i met a guy from saudi arabia the other night. he came up to me at the end because i was dancing my ass off and said i looked like someone who knew what this was all about. he was brand new to the dance scene and had all sorts of questions about how to find events, how to behave, and what the culture is about.
he struck me as someone that brought some problematic attitudes and behaviors into the space that night. he mentioned he didn’t tip the bartenders. he asked if he ought to bribe the bouncers because he didn’t bring any women with him. his impression of the scene was clearly built around the most toxic aspects of mainstream clubs and festivals.
so i spent the next hour explaining everything i could. i walked him through tipping culture – that you never, ever withhold tips just because someone wasn’t nice enough to you. that you don’t come to bossa (or any rave, for that matter) to be waited on – you’re there for the music and the company, not to be served. i explained that weekends can be rough for the staff because there’s so many tourists and visitors that don’t know the culture or the norms. that when people aren’t friendly, it’s not always about him.
he asked me if there was a lot of racism in the scene. he spent some time living in north carolina and told me about all the places that treated him poorly because he’s arab. he asked if he would ever be turned away or charged extra because of his ethnicity.
i said that yes, sometimes there is racism here. but he’d never be turned away from a party because of the color of his skin. at least, not the places i go.
i told him that the soul of techno and house is multicultural. that part of what we love and cherish about this scene is how many different kinds of people it draws in. that it’s something we celebrate and encourage as much as we can. this seemed to blow his goddamn mind.
i don’t always have the energy or patience to educate people. sometimes i go out and i just wish everyone knew the fucking rules and they’d stop causing problems. but other nights, i live for those opportunities to educate. to show people how to be.