There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
I found your column on Diversite (Loose Lips, 7/16) both puzzling and disturbing. I have partied and dined at the club on numerous occasions with various black and white friends, and we have never experienced tension, never seen gangs, never witnessed altercations. We have attended Diversite on weekend Salsa Nights, when the club is filled with Latino couples doing some extraordinary dances; during Groove Gumbo events, when the place is pleasantly jammed with blacks and some whites enjoying live poetry and music; and during the dinner hour, when mostly middle-aged white folks stop by for Italian cuisine on their way to the Studio Theatre or Woolly Mammoth. All the times we’ve been there, we have never seen, heard, or experienced any of the pandemonium you describe.
On the basis of your column, I did a little asking around of my own. I first reviewed a copy of the ABC Board’s report on its exhaustive investigation of Diversite. Here’s what the report indicates: No overcrowding. No one leaving the club in a loud, unruly manner. No double-parked vehicles. I searched the report for references to gang activity, drug usage, underage drinking. I came up empty. Nothing. Zilch. I then reviewed Metropolitan Police Department reports of the incidents you reported as spilling from or occurring at Diversite’s door. Diversite is not mentioned once in the MPD reports.
All of which raises a few questions.
As you reported in your column, LL, on your lone (?) visit to Diversite, you saw the same friendly and innocuous atmosphere my friends and I have enjoyed. Yet you described a very different, threatening environment. On what basis? Neither the ABC Board report, MPD reports, nor your own firsthand experience supports your claim. Furthermore, Diversite is adjoined by two fine nightclubs, Metro Cafe and 11th Hour, both of which I have patronized. Like many other folks, I have stopped in one club then the other on the same night. What is the factual basis for your claim that any given person is the patron of one club and not the other? How are clubgoers so easily differentiated, and by whom? And for what purpose?
An observation, then, and a proposal: Your use of terms like “citywide scourge,” “street-savvy rivals,” and “popular with gangs” seems deliberately inflammatory and coded with stereotypes. Such demonizing rhetoric serves no one except a demagogue and is the province of those who seek to foment racial and cultural discord. Such language is beneath you and your readers, of which I am one—please resist it. Second, if you visited Diversite and by your own experience found the club elegant and hospitable, go back. I would be happy to accompany you. You pick the date.
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