Implicit bias reared its head in Iowa this week when a young man was racially profiled at an Old Navy store.
Shared Tuesday (Jan. 30), James Conley III claimed employees at the West Des Monies store accused him of stealing an Old Navy jacket he wore into the store. Conley was purchasing clothing when a manager by the name of Beau Carter stated he needed to pay for the jacket he was wearing. After explaining he got the jacket for Christmas, he was forced to remove it.
“He says, ‘anytime someone wears Old Navy clothing they have to always scan that customers clothing to insure that it was previously purchased,'” he captioned a portion of the video. “Every time I go to this store I have on my same exact winter blue jacket and have never been asked to scan my clothing and the previous ‘non-black’ customers had on identical apparel as me from Old Navy, but was never asked to scan their clothing.”
After berating him about paying for the jacket and looking up the item’s SKU number, the young man suggested management review the surveillance footage. After it was revealed that he was telling the truth, the employees gave him his jacket back without an apology.
“I made her check the surveillance tape to prove that her and her fellow employees were in the wrong for racially profiling me because of the color of my skin,” he said.
Customers and those supporting Conley have helped spread the video on social media, bringing it to Old Navy’s attention. A few of those posts have been labeled as “spam.”
The Des Moines Register reports Conley has sought legal representation regarding the incident. The Old Navy store has also temporarily closed their doors. Liz Nunan, spokeswoman for Old Navy, sent a statement about the company’s “zero means zero” policy about discrimination. “We are a company made up of diverse people — from all backgrounds and cultures,” Nunan wrote. “We encourage diversity in thought, celebrate diversity in each other and demand tolerance and inclusion, always.”
An investigation has been opened about the incident.