her friends are at fault and such. Yes racism exist but no this isn't a racist moment. REGGIN equals going to reggies bar. Maybe they should just outlaw R,E,G,I, and N in the alphabet so they make sure nothing can be offensive. Grow the f**k up people. How can it be racist of they stamped EVERYONE with that stamp?
Others say they like Reggie's, but believe that something should be done about the stamp.
I've been to Reggies many times and in general the bar has a good reputation for playing good dance/rap music, having a stage, and cheap drinks. While the flag may be in the bar (which has been hanging for 10 years) that DOESN'T EXCUSE the stamp. Half of Reggies on any given night, is black! It's not the staff...it MANAGEMENT! Anyone saying that treatment should be expected is beyond ignorant, understand CHANGE is the goal not complacency
At the time of this post, Reggie's management insists no changes will be made to the stamp or any other policies. Those who were offended by the stamp say they will continue in their efforts to be heard until a change is made so that no one else receives the same treatment they were subjected to at Reggie's.
Should Reggie's ditch the stamp? Do you think they knew the stamp was an offensive term? Are people being too sensitive?
Have you been to Reggie's in Tigerland before—and if so, what was your experience like?
Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.