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Racial Profiling in Priceline Store Leads to Open Letter

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Priceline have been quick to say that they don’t condone racial profiling, after an incident in a Melbourne store left a young Ethiopian woman and her friends feeling like they were ‘second class citizens’. Hiwot Birhane and her friends were in the beauty shop, buying false eyelashes and makeup when there was a call for ‘extra security’ at the front of the Highpoint store in Melbourne.


Birhane claims that the two security guards at the front of the store allowed two white woman and an Asian woman to go through without any fuss and it was only her and her friends that were stopped. When Birhane asked the manager of the store why the three non-black women weren’t stopped, the acting manager said, “it was because they “knew” those customers and then threatened to call even more security on us.”


Birhane and her friends have decided to boycott Priceline until they apologise for the incident.

“Your staff cannot presume criminality on the basis of someone’s skin. And when they do you, as a company, have an obligation to properly investigate and take the appropriate action,” says Birhane.


However, a spokesman for Priceline has said the chain doesn’t condone racial profiling and has said that their preferred way of dealing with racial profiling incidents is to “work with our store team to ensure that this wouldn’t occur again, as our view is that education is more valuable than punitive action.”

Interesting. Sounds like a whole bunch of nothing. Hopefully work will be done with the team in Highpoint so that something like this doesn’t happen again. It’s 2016, no one should be racially profiling anyone.