It’s hard to imagine that a “minority” newspaper columnist would demand that an independent business discriminate against poor, young black kids, but that’s exactly what the Kansas City Star‘s Mary Sanchez did in her column, “Let’s Deal With The Rowdy Youths.”
“Create the environment for chaos, bear the responsibility when the shots are fired and the punches are thrown,” Sanchez begins. “That should be the standard. It doesn’t matter whether the problems are at the zoo during free days, outside Cinemark theaters on the Country Club Plaza or anywhere else in town. The draw is free or cheap. Deal with what shows up.”
I get it. Make things affordable at your own risk and you’re on the hook for bad behavior.
That’s a pretty sweeping statement when you think about it.
By that measure, I guess McDonald’s all but deserves to be robbed and vandalized for selling inexpensive food. They should be forced to charge more so as to attract a classier clientele.
Come to think of it the Plaza couldn’t wait to dump McDonalds to rid the area of the riff raft it attracted. The Noodles & Company draws a more upscale crowd with more higher prices and less kid-friendly menu items. Bravo.
That’s right, ridiculous as it sounds, Sanchez – who to my knowledge has something like zero real world business experience to draw upon – thinks Cinemark’s Palace on the Plaza should have to charge higher ticket prices on weekends. That way the young black kids who hang there won’t be able to afford a movie ticket and will have to go somewhere else.
Voila, blacks on the Plaza problem solved!
Nanny Sanchez wants corporate contrition too.
“Cinemark needs to admit that charging $6.75 for an evening movie on weekends is part of what attracts throngs of young people — some who only want to cause trouble,” Sanchez demands.
Admit that you know what it takes to fill a movie theater on the Country Club Plaza on weekend nights. Admit you’re in business to sell as many tickets as possible at whatever price the market will bear so that you can make a killing selling overpriced concessions. Admit you’re in business to make a profit. For heaven’s sake, come clean.
“The theater is central to why troublemakers are drawn by the young crowds on the Plaza,” Sanchez states.
Sanchez must not have been paying attention when throngs of blacks chose Westport to hang at. Blame that one on Jerry Harrington and the Tivoli movie theater, I guess.
And clearly Sanchez must not remember when large crowds of blacks parked their cars and gathered along 47th Street towards the northwest corner of the Plaza. No movie action then.
At least Sanchez’ column had some good, old-fashion Midwestern common sense logic:
“Let’s be clear,” she writes. “Punching a cop or firing a gun indiscriminately is criminal behavior.”
I dot know about you, but that point was a little murky until Sanchez put it into perspective.
Then to top things off, Sanchez shoots herself in the foot at the column’s end by making a case for why Cinemark should not discriminate against black kids by raising movie ticket prices to levels they can’t afford.
“Most underserved teenagers are not acting out violently,” Sanchez writes. “They are not being disrespectful. They don’t deserve to be lumped in by virtue of sharing a race or age with the hoodlums.”
Anybody down there at 18th and Grand still edit this stuff anymore?
Sanchez spends three quarters of her column arguing that Cinemark should punish all black kids by raising movie ticket prices, then caps it off by arguing that the good black kids shouldn’t have to suffer because a small minority of bad black kids are acting up.
Which is it? Here’s an idea.
How about we let Cinemark decide how to price it’s movie tickets and popcorn – just like we do McDonald’s, Noodles & Company and Plaza III price their products, and try and find a way to deal with the underlying problems that’s a little more – how do you say – well thought out and less discriminatory?