Next time you go to Walmart, you won’t have to wait for a store associate to come open the anti-theft cabinet where they keep the products for multicultural hair a.k.a Black hair. The retail juggernaut announced they will do away with the store policy after several (heavy on the several) Black customers says its discriminatory — which is it. Walmart’s swift reaction could be a response to added pressure on beauty brands to face racial disparities unfer the #pulluporshutup movement.
Walmart was most-recently called out by a shopper Jesus A. Rodriguez, who posted a photo on Twitter of the locked down section of the store with the caption, “It’s more than just the police.”
Walmart’s Twitter account quickly responded “Jesús, we’re sensitive to the issue and understand your concerns. We have made the decision to discontinue placing multicultural hair care and beauty products in locked cases. This practice was recently in about a dozen of our 4,700 stores nationwide.”
A Colorado woman recently went to purchase a hair scarf from her local Walmart, where she found all the products that fit her hair behind glass.
“If I want Suave or Tresumme or Pantene, it’s out. The multi-cultural hair care is all locked behind the glass. That’s so ridiculous,” Lauren Epps told CBS Denver.
“I’m the kind of shopper who needs to look at things, read things. It’s awkward because you’re forced in the moment to grab it,” she continued. “People don’t realize what we have to go through on a daily basis.”
She added,“I’m not going to be shamed into thinking I’m a criminal for just wanting to get a scarf. This is very blatant because the heading above that aisle says ‘Multicultural Hair Care.’ They are saying that people, who are a different culture, need their stuff to be locked up.”
While the proper term may be “multicultural,” Black women are majority consumers of natural hair products.
In a statement to CBS4, a Walmart spokesperson denied being discriminatory against any race of customer.
“We serve more than 140 million customers weekly, crossing all demographics, and are focused on meeting their needs while providing the best shopping experience at each store. We’re sensitive to this situation and also understand, like other retailers, that some products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics and other personal care products are subject to additional security. Those determinations are made on a store-by-store basis.”
The conversation picked up on Twitter, leading to this woman schooling an oblivious shopper about the undertone of racism in the decision to lock away Black products.
Walmart is moving in the right direction with this decision. They recently announced a social media campaign to highlight their Black employees experiences and voices.
They also committed $100 million to the fight against racial inequality.