The Monday after Thanksgiving, I returned to Fifth Avenue and visited Gucci, Burberry, Prada and Tiffany & Co. Once again, not a single salesperson approached me. Although, I wasn’t nonexistent as I was in the Ralph Lauren store. In each store, there were steady eyes that not so subtly tracked me. The Macy’s sales associate informed that those stares belonged to the store’s undercover police. Apparently, those detectives––DTs as they’re affectionately called––don’t limit their duties to just “looking for certain people.”
“They have a quota,” he said. “They have to get a certain amount of people. Even if it’s not arrests, they’ll have somebody that they might be questioning.”
Is it a daily or a weekly quota?
I think it’s weekly.
What happens if they don’t fill it?
They get demoted or something like that.
Do they really pull someone over for the sake of filling a quota?
Yeah. For sure.
Before going back to his post, the Macy’s employee reveals that the ethnicity with the stickiest fingers at his flagship is, in fact, not African-Americans.
“The Asians,” he says. “They steal and counterfeit. So storewide, I think there is a bit of racial profiling.”
After my final exploration to Manhattan’s high-end strip, I spent the succeeding days interrogating myself on what I had discovered. I set out to endure the emotional, psychological and racial struggle that is SWB, expecting a similar experience to Trayon Christian, Kayla Phillips, Rob Brown and Halim Sharif’s to no avail. Racial profiling is currently too hot of a button for a salesperson making upwards of $80K to touch in this economy. So they don’t press. They don’t hover. They don’t acknowledge. They barely look our way. That’s what security gets paid for anyway. Thus, the disenfranchised remain unseen. So what I learned is this new attention on unjust shopping will make customer service worse for blacks before it gets better. When the white establishment can’t harass and profile us for thieving or carrying firearms, they do the opposite; they do what Ralph Ellison wrote about more than 60 years ago: they deny us “of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids.” They make brown America invisible.