This morning's release of the iPad Mini saw crowds completely forgetting about the hurricane and lining up to score themselves a miniaturized version of their favorite fancy tablet. Apple beat reporter Philip Elmer-DeWitt was covering the release for Fortune/CNN Money. His online bio says that he's been covering Apple for the last 30 years. He described the scene as such:
"Judging from the ethnic makeup of the queue in front of the big glass cube of Apple's (AAPL) Fifth Avenue store, however, most of the customers who made the pilgrimage were coming from the environs of Chinatown.
Apple hasn't yet said when the iPad mini will be available in mainland China, so there's likely to be a market there for units shipped from the U.S."
Since Mr. DeWitt didn't cite a source supporting his Chinatown claim, it seemed like an . . . odd assumption.
The paragraph in question was pulled down, but not before we got a screen shot.
We reached out to Mr. Elmer-Dewitt, who said it was taken down because "some readers complained about ethnic profiling."
Gotcha. But why did he say that the Asian customers in line were from Chinatown?
"It's well documented that there's a steady flow of new Apple products from the Fifth Ave store to Chinatown to Hong Kong to the mainland," said Mr. Elmer-Dewitt. "See my old pieces. See the NY Times. My mistake was assuming that all the Asians in line (some of whom brought their children so they could buy 4 iPads, not just the maximum 2) were Chinese and that just because they were Chinese that they were from Chinatown. But I've reported on a lot of these lines, and this one had a higher percentage of Asians than any I've seen before."
Well, alrighty then, no racism to see here, folks.