Consumer Racial Profiling (CRP), defined as any type of differential treatment of consumers in the marketplace based on race or ethnicity that constitutes a denial or degradation in the product or service offered to the consumer. We know it as "Shopping While Black." And it hurts. When it happens, black shoppers, or anyone who has been singled out, are made to feel both unwelcome and under suspicion.
If you had a front row seat to this kind of racism, would you take action? ABC News' "What Would You Do?" set up the largest hidden camera operation in the show's history in New York City's Soho neighborhood at the chic clothing boutique Unpomela. Some of the reactions might surprise you.
Not surprisingly the behavior is rather common. A telephone survey conducted last fall of almost 500 people (both Black and White), in the Philadelphia area revealed that 43 percent reported they had experiences being treated differently while shopping because of their race. And, a brief Internet search on the subject turned up no less than 100 articles of reported instances of consumer profiling.
But there is a simple yet effective way to combat it. "Old school" activist such as Louis Farrakhan, Jessie Jackson, and Al Sharpton knew the answer: boycott! That's right; vote with your wallet. If you are disrespected at an establishment, don't shop there; shop somewhere else! I call this concept "not shop." Simply speaking, it's the proverbial double whammy. Not only does that retailer not get sales, but their competitors do. Want to go a step further? Organize and get others not to shop there either. It's a fact that the only thing retailers understand are sales, or a lack thereof. That's why I believe the best way to deal with this issue is to "not shop" and boycott the stores involved.
What makes this strategy even more effective is today's modern communication mediums: Internet, email, text, chat, and social websites (Facebook, My Space, You Tube, Twitter, Yahoo! 360) etc. In addition, there are a plethora of consumer advocate web sites such as Complaints.com, Consumer Affairs.com, and iRipoff.com that give you, the consumer, a powerful voice. So, the next time this happens to you, and history says it will, don't get mad, get activist!
How's that for the relevancy of the old school Civil Rights Movement? We have an old civil rights issue and an "old school" solution.
I want to hear from you.
Has this ever happened to you? Recently?
If so, what did you do? What would you do?
Is this still happening in this economy?