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Disney Does the Right Thing, Sort Of, in Racial Profiling Case

28 Jun

From NBC News, an update on the possible racial profiling at Downtown Disney:

Late Thursday, Disney reversed its lifetime ban on the four players and made it a one year ban at Downtown Disney only.

This is of course good news . . . especially for the teenager whose mother is a supervisor at the Walt Disney World Polynesian Resort (a lifetime ban would have been awkward on Take Your Child to Work Day, wouldn’t it?). But it’s not enough. Nothing I’ve read justifies any ban at all. These kids deserve not only a complete lifting of the ban, but also an explanation and apology.

Just as important, many of us will still be waiting for answers about what exactly has gone wrong recently with security at Downtown Disney, and assurance that the problem has been addressed.

The blogosphere of course has been ablaze over the story. Disney geeks like myself have probably already seen More Thoughts on Racial Profiling at Downtown Disney on The Disney Blog, but may not have seen the Essential Presence blog (great stuff, it’s now in my blogreader), which I highly recommend, especially for those who wonder what all the fuss is about. The author’s commentary on a recent Orlando Sentinel article is spot on.

More Details on Possible Racial Profiling at Downtown Disney

27 Jun

The Orlando Sentinel has more on the story this morning:

Walt Disney World ejected four of Florida State University’s top football prospects from Downtown Disney last weekend under its anti-gang, no-loitering policy.

The four, including the son of a Disney manager and the son of a Philadelphia civil-rights lawyer, were banned for life from Disney World property late Friday.

A Disney spokeswoman said the youths were expelled because they had been loitering for an extended period and refused to leave when Disney security told them to.

Parents of the youths wonder whether there’s another reason: They’re black.

(I’d wondered why my blog was suddenly getting so much traffic today from a web forum for football recruiters . . . I guess I have my answer now.)

Wondering whether there’s really anything wrong with racial profiling? Amnesty International has an excellent report on the topic.

When law enforcement officials focus on what people look like, what religion they follow, or what they wear, it puts us all at risk.

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.

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