A creepy old guy enticing families with his party bus is all well and good at Six Flags, but an employee sporting dreadlocks? That’s just in poor taste.
That’s what Pennsylvania State engineering student MarKeese Warner learned when she applied for a food service job for the summer at the theme park in Mitchellville, Maryland this month, and was denied employment because of her choice of hairstyle.
The young woman, who is black, says she went to the interview neatly dressed and with her hair in a pony tail. She has started a Change.org petition to raise awareness of the Six Flags policy, and more than 26,000 people have signed it thus far.
"I think this policy is discriminating. And I think it does enable racial profiling," Warner told Vice, adding that though it affects people of all races, "in practice it affects predominantly black people because the majority of people with dreadlocks are black."
Perhaps the saddest parts of Warner's story is that she had been a Six Flags fanatic for years, taking regular trips there since childhood. No longer. Warner, who hoped to make connections this summer that would help her land an engineering job at Six Flags upon graduation, said she will not be returning to the park.
Warner said in her area, there are a lot of people who sport dreadlocks, most of them black.
"I feel like this policy is preventing them, especially the youth, from getting jobs," Warner said. "Thank God I'm not in the position where I have to take care of my family. But there are other people around my age who have those kinds of responsibilities."
For its part, Six Flags told Vice it is an equal opportunity employer.
"We have a very conservative dress code," a company representative said. "We don’t discriminate based on gender, age, or race."
Six Flags has 19 theme parks in North America, and has a licensing agreement with DC Comics and Warner Bros. Consumer Products, which allows many of its characters to appear in the park.