BELLOWS FALLS, Vt.-- A Vermont barber who turned away a black customer says he was trying to avoid embarrassment for both of them because he's no good at cutting black people's hair.

Mike Aldrich, who is white and runs Mike's Barber Shop in Bellows Falls, told the would-be customer when he stopped in last month that the barber wasn't in.

The man, Dr. Darryl Fisher, of Taos, N.M., walked by the shop later and saw Aldrich cutting the hair of a white customer and realized then that Aldrich was the barber.

Fisher, whose cause was taken up Saturday in a sidewalk demonstration outside the shop, says he thinks the incident was racially motivated. Aldrich says no, it was because he has trouble with black people's hair.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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