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Victoria’s Secret Is That She’s Racist

On Friday, December 19, two Black Victoria Secret shoppers faced a nightmare straight from a 1960’s film. After a third Black woman allegedly attempted to shoplift from the lingerie superstore, the manager of the outlet in Alabama ordered the other two Black shoppers to leave. Simply because their skin tone matched that of the accused, the two women had to drop everything and leave even though they had done nothing wrong and had no further relation to the shop-lifter other than the color of their skin.

“I never thought in a million years this would happen to me,” Kimberly Houzah said

In an emotional Facebook Livestream, one of the black women, Kimberly Houzah, documents her experience from the moment she was ordered to leave the premises to the inevitable moment in her car when the disheartening misfortune of racial discrimination finally hit her.

I’d like to believe that we are past the times of racial prejudice and “Whites Only” businesses but increasing evidence says otherwise as more and more people of color are stepping up to tell horror tales of bias in everyday life.

Although Victoria Secret promptly released a statement, vowing that they don’t tolerate the type of behavior that was shown and that they have terminated all involved employees, the damage has already been done. Once a person is introduced to that type of racial bias in a place where their dollar is supposed to be seen just as green as the next White person’s, they can’t just “shake it off.” Believe it or not, it’s hard to shake off the feeling that eyes are always watching you when you’re simply trying to buy a new bra or that one slip-up from a completely unrelated person can end your shopping experience.

“We can’t just punish everyone because of the actions of people in their race group; and quite frankly, there’s a lot worst things to blame a whole race for than petty crimes.”

When you are a person of color, you find yourself trying your hardest to pretend that the rest of the world does not perceive you any differently from your paler neighbor. But when people of color are exposed to this type of mistreatment, especially in such a well-known place, it can taint every other trip to the mall.

Everyone more or less knows the fashion industry’s phobia of models of color, and Victoria Secret is not immune to this lack of color on their runway. Even at this year’s fashion show, while there was a noticeable amount of non-White models, the lingerie chain store still has a long way to go. It’s even more discouraging to see, that in some cases, this phobia of those with a little more melanin can spread beyond the runway and to a point where it robs those from their right to equal treatment in a department store.

We can’t just punish everyone because of the actions of people in their race group. That’s exactly the type of behavior that encourages the toxic relationships that we read about in history books. And quite frankly, there’s a lot worst things to blame a whole race for than petty crimes (hint, hint).  Although it may feel good at times to wrong those who have wronged you, blame-shifting is an elementary behavior, and a grown woman, especially one in the retail agency, should know better.

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