Shopping While Black - Retail Racism
A recent experiment aired on YouTube by ABC, showed just how bad it can get when a shopper is being discriminated against because of the color of their skin. ABC decided to preform this experiment, not just for fun, but because researchers have already found that 60% of Black American's and African American's, are being discriminated against when they go shopping in mid to upper-scale retail boutiques and stores.
Researchers have dubbed this problem: Shopping While Black
A recent trend on YouTube has been to preform social experiments (like the famed Pantless Subway Ride), has got professionals and amatures alike, posting videos showing the public in their rawest form. In this specific experiment, the woman (Denise Simon) being discriminated against, the store clerk doing the persecuting and the store security guard pushing it further - are all actors. What is real, are the shoppers, and what is amazing, is the lack of help any of them give to the woman being treated unfairly. The experiment was put in place to test out other shoppers, to see who would be willing to step in and help, or at least try to help. The test showed that people of color were much more likely to help, and that the majority of caucasians were more likely to try and avoid getting involved.
In several studies that led up to this social experiment, it has been shown that (at least in New York) racial profiling in retail settings, is much more prevalent than we'd like to believe. In fact, over 60% of black and latino shoppers say that this sort of discrimination has happened to them. And you can see the proof in the pudding when you learn that Macy's has been sued more then enough times for racial profiling, and even had to pay $600,000 in several judgments against them.
It's not just Retail
Although racism is a problem that has plagued humankind for ages, the fact that it not only continues but is so prevalent in our society, is down right hideous. Retail stores aren't the only place that people of color are having a hard time either. It appears that people of color also get lesser service, harassment and down right abused in restaurants, banks, health clinics and upper class establishments.
What do we do?
In situations like these, there is one large problem that most people don't stop to think about - How do we change these racial profiling behaviors?
Would it eventually stop having if other customers stood up for their fellow human's in these situations? Should secret shoppers go around testing various stores for this type of discrimination? Should there be a penalty for the stores, or for the employees who exhibit the behaviors?