Are nightlife venues inclusive spaces? On the surface, yes. In fact, policies like dress codes have been used to exclude entire populations of nightlife patrons. But there is hope. As social justice issues come to the fore in the country, there is an opportunity for nightlife spaces to be more welcoming and comfortable for people of different backgrounds.
Professor Reuben A. Buford May, Ph.D. is the Florian Znaniecki Professorial Scholar and Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana—Champaign. He is the author of three books: Urban Nightlife: Entertaining Race, Class, and Culture in Public Space, the award-winning book, Living Through the Hoop: High School Basketball, Race, and the American Dream (2008) and Talking at Trena’s: Everyday Conversations at an African American Tavern (2001).