A humiliating racial profiling incident can happen anywhere—including your local gas station.
Last Thursday, Rachel Sherman reportedly pulled into to her local BP service station with her brother for a state vehicle inspection and was the target of racial profiling and a money scam.
According to WJLA, it all started with an suspicious change in pricing.
“My brother called me and said, ‘Well the guy is telling me it’s 100 dollars and it’s cash only.’ I said that didn’t sound right,” Sherman recalled.
Sherman said she’s accustomed to paying only $30 for the state inspection for her vehicle so she went to speak with the gas station attendant. She received the same answer about the pricing.
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“And as I turned to walk away, his exact words to me were ‘And we usually charge n****** more,’” Sherman said.
That’s when she decided to do something about the incident.
Sherman took to her Facebook to post a video about the experience that she said left her feeling like she had been “stabbed in the chest.” The video has already been viewed over half a million times.
The station responds
After learning of Sherman’s experience with racial profiling the local BP owner confirmed to ABC7 News that the employee responsible for the racist incident was fired. The news station also reported that both he and another man apologized directly to Sherman.
But Sherman said she and her fellow community members are not done yet and have called for a boycott of the business for racial profiling.
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“My biggest hope was to send a message to not only this gas station but to other businesses in this community that don’t value us, any minority or any customer,” said Sherman. “We want to see that they want to be a part of this community and that they value the customers here. I’m not sure how they can do that from a business standpoint but we need to see more progress.”
Racist business practices under fire
In recent weeks several business have come under fire for racially profiling African-American patrons.
Three Applebee’s employees in Independence, MO have been fired following the release of footage that showed several staffers racially profiling Black customers. The short video clip has been viewed more than 2 million times online and has over 25,000 comments.
Alexis Brison posted a clip of the incident on Facebook along with a lengthy caption. It read it part:
“About an hour into our dinner we were approached by a [sic] Independence police officer, a mall cop, and the restaurant manager,” wrote Brison on Facebook. “We were told that we were accused of eating and not paying for CHICKEN the day before (dining and dashing). Mind you that we have proof that can show our whereabouts and it’s not even in our character to steal.”
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According to Brison, she and her dining companion were asked to pay for their food, leave, and not come back after being mocked and humiliated. Eventually a police officer escorted the two women out of the restaurant. The ladies can be heard yelling and crying off camera.
“Just because we are Black does not mean we are all criminals and I will not be treated as such,” stated Brison in her Facebook post.
Following the intense public response and calls for a boycott, Applebee’s issued a statement noting that the three employees involved in the incident have been fired.
“We recognize the hurt and pain caused by the recent incident at an Applebee’s restaurant in Independence, Mo. We very much regret this occurred and sincerely apologize to our guests and community. After an internal investigation and in-line with our values, the franchisee terminated the manager, server and another employee involved in the incident. We do not tolerate racism, bigotry or harassment of any nature, and we have taken additional steps to close the restaurant at this time in order for the team there to regroup, reflect, learn and grow from this. We are reaching out to the guests involved to apologize directly. We know rebuilding trust with those affected by the incident will take time, and we look forward to finding resolution in the coming days.”
Old Navy fired three Iowa employees after a story of racial profiling went viral.
James Conley III took to Facebook last week to describe how he walked into the Old Navy store wearing an Old Navy coat he received as a recent Christmas gift. The store manager saw the blue bubble coat and demanded that Conley allow the store to scan it and make sure the coat wasn’t stolen merchandise. Conley believes he was singled out because he is Black.
“The store manager Beau Carter was very unprofessional and stereotyped me because I am a Black male. He says ‘anytime someone wears Old Navy clothing they have to always scan that customer’s clothing to insure that it was previously purchased. (Where do they do that at?) 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. Then after they scan my jacket they try to make me repay for it??” he wrote.
His post, which also featured video footage he took during the incident, garnered more than 150,000 shares on Facebook.
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Old Navy apologized to Conley publicly in a Facebook post.
“The situation was a violation of our policies and values, and we apologize to both Mr. Conley and to those we’ve disappointed,” they wrote. “All of our customers deserve to be treated with respect.”
“We take this matter — and every conversation around equality — very seriously. Old Navy is committed to ensuring that our stores are an environment where everyone feels welcome,” they added.
Gap Inc., which owns Old Navy, has a customer bill of rights, which specifically prohibits racial profiling. According to the bill of rights, “profiling is an unacceptable practice and will not be tolerated.”