"Avoid Ghetto" app causing controversy - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

"Avoid Ghetto" app causing controversy

Amarillo, Texas - We've all made a wrong turn into a wrong neighborhood.

So, in the future, if you want to avoid those neighborhoods deemed "ghetto" by some, there's an app for that.

Along with giving driving directions, it's also giving Amarillo leaders a lot to be upset about. Microsoft just patented the smart phone app, and while it doesn't have an official name yet, it's being dubbed the "avoid ghetto" app.

Clem Whitaker has lived on NW 16th street since the 1960s, and he's proud of it. "It's been a blessing to me. Everything has been beautiful."

But the North Heights area he loves so much would most likely be labeled as a place to steer clear of by the soon-to-be-released app because it has a reputation for a high crime rate and low average income.

That's ruffling some feathers.

Amarillo NAACP President Floyd Anthony says, "I think that's the most hideous thing that I've heard of. It's discriminatory and racial."

Potter County Commissioner Mercy Murguia says, "From an ethical platform on the surface, it certainly seems unjust. Any business at large could certainly be affected, especially by a traveler who may not know the area, they could make a decision to go elsewhere."

After working hard to erase some negative stereotypes, the Hispanic Chamber says this app is like one step forward, three steps back, and it means they have their work cut out for them.

The Hispanic Chamber's Dora Chavarria says, "We must educate people who are considering coming here on the beauty we have to offer and not the negative."

As for Clem, he's not really all that upset if people choose to follow the app and stay away from his neighborhood, because, in his words, it's their loss.

"Good friends and good people. That's what you find on this side of town."

Microsoft says the app is meant to keep people safer, not to be discriminatory.

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