VIDEO – Can an Elevator Be Racist?

Can an elevator discriminate? One of the most common complaints from HK’s foreign domestic helper community is that of ‘day-to-day discrimination‘ – a phenomena which can often be difficult to prove. However, a video commissioned by the upcoming HK Helpers Campaign revealed how Causeway Bay Centre Shopping Arcade (near Victoria Park) is in the habit of charging HK$5 for the use of their elevator. Manned by two security guards and surrounded by ‘no photography’ signs, the fee is only applied on Sundays, when Indonesian maids pour into the area on their day off.

As HK Helpers Campaign went to investigate, Stories Beyond Borders spoke to an activist for Open Door HK. Her organisation noted that the guards were highly inconsistent in their application of the fee, targeting those who can least afford it…

Starbucks at Alexandra House closes their bathroom to customers and non-customers only on Sundays. And seating around the base of the IFC miraculously disappears each Sunday, only to reappear on Mondays…

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In some areas, the government itself deliberately prevent crowds from gathering, but at least the rule is applied consistently…

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via ‘Tanya in BNE’ on Flickr

In the US, as Jim Crow laws were deemed unconstitutional, many businesses attempted to sustain unequal access to services through similar convoluted means. Are HK’s businesses and service providers discriminating against a group of people or against a day of the week? If services cannot be applied consistently for all sections of the community, then perhaps they should be scrapped altogether?

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