My sister texted me after submitting a report on her experience being profiled at Road Runner Sports in San Diego. It was the classic case of #ShoppingWhileBlack.
Shopping While Black at Road Runner Sports
When I received the text from my sister telling me of her shopping-while-black experience at Road Runner Sports, I was infuriated. She is a 5′ 2″ petite soft-spoken, always well-mannered person who respects everyone.
In short, she went to the store where she is a VIP member because she often shops there for herself and her family. They are runners, joggers, and marathoners. She is a medical doctor, a pediatrician, and a dean and professor at a medical school. She followed all the rules. Yet, she was singled out to be profiled as the only black person in a store filled with shoppers. Worse, when she civilly confronted the salesperson who was following her, the salesperson’s response was that she was doing her job. To add injury to that pathetic response, a manager asked the employee if she needed help, not my sister, the harassed customer.
Lindia reported the incident below to the Better Business Bureau and is awaiting a response.
December 21st- I visited the store to shop for my husband and kids. We’re all runners and have frequented the store over the years. I was asked by the young woman who said she was ‘covering’ the clothing area whether I needed help- she asked twice in the span of 3 minutes. I thanked her both times and informed her that if I did, I would reach out to her. Every step or turn I made, she was there. In essence, I was being followed around the store. I happen to be a 58y.o. Black woman who is also a physician and a Dean at a medical school in Los Ángeles. In addition to seeing patients, I am a medical educator who teaches students about racism and implicit and explicit bias. When I shared with the young woman that it was clear to me that she was following me, she responded by saying “I’m doing my job”. I find this puzzling, but upon further reflection, it is clear to me that she was likely ‘trained’ to do this. I would implore you to train your employees in anti- racist and anti-bias behaviors. I look forward to hearing back from you.
My sister had another story about her experience at her apartment in her university town. It illustrates the tiring stresses some in our community must endure continually. I hope those reading this and listening to her learn her important message.