Things That Matter

Former Anthropologie Employees Accuse The Store Of Having ‘Code Words’ To Identify And Track Black Shoppers

The fashion industry has long faced accusations of racism and discriminatory practices. Retail is no different. And now, one popular retailer is facing the consequences of racist policies that victimized Black shoppers.

Earlier this week, Diet Prada, an Instagram account known for calling out bad or discriminatory practices within the fashion industry, reported that multiple employees from stores across the U.S. and Canada said they were told to watch Black shoppers and that the codename “Nick” was used.

Anthropologie is the latest fashion retailer facing allegations of racial discrimination.

Anthropologie was one of countless brands to share Black Lives Matter posts at the beginning of June — in solidarity with the growing movement in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. However, the iconic retailer was also one of several to get called out for hypocrisy in the comments, with both current and former employees revealing the nickname given to Black customers for the purpose of racial profiling.

From Free People to Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, several retailers have missed the mark when it comes to actually showing that they care.

Across social media, previous employees have come forward to accuse the brand of racial profiling, using a code name for shoppers, and lacking diversity in hiring.

Those who worked at stores across several US states and Canada confirmed that they were told to watch people of color closely, and would refer to them as ‘Nicks’ to other employees

“Anthro’s culture needs to be seriously reformed,” wrote one user, who said the brand’s company culture was a systemic issue. “The ‘Nick’ codeword for Black shoppers that has been corroborated by unrelated former employees? Come on.”

But allegations of racist practices and “whitewashing” continued, with people accusing Anthropologie of culturally appropriating products and predominantly hiring white employees.

Another day, another boho Karen retailer showing their true shades of beige,’ the account wrote.

One of the most damning comments came from @flleurdeblooms, who wrote: ‘How are you going to stop racially profiling your “Nicks”? I worked at Anthropologie and the racial profiling was sickening. So many times the management told us to watch people of color over the headsets and I refused to follow around most black people who were just minding their own damn business and respectfully shopping. Please change.’

Customers have also come forward to corroborate the instances of racism they experienced inside Anthropologie stores.

For many Black shoppers, the now viral comments only confirmed what they had experienced as a shopper for years.

One customer wrote: “I’ve been followed in your stores before. The last straw was 4/2/2019 – that was my birthday. I couldn’t reconcile giving my money to an employee who never greeted me yet followed me on my birthday. I haven’t been back since.’

More commenters replied to say that they, too, had similar experiences. 

‘I was followed by one of your sales associates in your Harbor East Baltimore store fro no reason,’ said one. ‘The sales associate told me that her managers told her to do so!’

Anthropologie has issued an official response on Instagram to allegations of racial discrimination.

Credit: Anthropologie / Instagram

Anthropologie and their parent company Urban Outfitters denied their former employees claims despite accusations coming out of California, Chicago, Seattle, NYC, and their Canada stores. However, the brand made a statement promising to “continue to educate our teams in pursuit of a culture said better values and respects this diversity” with anti-discrimination training.

“You may have seen that we have been challenged to be more transparent, unbiased, and fair in our stores and with our business practices,” the statement began. It went on to say the company didn’t have a code word and had a zero-tolerance policy for racial profiling but was learning how to combat racism. “We are committed to doing better — to be being better,” it said.

Previously, the brand responded to the controversy with a post promising to stand with and support the Black community, including donating $100,000 to the United Negro College Fund and a commitment to diversifying its workforce.

All of this came after a rather vague and uncommitted response to the #BLM movement. On June 1st, the brand published a Maya Angelou quote to its Instagram feed and stressed that people were “equal in value no matter their color,” but followers expressed unhappiness for what they deemed a vague response that didn’t specifically address the Black Lives Matter movement.

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An Abuelo Got A Hurtful Note From Bad Neighbors About His Decorations And Latino Twitter Came Into Comfort Him

Things That Matter

An Abuelo Got A Hurtful Note From Bad Neighbors About His Decorations And Latino Twitter Came Into Comfort Him

@goldenstef / Twitter

We are rarely more defensive than we are for our abuelos. The viejitos have always been there for us and seeing them treated unkindly is just heartbreaking. That is what one Twitter user experienced after her abuelo got a wretched note about his decorations outside his home.

This is the horrid letter left for @goldenstef’s abuelo by undesirable neighbors.

The letter, which is filled with misspelled words, calls the abuelo’s house an example of a “low class Mexican family.” The letter was written anonymously by neighbors and delivered to the abuelo in an attempt to shame him into changing his decorations. One of the most bizarre moments in the letter is when the angry author criticized the homeowner for having too many American flags claiming he isn’t patriotic and can’t fool the neighbors. Like, which one is it people?

The Twitter user followed up with photos of the house to show the decorations their abuelo has out front.

People flooded the Twitter post with comments supporting and sending love to the abuelo. Fellow Latinos are ready to stand with the abuelo and some just want the names of the people behind the letter so they can talk to them. Some people are stunned at how far the author was willing to go out of their way to be mean to an old man who just wants to decorate his home and front yard.

Latino Twitter wants to come together to let the abuelo know that his decorations are adorbs.

We need to come together to give her abuelo all of the wonderful decoration we love. Let’s turn his house and front yard into a showcase of all of the greatness that Latin America has to offer.

People are falling in love with this viejitos yard.

Honestly, this is a great yard. Who wouldn’t want a yard like this? This yard is original and adorable and worth all of the praise that we can muster. Thank you to people like this for making their yards something unique and worth seeing.

@goldenstef wants everyone to know just how much they appreciate the sweet messages about their abuelo’s yard.

It costs nothing to be kind. It is even better when you can be kind about something someone clearly cares so much about. Who cares if someone decorates their lawn a little too much. At least they are having fun with their lives and that is something we all need more of right now.

READ: Latinas Are Sharing Their Most Treasured Memories Of Their Abuelos And It’s Exactly What We Needed This Month

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Michelle Obama Recalled A Moment When Chicago Cops Accused Her Brother Of Stealing His Own Bike When He Was Just 10

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Michelle Obama Recalled A Moment When Chicago Cops Accused Her Brother Of Stealing His Own Bike When He Was Just 10

Paul Morigi / Getty

As most Black families in the United States know, growing up as a Black person is seen as a great threat in and of itself.

In a country where the rate of fatal police shootings among Black Americans is higher than that for any other ethnicity, it’s no wonder that this is true. Or, why learning to handle the police while Black is a lesson taught so prominently beneath the roofs of Black households.

In a recent episode of her podcast, Michelle Obama revealed that she and her brother Craig Robinson learned this lesson years ago in a confrontation with the police.

Speaking with her brother in her podcast, Obama recalled the day Robinson was accused of stealing his own bike.

Speaking with her brother, a former basketball coach, and her mother Marian Robinson about childhood and parenting, Obama brought up a moment in which Craig was stopped by a couple of police officers while riding his bike.

At the time, Robinson was about 10 or 11 years old and had been gifted the yellow ten-speed Goldblatt by his parents. While riding the bike, a police officer grabbed hold of it and refused to let go despite Craig’s pleas and protests that the bike was his.

“I was like ‘Oh, you got this all wrong, this is my bike. Don’t worry, this isn’t a stolen bike,’ and [the cop] would not believe me, and I was absolutely heartbroken. And I finally said to him, ‘Listen, you can take me to my house, and I will prove to you, this is my bike,” Robinson recalled.

Fortunately, Obama’s mother was home at the time and ushered Craig inside of the house, while she dealt with the police. As her son recalls, “she had that tight lip” as she confronted the officers who had accused her son of stealing his own bike.

Robinson revealed that she discovered the officers were friends with the people who had made the complaint about Craig stealing the bicycle and demanded they come to her house so that they could “admit [they] made a serious mistake.”

Robinson described the experience as a “heartbreaking” one at various times throughout the interview.

“I could tell [the cops] were trying to ask me questions that would trip me up,” he recalled. “If I wasn’t so sure that that bike was mine and showed any kind of reticence, I could see them taking me off to the police station, not calling mom until after I’ve been, you know, booked or whatever they do.”

At one point, Obama remarked that the story is particularly familiar with ones being experienced across the country, even today. “Nobody thinks about, you know, the fact that we all come from good families that are trying to teach values, but when you leave the safety of your home and go out into the street, where being Black is, is a crime in and of itself, we have all had to learn how to operate outside of our homes with a level of caution, and fear, because you never know,” she recalled

Obama’s mother also described the experience as being “part of a culture” among police.

“Because those two policemen were Black. And they were acting exactly the same as any other policeman,” her mother remarked. “It’s almost like, this is what they thought they were, how they were thought they were supposed to act.”

All three family members noted how the incident is so familiar today. Despite the fact that decades have passed. “That’s the perfect example of what all of these young, Black people are dealing with now, because this was, almost fifty years ago?” Craig Robinson said.

Listen to the clip from the podcast here.

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