Past Event

Shopping While Black

From “New York attorney general investigates Barneys and Macy’s racism claims” by Dominic Rushe 


New York’s attorney general is investigating allegations of racism at Macy’s and Barneys, two of New York’s most famous department stores. The growing controversy has dragged in rap mogul Jay Z and already triggered several lawsuits….Last week Barneys and the New York police department were served with a lawsuit brought by Trayon Christian, a 19-year-old college student from Queens. Christian was arrested at the luxury department store in April after buying a $350 Salvatore Ferragamo belt. After the purchase, Christian was stopped by undercover officers who were allegedly called in by a Barneys sales clerk who believed the transaction was fraudulent. According to the lawsuit filed in Manhattan supreme court, the student was asked “how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt.”

Questions For Consideration:
Why is it problematic that a young black man was arrested for purchasing an expensive belt? How prevalent is retail discrimination? What kind of response do you think should be taken by the department store? Where did you learn about this incident and what kind of coverage did it get in the media?


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