The Curious Case of Shopping While Black


Clutch magazine's Khadijah Red chronicles what she says was the eye-opening shopping experience of being targeted and treated disrespectfully by a detective who also happened to be African American.

My family and I walked around Burlington Coat Factory looking to return and exchange a few baby items. If you're like me, you like to circle around aisles more than once to make sure you've seen everything the store has to offer before making your final choice. I scooped up the starship fleece baby onesie that I was looking for and placed it on top of my stroller along with the other baby clothes  I wanted to return.

I then handed my items to Derrick as he approached the customer service cashier. As usual, Derrick forgot something. This time it was his receipt. However, with the use of his credit card, the cashier allowed Derrick to make a return and exchange. As I waited for Derrick with our son, I spotted a cute little Hispanic guy browsing through the women's section. "Hmm," I thought to myself, "he's probably shopping for his girlfriend. And damn is he short."

As Derrick and I made our way to the exit doors, we were stopped abruptly by undercover loss prevention detectives. That cute little Hispanic guy I was eyeing happened to be an undercover cop (Detective Perez*). He, along with another African-American male, Detective Harris*, escorted us to the back office in Burlington Coat Factory where we were questioned. All I could think of was that this was a big misunderstanding that could be resolved swiftly. I was wrong. Detective Harris questioned Derrick about his original missing receipt and asked him where the items were. It went downhill from there  …

Read Khadijah Red's entire piece at Clutch magazine.

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