Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Dollarama and the Harm of Racial Profiling

Like most people today, my family and I are always looking for a good deal. On Sunday July 21, we got more than we bargained for at the Dollarama located at:

 5175 Victoria Ave, N.F. ON

In a down turned economy, the rate of loss from theft certainly goes up because people become desperate when their paychecks don't stretch far enough.  It is understandable to me why any major corporation would take loss prevention seriously, but not why they would then conclude that they had the right to racially profile someone.

A number of White people entered the store before my children and I but it was not until we did that the rent-a-cop went into action.  He aggressively stalked my boys as they made their way through the store, ignoring all of the other shoppers. I have since then wondered how many thefts occurred while he was aggressively stalking us through the store.  I made eye contact with the rent-a-cop p on several occasions as he stalked my children.  Finally, when we made it to the cashier, my patience had been exhausted and so I asked to speak to the manager.  When she presented herself, I asked that she inform her rent-a-cop that racial profiling is unacceptable.  She informed that it is his job to follow people through the store and that he follows all kinds of people.  I suggested that it was not accidental that he had chosen to aggressively fixate on the only Black people in the store.  When I looked up, I saw that the rent-a-cop was smirking at me. I yelled that this was not the least bit funny and a serious issue. I was absolutely enraged to see this privileged White male smirking and enjoying the show, as though his actions had caused my family no harm. Even though we knew that his job is about loss prevention, to stalk someone in a threatening manner is intimidating and my children were will aware of the power imbalance between them.  I again asserted that this was absolutely racist and that it was disgusting and the manager then asked me what I was going to do about it - thus reminding me that in this situation, despite being a customer, the colour of my skin had rendered me powerless. When I then made it clear that we were leaving and would not be returning, she responded with, "good" and that they didn't need our kind in there. As I left, I told the rent-a-cop that he was a racist piece of trash as he continued to smile. Not only were my complaints ignored, it's clear that we were thought to be the problem.