Photos of store shelves that show hair care products targeted to black customers — and kept behind glass — has prompted significant debate on the store’s policy, which many consider to be racist.
A Twitter user shared two photos side-by-side of hair care products at an unnamed retail store, one of which shows open shelves displaying shampoo and conditioners, while the other shows rows of hair care products that appear to be targeted to black customers — and the latter products are locked up behind a protective barrier.
“It’s more than just the police,” the tweet’s caption reads, referring to the recent Black Lives Matter protests decrying racist police tactics sparked by the death of George Floyd while in police custody.
The tweet has received more than 603,000 likes and nearly 200,000 shares as of Wednesday afternoon, two days after it was posted on the social media platform.
Many people were outraged by the setup, claiming the disparity in product display was part of implicit racial bias.
However, some did defend the tactic, claiming it was based on numbers and not race-related.
Many others shared photos claiming to show racist policies on other items such as makeup and hair dyes that are targeted, specifically, at black men and women.
This issue has been called out before. In 2018, Walmart was sued by a woman for placing beauty items for African-Americans behind a glass case, while other, sometimes more expensive products were placed on open shelving.
“It perpetuates a racial stereotype that African-Americans are thieves,” Essie Grundy’s lawyer, Gloria Allred, stated at the time.
Grundy also said that employees told her she needed to be brought to the register by an employee if she wanted to purchase anything, and was not allowed to touch the product prior to buying it.