Well, this is all sorts of fucked up. “Django Unchained” actress Daniele Watts, who is Black, claims she was “handcuffed and detained” by Los Angeles police last week, after she was approached and asked to show ID because she was kissing her husband, who is white, in public. Watts posted the following on her Facebook page:
Today I was handcuffed and detained by 2 police officers from the Studio City Police Department after refusing to agree that I had done something wrong by showing affection, fully clothed, in a public place.
When the officer arrived, I was standing on the sidewalk by a tree. I was talking to my father on my cell phone. I knew that I had done nothing wrong, that I wasn’t harming anyone, so I walked away.
A few minutes later, I was still talking to my dad when 2 different police officers accosted me and forced me into handcuffs.
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The New York Attorney General’s office announced this week it has found “loss prevention officers” at Macy’s department store to have followed Black and Latino customers more often than white patrons. In response to these findings, Macy’s has agreed to a pay a $650,000 settlement, hire an independent monitor, and release an anti-racial profiling memorandum to employees, among other responses. (It is perhaps too soon to say “reforms.”)
This fall, both Macy’s at Herald Square and the upscale department store Barney’s in New York City drew attention after several Black customers were detained by police and accused of stealing items which they had rightfully purchased. Macy’s most high-profile incident was actor Robert Brown from the TV show “Treme” and the movie “Finding Forrester,” who was detained after making an expensive purchase at the store, then frisked, accused of holding fake ID, and told he didn’t have enough money to buy the pricey item. Keep reading »
Last year, the upscale department store Barneys in New York City was hit with several accusations that it engages in racial profiling of its customers. On Friday, following a nine-month-long investigation by the New York State Attorney General’s civil rights decision, Barneys admitted it discriminated against Black and Hispanic shoppers. In addition to a settlement, the store is hiring an anti-racial profiling consultant and adopting an anti-profiling policy. Keep reading »
The seemingly innocuous topic of Jay Z’s limited edition holiday collection in collaboration with Barneys turned rife with controversy in the past few weeks after the upscale NYC department store was accused of two separate racial profiling incidents in the last month alone. Everyone from Jon Stewart to Andre Leon Talley criticized the hip-hop mogul’s decision to go forth with the high-profile partnership, even after he announced that 100 percent of the proceeds from the collection would go to his Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation for low-income students. Keep reading »
Jay Z is doing everything he can to hold onto his potentially highly lucrative collaboration with Barney’s, even after the hoity-toity department store came under fire for two racial profiling incidents in the last month. Many has encouraged Jay Z to bow out of the deal, including Vogue‘s Andre Leon Talley, who told The New York Times, “Any African-American, male or female, with any consciousness of what has happened would not go into Barneys right now … for the simplicity of making a broad statement I would pull out.” But Jay isn’t budging. Instead, he and Barney’s announced that 100 percent of the proceeds from the BNY SCC collection will go to the rapper’s Shawn Carter Foundation, instead of the original 25 percent. Also, on launch day, an additional 10 percent of the proceeds store-wide will also be donated. And, to directly address the store’s terrible recent history of racially profiling and detaining Black youths who the store assumes can’t pay for their high-end goods, Jay will sit on a special committee to “deal” with the issue. Wrote Jay on his website:
While I await the findings of the Attorney General’s office, I have agreed to move forward with the launch of BNY SCC collection under the condition that I have a leadership role and seat on a council specifically convened to deal with the issue of racial profiling. I am in a unique position to use my voice to affect change to this disturbing issue. The easy position would have been to walk away and leave policy making to others hoping that someone addresses the problem. I will not leave the outcome to others. I will take this into my own hands with full power to recommend, review and revise policies and guidelines moving forward. I am choosing to take this head on.
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Perhaps there will be justice for Renisha McBride after all. Detroit prosecutors have officially decided to charge Theodore P. Wafer, 54 (above left), with second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of 19-year-old McBride. The young women knocked on Wafer’s door the evening of November 2nd, likely looking for help after she allegedly got in a car wreck neary. Wafer claimed that he thought McBride, who is Black, was an intruder, and shot her in the face as she stood on his front porch. Wafer is also charged with possession of a firearm during the attempted commission of a felony or commission of a felony. Prosecutors say there was not enough evidence to back up Wafer’s claim of self-defense. [AP]