Racial Profiling at Downtown Disney?

22 Jun

Disney’s been ramping up security at Downtown Disney, in the wake of an alleged (but highly doubted) abduction. (They say that’s not why they’re ramping up . . . but I’d be surprised if this event and the national attention it received hadn’t influenced priorities.)

What worries me though . . . is that the Orlando Sentinel reports today concerns that Disney Security may be disproportionately handing out warnings to teenagers of color:

Out of the 50 warnings issued last weekend, the Sheriff’s Office was able to find only 40 of the reports. Warnings were issued to 20 young Hispanic males, 19 young black males and one young black female.

None came from Orange County, the location of Downtown Disney. Eleven were from Osceola County, 11 from Lake County, 11 from Polk County, five from Georgia and one each from Arizona, Texas and an unreported location.

One of the teens told never to come back asked why no whites were among those warned about trespassing.

“A whole bunch of white boys walked by yelling and stuff, and they didn’t do nothing to them,” said Michael Washington, 16, of Polk City.

Let’s hope that Disney sets things right quickly. Racial profiling isn’t just unfair, it’s also ineffective. Need to understand the issues better? ACLU’s got the scoop for you.

3 Responses to “Racial Profiling at Downtown Disney?”

  1. John June 22, 2007 at 12:25 pm #

    The article also says that if you look across the scope of the last years data the racial profiling thing is a non-issue. So I’m left wondering what changed in the security procedures that changed the ratio so much over one weekend. I think Disney needs to look at the outside help they brought in and resolve this issue.

  2. Thomas June 23, 2007 at 8:00 am #

    It could have just been the make up of that particular evening as well. Before we start accusing Disney or law enforcement of any sort of wrong doing, maybe we should dig beyond the headline and figure out if it is indeed a problem.

  3. Kitty-chan June 23, 2007 at 9:08 am #

    John and Thomas, I do hope you’re both right. I am of course a huge Disney fan . . . and I hate to think anybody’s being treated unfairly in the place where I love to vacation (and spend plenty of money).

    But the choice of words from Disney Spokesperson Jacquee Polak and Sheriff’s Capt. Ted Brown do concern me. When people speak of a “ganglike presence” and ‘wannabe gangbangers,’ there’s almost always a racial subtext.

    So let’s hope that the Sentinel’s article, and whatever attention it attracts, encourage Disney to examine their security policies and procedures, and ensure that justice is being served.

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