Walmart’s Loss Prevention Policy Or Jim Crow 2.0?

I became instantly outraged by a disturbing post I recently read by a fellow blogger, Liz Brazile, concerning Walmart’s loss prevention policy of locking up African American hair products at one of its stores in Perris, CA.

But is my outrage justified? And what is it exactly that I’m outraged about?

I mean, let’s face it, this story isn’t what one would consider, according to mainstream media standards, to be newsworthy. There was no White on Black violence, bloodshed, or killing involved. Even when it first happened weeks ago, the incident was a viral blink on social media. It was just Walmart simply taking action because obviously the AA hair products in that particular store were being stolen.

So, what’s the big deal?

The BIG DEAL is that it’s NOT OKAY for the retail giant to disrespect the many honest, hardworking African American consumers by having them seek out a store employee to unlock the protective glass that houses their specific brand of hair products. While their non-Black counterparts are free to shop sans the protective glass for hair products without being treated like crooks. The BIG DEAL is that it’s NOT OKAY to disregard the dignity of a 43-year-old Black mother of five, Essie Grundy, by perp-walking escorting her to the cash register to pay for an item she wasn’t even allowed to carry herself.

I’m outraged because I see this incident as a more modern, covert version of Jim Crow, a microcosm of the discrimination African Americans continue to confront in this country on a daily basis. It’s nothing new to us but it is newer. Separate and unequal dressed up as diverse and inclusive. That we should put away our race cards and just be happy that Walmart even bothers to sell hair products that address our unique ethnic needs.

I don’t think so.

And it’s a shame that Walmart is willing to go to court to defend its policy (a policy largely defended by gaslighting tweets on Twitter) rather than find a less racially insensitive method for securing its AA hair merchandise. That the shopping chain juggernaut would choose to help perpetuate long-held, negative stereotypes that mischaracterize all African Americans as thieves and born criminals is disturbing. Evidenced by the following more overtly bigoted tweet which was just one of many (both cryptic and subtle) echoing the racist vitriol of times past:

Screenshot (55)

Essie Grundy isn’t looking for some huge financial settlement, according to her lawyer, Gloria Allred. At the most, they’re looking at a little less than five large if they win their lawsuit against Walmart. What Essie Grundy wants is an apology and for the protective glass housing the AA hair products to be removed. But apparently, that’s not possible in the new era of Jim Crow 2.0!

 

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9 Replies to “Walmart’s Loss Prevention Policy Or Jim Crow 2.0?”

  1. Bringing things like this into the spotlight invites all kinds of reactions. Thanks for risking it. It’s important.

    While reading, I thought back to a time when I’d let my hair grow past my shoulders. I looked eerily similar to The Dude from the Big Lebowski. Admittedly, I looked like a white-trash, meth-head, hobo. Although a business owner, ministry leader, and active father of three who’s never had so much as a speeding ticket, I found people made certain assumptions about me based entirely on how I looked.

    As a clean-cut, middle-class looking white guy, I cruised through the world. However, as “The Dude”, I was constantly getting stopped and searched by security nearly everywhere I went. Airport? Pat down, every time. Getting on a cruise ship? Additional security check and luggage inspection. Coming out of WalMart, I actually came to expect being stopped at the door … every … single … time … and asked to show my receipt while they checked my bags.

    After one such incident, my now-adult son laughed at me and said, “Dad, it’s because of how you look!”

    I paused for a moment, and then replied, “Yeah, I know. But I can cut my hair and change my clothes. Imagine if I were black.”

    He just nodded.

    Man, we’ve got a long way to go as a species.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I am going to go out on a limb here and say this treatment is degrading. When I have encountered prejudice and believe me I have, whether it has beem because I was the mother of small children or because my accent is different, I have usually decided to stop using particular shops.
    Your post makes me think of Rosa Parks again. I read the blog of a Jamaican friend and she had a great post about how she handles her hair and like you say, you need to use the right products. If at all possible I would do my shopping elsewhere and never set foot in the store concerned again(maybe shop online)-believe me I really am that stubborn. I used to love this little craft store but the woman was rude to me one day and I didn’t set foot n the store again for ten years. I vote with my feet.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I cannot stop thinking about this post. These are the sort of nasty little things people do which really upset me.
    I can’t change anything but I can say I am sorry that people feel it is all right to treat people this way. One thing I have learned is God is watching and he doesn’t like seeing his children being treated this way. I know because time and time again he has shown me he cares and notices this kind of thing.

    Liked by 2 people

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