A group of white women were able to show that a no hoodie policy at a mall in Tennessee was based on racial profiling.
The four women decided to try the experiment at Wolfchase Galleries in Memphis, where a Black man was arrested last week for videotaping an incident
between Memphis Police Department officers and two young Black men who had violated the policy.
According to local media
, Kevin McKenzie, a 59-year-old Black man saw the two young men being harassed by a police officer and started to document the incident.
He claims that police threatened him to stop recording and to leave the mall, or also face an arrest. But McKenzie says he was quickly put in handcuffs before he could even respond. He was later handed a misdemeanor citation.
After the incident, the mall issued a statement saying that it was “focused on providing a safe environment for all customers and employees” and that they “require customers to not conceal their identity while on mall property as a matter of public safety.”
“Mall security personnel respectfully ask all customers concealing their identity to conform to the policy,” the statement continued. “Police are only called if a customer refuses or becomes belligerent.”
The four women decided to test the policy — and had no issues with police, confirming that the no hoodie rule is used as a way to racially profile shoppers.
“It just struck a chord on us that we could do that,” Sherry Ennis, one of the women, told Raw Story
. “We could walk through there, we could take pictures, we could wear whatever we wanted.”
Another woman, Shannon Arthur, wrote about their experiment in a Facebook post
: “If a security guard spotted us with our hoods up, they very politely asked us to take them down. 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.”