Who knew an unwritten “rule” could be enforced in a shopping center where you buy hoodies? But that’s exactly what happ[ened at Wolfchase Galleria in Cordova in Memphis, Tennessee, where no hoodies are allowed. Sometimes.
Last week, a group of Black men were kicked out of the mall for wearing hoodies. Therefore, when four white women decided to wear hoodies — surprise! — they weren’t thrown out.
One of the women, Shannon Arthur, wrote on Facebook, “We four white women walked more than a mile through the Wolfchase Galleria wearing our hoodies and our privilege, just to see what would happen. This is the same mall where several young black men were recently kicked out, roughed up, and/or arrested for allegedly violating an unposted no-hoodie policy, and a bystander was also arrested for documenting the injustice with his smartphone.”
The post continued, “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. 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… I respect law enforcement. And mall cops. But there’s no question that some members of our community are constantly harassed and traumatized where those with less melanin are given a pass. We must do better.” See the photo below:
As for the Black men who were thrown out of the mall last week, the shopping center said in a statement, “Wolfchase Galleria is focused on providing a safe environment for all customers and employees. We require customers to not conceal their identity while on mall property as a matter of public safety. It is important that our security cameras and security personnel be able to see the faces of everyone on property. Mall security personnel respectfully ask all customers concealing their identity to conform to the policy. Police are only called if a customer refuses or becomes belligerent. In this instance, a Memphis Police Department officer repeatedly requested the individual to remove his ‘hoodie.’ He did not comply with this directive and was removed from the mall.”
Sounds like these white women proved what many Black and brown folks already know. Let’s hope white folks in their community are listening.