This week, I read some disturbing stories about racial profiling and police harassment. Those stories are a reminder that, in many ways, nothing has changed in America for black people. You can be a hard working college student or a rich actor. It does not matter. In the enemy's eyes, you are just a criminal, a nigger.
As reported in the Daily News,
A black teenager is shopping for justice — claiming snooty Barneys staffers and New York City cops racially profiled him for credit card fraud after he bought a $349 belt.Unfortunately, that is not the first time that Barneys humiliated and degraded a black customer. Daily News reports that:
Trayon Christian, 19, told the Daily News he filed a lawsuit after he was targeted by staffers at Barneys’ Madison Ave. flagship store and detained by police because they didn’t believe a young black man could possibly afford to buy such an expensive belt.
The fashion-forward teen, who lives with his mom in Corona, Queens, is studying engineering at the New York City College of Technology, where he had a work-study job.
Christian said his paycheck had just been direct deposited into his Chase bank account, so he went straight to Barneys on the afternoon of April 29 to buy the pricey Ferragamo belt with a silver buckle and a reversible black and white strap.
“I knew exactly what I wanted,” Christian said. He’d seen the belt on a lot of his favorite celebrities, including rapper Juelz Santana.
Four plainclothes cops accused a black woman of credit card fraud after the Brooklyn mom bought a $2,500 designer bag from Barneys — stoking a fresh round of outrage against the high-end store.Barneys is not the only store that believes that shopping while black is a crime. MSN News reports that:
Kayla Phillips, 21, a nursing student from Canarsie, told the Daily News she had long coveted the orange suede Céline bag. Armed with a cash infusion from a tax return, she took her Bank of America debit card and headed to the Madison Ave. flagship store on Feb. 28.
Phillips made the purchase without incident but says she was surrounded by cops just three blocks away, at the Lexington Ave. and 59th St. subway station.
“There were three men and a woman,” she recalled. “Two of them attacked me and pushed me against a wall, and the other two appeared in front of me, blocking the turnstile.”
A black actor on the HBO drama series "Treme" said in a lawsuit on Friday that he was stopped because of his race while buying sunglasses at Macy's — the third discrimination allegation made this week by a black shopper against a department store.The days of Jim Crow are gone. The "No Coloreds" signs have been taken down. We have a legal right to shop wherever we want to shop. We have a legal right to purchase whatever we have the money to purchase. I hope that Robert Brown, Kayla Phillips and Trayon Christian prevail in their lawsuits. The New York Police Department, Macy's and Barneys must end their discriminatory practices.
Robert Brown, who filed the lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, said he was detained by police at the flagship Herald Square store on June 8 after employees contacted authorities about possible credit card fraud.
He said he was "paraded while handcuffed" through the store to a holding cell, where he was kept for nearly an hour while officers grilled him and searched his bag. His lawsuit said Macy's employees suggested he couldn't afford to make such an expensive purchase. He eventually was released without charges.
The department store was profiling Brown because of his race, said his lawsuit, which seeks unspecified monetary damages.
In the meantime, we must stop supporting businesses that do not support us. We must stop giving our hard earned dollars to businesses that despise us, whether it is a local convenience store or a high end department store. Don't be a new slave. We should not be pacified by Barney's recent PR moves. Boycott Barneys and Macy's until they end their discriminatory practices. Please sign this petition urging rapper Jay Z to end all of his partnerships with Barneys.