Racial Programming - My Perspective

Old Navy Employee Fired After Grabbing Black Woman Accusing Her of Shoplifting in Viral Video

I'd like to speak to this situation as someone who worked at The Gap for five years. I know from experience there is all this talk from mall security on down about who to watch out for, what "groups" to be aware of when they come into your store. You get programmed to racially profile, I know I was.

Let me tell you a story. One day while I was diligently watching the "hood looking" girls in the store I was told were going to steal from us, I happen to kneel down behind a table of pants in the front of the store to act like I was folding, well guess what I got a quick glimpse of? A tall blond white lady, dressed like a lawyer in grey slacks and a button down just as she scooped a pile of pants into her large fancy purse and walked straight out the door where her man was waiting for her. He was dressed in a suit! Right then I was like "Holy Shit! How do I not KNOW that is who robs us blind?" By the time I got the manager and they looked out the store, they were gone.

That day while discussing the incident with other employees they shared stories of moms with strollers loading up stuff then going home and selling it on the Internet and women coming in pairs having one distract the sales person while the other racks up and other similar stories. All were told with "..and these women didn't look like they would steal from you" or "You would never suspect these ladies" because we are programmed to believe it's the black girl, the black guy, the ones with the gold tooth and the weave so that is who we are always looking out for. That is why they are always the ones who are caught when it is them. Just like with drug sales and possession. When cops are mainly going to the hood, knowing they will find a guy selling weed to arrest but never going to all the suburban parties, football games, known places where white boys are selling Adrenal, Percocet and weed, of course it looks like black people sell more. It's programming. Hollywood has done it, for years drug dealers were always played by black guys, we do it as parents, cops do it. But if we are honest with ourselves the programming falls apart.

Right now my biggest struggle with my boys is a crazy racist white lady who's daughter runs in the same circles as Steele (And when I say crazy, I mean bat-shit) and then keeping him away from another kid who's mother gave Abel drugs, not just weed and offered Steele drugs. Her son sells drugs, got Abel selling drugs. And they are as white as white can get. The son looks so clean cut and "like such a good kid" but he's not. The mom has been to jail but when I called the police about her offering drugs to my children they didn't even charge her. Can you imagine if she had been a black lady dealing drugs, giving drugs to minors with a drug dealing son? Just think about that for a minute. These aren't hypothetical stories, this is my life. So I say all this because I want to challenge my white friends to second guess the programming.

That day back at the Gap I recalled all the times I had walked into a drug store and stolen make up for myself and even written down items my friends wanted me to steal for them and picked those up too. I remembered all the times I went into dress stores and walked out wearing complete outfits under my clothes. When I had my Come to Jesus at age 17 I stopped all that but in that moment, watching that 30 something professional woman just walk in, unsuspected and slide a STACK of pants into her bag, then walk out, I recalled all the white women I knew who had gotten away with that shit for years.

We are trained to suspect the poor looking black person so that's all we look at. Shoplifting for white women is sport 90% of the time. Ask around if you don't believe me. Think of how many white women you know that have stolen SO much shit! Think of the drug dealers YOU know, think of the violent people YOU know, the constantly lawbreaking people, immoral, wife abusing, cheating,  people YOU know, in reality they probably aren't who we are programmed to believe they are.


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