Walmart announced Wednesday that it will no longer place “multicultural” hair products behind locked cases in another sign of the changing of the times.
Walmart and many other companies have long been criticized for placing products that serve the Black community behind locked cases when whites do not have that kind of barrier when shopping.
On Wednesday, Walmart announced they would rescind the policy. They said that locked cabinets were their practice only “in about a dozen” of their 4,700 U.S. stores. The company explained the change on social media, apologizing to those who called out the disparate treatment.
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.
— Walmart (@Walmart) June 10, 2020
Walmart reached out directly to CBS Denver reporter Tori Mason after she reported about customers believing that that white privilege extended to something as simple as hair care products.
— Tori Mason (@ToriMasonTV) June 10, 2020
Walmart shopper Judah Bell said the process of shopping was often a humiliating experience.
“This Walmart is in the heart of Montbello. There are Black and brown people all over the place. The message is clear: We don’t trust you,” Bell said.
Bell often has to drive 11 minutes to a more affluent area of town where the cases are not locked. They generally are in urban areas.
“In my neighborhood Walmart, you have to go find somebody and then if they don’t have the key, they have to find somebody, so you’re just standing there waiting, sometimes for as long as 10 to 15 minutes,” Bell said.
Walmart spokesman Lorenzo Lopez told NBC News that company is “sensitive” to the issues being raised. Lopez said a course correction would be implemented immediately.
“As a retailer serving millions of customers every day from diverse backgrounds, Walmart does not tolerate discrimination of any kind. Like other retailers, the cases were put in place to deter shoplifters from some products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics and other personal care products,” Lopez said.
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