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Pet Sins August 2001

Black customer Id'd for using credit card while Asian customer not Id'd

Earlier this year, a black woman and an Asian woman shopped at Linens & Things. When they paid for their purchases separately, the African American who was first in line produced her VISA credit card. The cashier (white) asked her to show her ID, which she did. When the Asian came up next in line and used her VISA credit card to pay for her purchases, she was NOT asked to produce her ID.

As much as we would like to withhold judgment and think that this incident had nothing to do with race, this particular incident fits the profile of current race relations: European Americans perceive Asian Americans as 'safer' than African Americans. Such perceptions are grounded in the widespread stereotypes of the goody-two-shoes submissive Oriental and the criminal, thieving Black.

The black woman was disturbed by the incident, stating that the cashier did not even be bothered to mask her discriminatory treatment of customers by at least asking for the Asian's ID. "How can she think I will not notice when you are right behind me?" she said to the Asian.

Someone wrote to the manager of the local store to complain. After 9 days of not hearing from the local store, another letter was sent to the corporate HQ in New Jersey. Many days later, a letter of 'apology' arrived from the HQ, accompanied by a gift certificate for ... 5 dollars!!! The letter did not concede to any act of racism or other bias, only stating, "clearly we have not served you well enough". The HQ representative claimed in the letter to have contacted the local store to address the situation.


Comment from 'CN'
What the store representative said is bs because the stores actually train people to do that. When my friend was working in some department store in San Francisco, they trained staff to follow the young black people around.

Comment from 'BW'
$5 is totally insulting. If it was a white person, they would have sent more than a hundred dollars. They've actually passed legislation against ID'ing credit card users in California because stores were only carding black people. Actually I have no problem with being carded. In fact, I prefer if cashiers ask for my ID because it protects me. But it has to be done across the board. Everyone should be carded. Or not carded.