Black Teen Speaks Out After Being Racially Profiled At Local Skating Rink

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Juliea and Derrick Robinson are considering taking legal action after their daughter, Lamya, was removed from Riverside Skating Rink due to an issue with the venue's facial recognition system. The incident occurred on July 10 when Juliea Robinson dropped her daughter, Lamya, off at the local skating rink to meet up with a group of her friends. Unfortunately, Lamya Robinson was denied entry to the skating rink because the venue's facial recognition system mistook her for someone who had been previously banned.

"I was so confused because I've never been there," Lamya Robinson told FOX 2 in Detroit, Michigan.

The Michigan teen attempted to explain that she had never been to the skating rink before, but she was still barred from entering with her friends and left outside the venue. Thankfully, Lamya Robinson called her cousin, who was nearby and able to pick her up from the skating rink.

"To me, it's basically racial profiling. You're just saying every young Black, brown girl with glasses fits the profile and that's not right," Juliea Robinson stated.

"You all put my daughter out of the establishment by herself, not knowing what could have happened. It just happened to be a blessing that she was calling in frustration to talk to her cousin, but at the same time he pretty much said I'm not that far, let me go see what's wrong with her," Derrick Robinson added.

Not long after the incident, Lamya Robinson's story was shared online and garnered social media support that prompted the skating rink to release an official statement. While the venue did acknowledge that Lamya Robinson had been left outside of the venue, it did not take any responsibility for what happened and suggested that "a mistake" may not have even been made.

"One of our managers asked Ms. Robinson (Lamya's mother) to call back sometime during the week. He explained to her, this our usual process, as sometimes the line is quite long and it's a hard look into things when the system is running," the statement reads, according to FOX 2 in Detroit.

"The software had her daughter at a 97 percent match. This is what we looked at, not the thumbnail photos Ms. Robinson took a picture of, if there was a mistake, we apologize for that."

Unfortunately, Robinson's story is not all that uncommon. The Gender Shades Project at MIT examined three commercial gender-recognition systems and found they had errors rates of up to 34% for dark-skinned women, a rate that is nearly 49 times higher than that for white men. As a result, many Black people are misidentified and wrongfully accused by businesses and in some cases, police. Recently, a Black man in Michigan by the name of Robert Williams was asked to testify before Congress after he was wrongfully accused of shoplifting due to an error in facial recognition. Williams was later charged and detained before the charges were eventually dropped.

"I never thought I would be a cautionary tale. More than that, I never thought I’d have to explain to my daughters why their Daddy got arrested in front of them on our front lawn," he told Congress.

"How does one explain to two little girls that a computer got it wrong, but the police listened to it anyway and that meant they could arrest me for a crime I didn’t commit?"

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