Private clubs in Columbia TODAY

Remember that I told you last week that Clif LeBlanc was going to have a follow-up story on the Cap City Club anniversary, a piece that would tell us to what extent local private clubs have become less "exclusive" in the bad old sense over the past 20 years?

Well, he did, and I meant to ask y’all for your thoughts on it. Here’s a link to his story. Short version — most clubs are more open. At least one still has no black members.

If you go read Clif’s piece, and you’re so inclined, please come back here to discuss it.

15 thoughts on “Private clubs in Columbia TODAY

  1. DaVid

    I wish Clif had also gone the other way and reported on whether there are any Jewish or black clubs in Columbia which refuse to accept whites. If so, are the people running these clubs not just as horrible as the white people running the clubs in Clifs’ article?
    As I remember it, the right to free association is guaranteed and memorialized in some important, dusty old document or other.
    Then, there is the other, unspoken part of this: If, as Clifs’ article asserts, the white people in these clubs are “elite movers and shakers” who don’t want associate with blacks, they’ll just go somewhere else to do their “moving and shaking” if blacks are allowed into their clubs.
    Entry into a club won’t necessarily change the power dynamic will it?

  2. p.m.

    The club where I play has several black members. I play golf with one of them, but I wouldn’t go into business with him.
    Not because he’s black, though. Because he plays golf a lot better than he manages money.
    This whole situation will continue to evolve, and, in the long run, most clubs will be mixed, or open, however you want to put it.
    But some that cater to, or depend on, each race, religion and ethnicity probably will remain exclusive. Politically incorrect as it sounds, what of it? They’re private clubs, not public or government enemies.
    You can’t legislate friendship.

  3. Pebs

    The most private club or secret society today in Columbia is the “Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine”. Commonly known as the Shriners. This is a mens fraternity discriminating against women and Christianity. No decent Christian man would join such an occult.

  4. Brad Warthen

    No, you can’t “legislate friendship,” and nothing I have written about this subject suggests that you can.
    What I have emphasized is the good news that, in exercising their constitutional right to free association, leaders in our community have CHOSEN to prefer clubs that admit members from all backgrounds.
    This is a wonderful story that everyone, including the crankiest libertarians, should be able to embrace.
    The point in knowing which clubs are still “exclusive” in the old sense empowers individuals to exercise another choice — to decide whether they want to have anything to do with such a club (such as attending an event there as guests). Many decide not to, on that very basis. That, too, is their right, freely exercised. The information Clif provided just makes their choice better informed.
    And David, entry into a club DOES change the power dynamic. It’s been happening steadily over the past 20 years in Columbia.
    And sorry, but I’m unaware of any clubs that are gathering places for the communities foremost movers and shakers that admit only black or Jewish members, so your question is a bit of a non sequitur.

  5. david

    Brad, I suppose you are more confident that the dynamics of power have changed over the last 20 years than am I. I think powerful people who harbor prejudices tend to stay that way…they just hide it better.
    In any case I am all for the info about which clubs are “exclusive” being out there so people can choose, as long as we don’t monkey around with freedom to associate as one wishes.

  6. Joe

    Gads!! What a threat to social liberty an old white boys private sports club is to ordered government in Columbia!!
    We citizens are so lucky to have this blight of Euro social exclusivity displayed in the state newspaper.
    And to have it followed by woeful, bloody shirt tales and breast beating by the obligatory chorus of self hating whites.
    Yes Sir: Mr. Warthen, et al has gotten some serious street cred from afro journalists, bolton and pitts, for their fearless confrontation of those nasty Euro whites who manifest relentlessly a distrust of the african slave descendants, their useful idiots and fellow travelers.
    Let us hope that city, state and government employees who are paid out of taxpayer revenues to serve the public will and communtiy interest as sworn duty, will not let their memberships in the Black Association of Police Chiefs,
    Black Social Workers, Black Principals, Black Middle School Teachers, Black Trial Lawyers, Black Journalists, Black Judges, Black University Faculty and Black National Association of Colored People
    Interfere with serving ALL of South Carolina Citizens, and not let their MEMBERSHIPS IN RACE EXCLUSIVE organizations interfere with their constant serving of only the common public good.
    Sir: To the issue of a Double Standard:
    Should public empoyees be allowed to have a membership in any organization dedicated to serving the special interests of a special racial, ethnic, gender group? Should not they be fired for conflict of interest?
    As for example, Like the Legislative Black Caucus will not allow a White Caucasian elected member be part of their race exclusive club.
    Maybe the state, or bolton or warthen might check on the racial discrimination of the government employees in management positions by the racial association memberships of those public employees.
    Or would that be leveling the playing field, in a way marxists revolutionaries just cannot accept?
    Hopefully, Look forward to insightful articles on the racial exclusive professional black social clubs and their impact on city, county and state government in south carolina.
    Might even get one of those awards newspapers give to real reporting.
    Thank you.

  7. Dave

    I read the article. I am friends with a member (by family) of Forest Lake Country Club. Members of my family are friends with quite a few members. I also had a friend who worked in the club as a server.
    My friend does not associate with the club because she doesn’t want to have anything to do any kind of “exclusive club”, basically meaning a social fraternity or sorority for adults, period. She’s made clear that Forest Lake still has this policy. In their oh-so-delicate words, they wouldn’t allow her to bring a black friend onto their tennis courts.
    My family members’ friends have told them pretty much the same thing, although they seem okay with that policy. They put it a little more “delicately”.
    Not bragging at all, but I feel pretty sure that I myself, after 30 years or so on the waiting list, would make it in the the club fairly easily – the connections, family money, white, Protestant, etc. status. Except me being gay – once that came out, I’d be black-balled right away! I wish I could see the heads rolling in that room, but I wouldn’t want to be on their list anyway.
    I’ve been on the side of the argument “are there any Jewish or black clubs … which refuse to accept whites” before. But, I see things very differently now. I know being gay is not the same at all – and you’re entitled to your opinion on homosexuality. But, I have seen a little window into the world of what it’s like to be a minority in a group – to have a hard time relating to others and feeling alone.
    And I honestly don’t think that other groups do exclude. The SC Gay & Lesbian Business Guild might be called that – but it’s not an exclusive club and straight people join, and they certainly use the marketing opportunities. And, you may be frowned upon as a white man joining a club whose name and purpose is specifically for African-Americans, but I guarantee they’d let you in once you could show that you could fit in with them – and maybe that would show you what they have to deal with as a minority all the time.
    There are clubs exclusively restricted to people over/under certain ages, over certain incomes, only certain religions, etc. Nobody protests these – they are geared towards SPECIFIC groups, with SPECIFIC purposes and goals for those groups.
    If there was a club for deaf people only – where they could relate in sign language – not many heads would turn. But, if there was a club that ONLY allowed hearing people, excluding the deaf, I’m sure most people would be really against that.
    But, I COMPLETELY agree with you, there’s a right to associate. I believe that Forest Lake Club should be able to select members as they wish, and I stand firmly in favor of their constitutional right to do so. But, I will also continue to ostracize them for that kind of discrimination.
    Also, if there’s a black or Jewish country club in Columbia that refuses to accept “whites” purely based on race – I’d still think it would be totally wrong. (Although I always thought most, but not all, Jewish people in Columbia were “white” in skin-tone – there must be a synagogue out in Gadsden I haven’t visited yet.)
    Anyway, let me know the country clubs that exclude white people and I’ll speak out against them. That’d be might “white” of you!

  8. Dave

    Pebs: My grandfather was a Shriner. I know there are plenty of “occult” aspects to them – stuff dating back to over a couple of centuries ago. I do know though that he was a good father, a good husband and a faithful Southern Baptist. Don’t know about their discrimination against women, but I’m definitely curious. There aren’t many shriners these days for obvious reasons.
    Joe: Wasn’t aware of all those organizations, except the NAACP (if that’s what you meant by “Black National Association of Colored People”). Don’t think they exclude whites though – check again. If the the Legislative Black Caucus will not allow a “White Caucasian” into their club, then I believe that’s wrong. They should let white people in. But they shouldn’t let just ANY old white person in – just the “good ones”. Who seem black, because some of their best friends are white. They definitely need a token white. A “White Caucasian” would be even better – a Georgian, an Armenian… Anyone from around the Black Sea will do.

  9. David

    I think Joe has this partly right, even though he’s evidently been drinking espresso.
    It really is kind of astounding to me that everyone feels the deep and burning need to pass judgement on just about everyone else:
    **The Shriners are closet occultists so we shouldn’t like them or people who associate with them.
    **The Country Club in Augusta that hosts the PGA Augusta National does not admit women, so we gotta excoriate and denigrate them.
    **The Boy Scouts have long upheld certain moral values that have meant admission was denied to homosexuals, so now we’re not supposed to like the Boy Scouts or remember any of the wonderful things they’ve contributed to our society in the last century.
    Now, Joe rightly points out that no one utters a peep when black folk form all sorts of clubs and associations on the basis of things held in common, both professional and personal. These groups are obviously intended to be exclusively black.
    I wonder what the reaction would be to a White Association of Police Chiefs, or a White Legislative Caucus? Can you say vociferous and white-hot outrage, boys and girls?
    In general, I think this society would really be a lot better if people would stop attempting to make everyone else look exactly like themselves. I don’t think breaking into these white clubs is going to help black people nearly as much as Brad seems to think it will. People are what they are, and they believe what they believe. And if they are powerful and influential, they then have the means to to form other, even more exclusive and camoflaged clubs when their original clubs are integrated. In fact, I think that integration of these clubs which is forced by continual excoriation and denigration actually may serve only to harden and crystallize the prejudices and anti-minority opinions held by white members.
    And, once you finally breach the wall and make it into a club where no one really wanted you in, exactly what have you gained?
    Not much really, I don’t think.

  10. Mike Cakora

    Regarding Dave’s mention of the deaf:
    Folks like me who don’t get out much were unaware of Deaf culture, a/k/a “Big D Deaf”.

    Deaf culture is composed of people who consider deafness to be a difference in human experience, rather than a disability. When used in the cultural sense, the word deaf is very often capitalized in writing, and referred to as “big D Deaf”.
    Big D Deaf communities do not automatically include all those who are clinically or legally deaf, nor do they exclude every hearing person. According to Charlotte Baker-Shenk and Carol Padden, a person is Deaf if he or she “identifies him/herself as a member of the Deaf community, and other members accept that person as a part of the community.” Deaf culture may include those who attended deaf schools, children of deaf parents, and some sign language interpreters.

    I bring this up because of several controversies at Gallaudet University — a federally chartered, quasi-governmental university for the education of the deaf and hard-of-hearing, located in Washington, D.C. — over the last decade.
    The latest involved protests over the selection of the then-Provost to be the school’s president because old-fashioned identity politics: allegations that she was not deaf enough, did not know enough American Sign Language, etc.
    So folks remain schizophrenic over the fairness and ability of exclusive organizations to restrict membership. Many folks feel the need to belong to an exclusive organization; some will go to great lengths to define a narrow set of membership requirements.
    I don’t and do enjoy asking Forest Lake members if Friday night is Kosher night.

  11. dave

    Right Mike. I don’t know what we’re supposed to make of the rejection of the President-elect at Gallaudet by students clamoring that she wasn’t somehow deaf enough.
    This reminds me of black folk who sometimes argue whether someone is “black” enough.
    I confess that this is a look into the mindsets of the black and deaf cultures that just mystifies me. I guess you have to be on the inside to even begin to understand it. I haven’t been in a college setting since 1986, but I don’t remember any students with any particular defining characteristics demanding and stomping their feet that the institutions’ president represent their particular characteristic to any definite degree. Seems silly to me.
    The good thing is they won’t hear us talking about them.
    I suppose they can read however.

  12. Dave

    Waiting that long to become a member of Forest Lake and spending that kind of money, just to hang out with old men in bowties with bad combovers, munching on “Ham Delights” and “krab dip” from the “Social Pig” on Forest… No thanks anyway. Even if they threw in a few mini-quiches from Sam’s Club I still wouldn’t be tempted.
    “Columbia” + “Society” – there’s a contradiction! I’m sure they would seem all fancy-dancy and high-falutin to my relatives in Gaffney. I think they would still be considered nothing but upcountry hillbillies amongst the South of Broad crowd. They don’t even have the accent that inspired that annoying woman doing the voiceover in that new “Chaaaaston, South Cay-ro-lie-nuh” ad I see over and over. They have no Ravenels in their blood, and their ancestors were mostly lowly Scotch-Irishmen.
    I certainly don’t force my opinion on anyone else. Like it or not, a club for white men only is going to raise more eyebrows than a club for black men, Jewish women, etc. Any club that excludes people because they simply “don’t like them” is ridiculous in my eyes.
    But, a club for say, black fathers or Jewish housewives, might exist to provide a a place for those people to relate, working to achieve specific goals for their specific group – not just to keep “unsuitable” people out.
    I doubt the Forest Lake Country Club exists to provide a refuge for wealthy white people; to help their community achieve common goals, not intending to keep others out of their group intentionally. No, they just simply feel those other races are beneath them.
    They have every right to do that. But, I firmly believe it’s completely ridiculous in this day and age.
    I wish they would just come out and say that they exclude non-white Protestants. Instead, they pussyfoot!
    “We let in one gentleman in 1962 whose great-great-great-aunt was half-Indian, Cherokee I believe – and he was the nicest man you’ve ever met”.
    Or, “we tried hard to recruit Jewish people by giving out free ham-and-cheese delights on bagels and shrimp salad on chalah bread, right outside of Beth Shalom one day, but no one seemed interested – Jewish people just don’t want to join.”
    They need to admit that they really just miss the good old days at the Woolworth’s counter. They can keep it polite and say that they mean no real offense to “coloreds”. Move away from 1937… they need to realize it’s at least 1961 A.D. Women want to be more than part of the “typing pool” and women like Laura Petrie can even wear capri pants instead of a dress or skirt in one scene! No need to look like a tired old relic by 1980.

  13. Mike Cakora

    It’s a move to interject the subjective — politics — into what should be a rather objective process: education. I gather that every special interest group is doing so except for individuals pursuing degrees in stuff that really matters: engineering, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and the like. You know, the professions that pay well and where them stinin’ Orientals work hard and succeed. They’ve got what’s now a strange notion that if one works hard to master tough subjects, one will succeed.
    Have you noticed that there’s no Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, or Japanese Al Sharpton? There’s a good reason for that: they understand that success is a matter of individual effort and does not depend on what group one belongs to. They’d reject any politician who promised aid or special treatment to Asian-Americans because they know instinctively that s/he’s lying, just as any preacher would be if s/he promised salvation to folks not based on faith and good works, but on race / ethnic status.

  14. david

    What are you implying Mike? That black folks are unable to recognize the fact that Sharpton, Jackson, Randolph and other race baiters are lying to them? I mean you ARE right: No such characters exist in the Asian community in America, and yet the black community is slap full of them. And black people seem to lap it up like a kitten in a creamery.
    I’ve never considered this before, but it seems that their slave heritage in this country make black folks extremely myopic and gullible when it comes to their leaders promising them “aid and special treatment.”
    Very interesting.


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