SOS Racismo worked with white Spaniards and youngsters of other ethnicities in five Spanish cities to determine if they were treated differently at the same nightclubs.
Both groups of subjects were formally dressed, sober, politely spoken and attempted to get into clubs that were neither at their maximum capacity nor after admission times.
The results were conclusive, if not startling: on average one in four nightclubs investigated allowed the white customers in without objections while giving the other non-white subjects excuses.
"These excuses ranged from 'you can't come to a nightclub alone', 'you're not on the list' before even checking the list, to 'it's a private party'", Mikel Mazkiaran, Secretary General of SOS Racism, told The Local.
Race and appearance were never used as a pretext by the doormen. "It's hard to prove it exists, that's why this investigation is so effective," Mazkiaran added.
Out of the five Spanish cities put under the microscope, A Coruña (northern Spain) scored two out of five for ‘racist’ nightclubs, the Basque city of San Sebastián got one in four and Zaragoza one in nine.
Barcelona was the city with the worst results, after three out of the five nightclubs tested stopped non-white partygoers from entering, while the Spanish capital of Madrid achieved the best score with no discrimination at the five establishments that were scrutinized.
"The aim of this investigation was and is to make people aware of the less explicit social racism we have in Spain," Mazkiaran explains.
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"We've not seen the social unrest London, Stockholm and Paris have had in recent years but wherever there's a gatekeeper filtering who gets in or who gets what, from a nightclub to an estate agent, we do see discrimination.
"We need to have efficient legal means to condemn these abuses."