After a video of Black teens being escorted from a mall for wearing hoodies went viral, four white women decided to wear hoodies to that same mall to see if they’d get the same response.
On Nov. 3, former report Kevin McKenzie recorded an instance of what many see clearly as racial profiling at the Wolfchase Galleria in Memphis. A group of Black teens was told by security that they were violating mall dress code by wearing hoodies and were escorted out. When they tried to challenge the policy as discriminatory, one of the teens and McKenzie were detained by police and issued a citation. Since the video went viral, people have noted that the mall’s posted code of conduct only mentions to “wear appropriate clothing.”
With this in mind, four white women in Tennessee decided to go to the Wolfchase Galleria mall together, all wearing hoodies, to see if security responded to their clothing the same way they did with the teens. According to the women, they were able to walk around the mall without issue.
“Sometimes our hoods were up, sometimes our hoods were down. If a security guard spotted us with our hoods up, they very politely asked us to take them down,” wrote one of the women, Shannon Arthur, on Facebook. “One guard said it was because they need to be able to identify everybody’s faces. So we said, ‘Sure,’ took them down, walked on, and put the hoods back up a bit later. Repeat. No threats. Point made.” In the video recorded by McKenzie, none of the teens had their hoods up when they were escorted from the mall.
“It just struck a chord on us that we could do that,” said another woman, Sherry Ennis, to local station Fox 13. “We could walk through there, we could take pictures, we could wear whatever we wanted.”
In the comments on Arthur’s post, people pointed out that they also were not stopped from taking pictures or video, which is what McKenzie was detained for. “There’s no question that some members of our community are constantly harassed and traumatized where those with less melanin are given a pass,” wrote Arthur. “We must do better.”
H/T the Root