Upon entering a local bank I was met by a notification taped to the entrance that wearing Halloween masks was forbidden.
Setting aside reason -- I'm a white guy in a white neighborhood entering a bank with white employees -- I could come to no other conclusion: The bank is racist.
Such misplaced logic is being applied in Harlem where businesses are refusing service to patron with no shoes and no shirts. What's more, they are refusing customers who wear hoodies or otherwise cover their faces.
Setting aside reason -- that black thugs wear hoodies to obscure their identity and that such policies must be enforced universally (including Muslims) -- I can come to no other conclusion: Harlem stores are racist.
Not everyone in Harlem is a fan of the signs.Continue reading ►
Princess Johnson told CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang she and her newborn baby were hassled right out of a Harlem grocery store simply because they were wearing hoodies.
“I can’t get her milk because they said we’re trespassing. I feel offended,” she said.
“You shouldn’t have to worry about what you wear when you’re shopping for food. That’s not acceptable,” Harlem resident, Eric Herring said.
Stark told DNAinfo he does not believe the signs are racially charged because criminals “can be black, white, brown, yellow, blue or green.”
“No hoodie is extreme but no mask is good,” Ali Haaj a manager at Kings Deli, told DNAinfo. “Everybody complains about it.”
Store managers told CBS 2’s Jiang that they did not have a problem with the hoodies, but how they were being worn.
“You can’t see nothing. The guy goes, he check the camera, can’t see face, can’t see nothing,” Rashid Saidi, King’s Deli, said.
Saidi said that a year ago the deli was robbed at gunpoint. The hood on his hoodie was up and covering part of his face, so Saidi could not give police a good description.
Next door the owner of Bravo Grocery said that he is also tracking thieves.
“Sometimes they shoplift. If they have a mask I can’t recognize them,” Jose Abru said.
Some customers don’t mind putting their hoods down.
“If you can’t respect the store don’t walk into it,” Michael Nazario said.
Others, like Johnson said that the signs are unavoidable.
“The signs are everywhere. They should take them down because it’s violating everybody and we can’t go into a store because of a hoodie? That’s crazy,” she said.
Johnson said that stores that make her hide her hoodie won’t see her money either.
By Monday night, some stores had taken the signs down in response to community concerns.
“It makes me feel like they are targeting me,” Tyquan Haskins, who was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, told DNAinfo.com. “Why are you targeting? I’ve been spending money here for five years, don’t you know me?”
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