A new survey suggests U.S. retailers need to do much more to make people of African ancestry feel more welcome in their stores.
Of 1,020 consumers who self-identified as Black or African American, 90.2 percent experienced racial profiling while shopping.
Women who were Black or African American were slightly less likely than men to say this.
The survey results were in DealAid.org's State of Racial Profiling in Retail report.
The most common location for racial profiling, according to the respondents, was department stores, where 51 percent said they were racially profiled.
That was followed by malls, luxury boutiques, supermarkets, and convenience stores.
In 75.5 percent of the cases, the racial profiling involved being followed or closely watched.
In addition, 27.5 percent stated they were asked for additional ID and 22.6 percent said they were questioned rigorously while shopping.
Nearly 20 percent reported being accused of shoplifting, whereas 16.7 percent stated that they were refused services altogether.
"The two most common types of microaggressions experienced by customers who identify as Black or African American were ‘Treated Differently Than Customers of Other Races’ (50.3%) & ‘Ignored & Made To Wait Excessively’ (47%). Other cited microaggressions were: ‘Told Where Sale Section Was Without Asking’ (30.4%); ‘Told Price Of An Item Without Asking’ (28.4%); & ‘Saw Store Employees Talking About Me’ (24.5%)," the report said.
Slightly more than half of those who endured racial profiling or microaggressions never returned to the store.
The report includes many comments from consumers of colour who felt they had been racially profiled. You can read three of those comments below:
“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. When she told the employee I was her husband, the employee seemed annoyed by how things turned out.”
“Walked into a store and they came up to me over 6 times asking if I needed anything and how they have discounts if needed.”
“The most memorable incident that I can recall involves just being followed from rack to rack. Every time I moved the employee moved and constantly asked me if I need anything. I was a kid, but this is why my mom always told us to not touch anything in the store and to look with our eyes and not our hands. I always thought that she didn’t want us to break anything but the older I got the more I realized that she didn’t want us to even give them the perception that we were trying to take anything even when we had no intention of doing so. I also realize that this is why we were never allowed to just take our items and say no bag, we were trained to always get a bag and receipt."