More than 90% of Black Americans say they have been racially profiled while shopping

A report, which included testimonials, found that 52% of Black shoppers would stop frequenting a store after being profiled

Shoppers Cassie Howard, left, and Paris Black browse an Ulta store in Chicago.
Shoppers Cassie Howard, left, and Paris Black browse an Ulta store in Chicago. Photograph: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Priya Elan Tue 18 May 2021 20.46 BST

In a new survey, more than 90% of African American shoppers said they had experienced racial profiling while buying or browsing – a phenomenon sometimes known as “shopping while Black”.

The State of Racial Profiling in American Retail report, carried out by DealAid, surveyed 1,020 consumers who identified as Black or African American.

The report found that 52% of such shoppers said they would stop going to a shop after being profiled.

The report follows a study in January from the French beauty company Sephora which found that minority groups are more likely to shop online than go into a shop, in order to avoid racial profiling.

The extensive new report included testimonials from those who answered the survey.

One recalled: “The last time that I went to the hair store to buy extensions, the cashier/owner tried to subtly follow me around the store. When I had been looking at a product around a corner for a while (not visible in view), she showed up around the corner and asked if I was looking for something specific. I told her ‘No, I’m just deciding’ and she (seemingly) walked away.Advertisement

“When I came around the corner, I realized that she was still there, she was just watching me from a different angle.”

Another said: “My wife is Caucasian. I was following behind her at a clothing store when she was approached by an employee who warned her that she was being followed by a ‘strange’ black man..”

A third reported hearing an announcement which said “code five in the pharmacy department” and then being observed closely.

The report found that the two most common types of micro-aggressions were being “treated differently than customers of other races” – 50.3% of those surveyed – and being “ignored and made to wait excessively”, reported by 47%. More than three-quarters of respondents said they were followed and closely watched.

source More than 90% of Black Americans say they have been racially profiled while shopping | Race | The Guardian

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