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Retailers pledge to address racial profiling, unfair treatment of store customers

May 18, 2022


The concept of “shopkeeper’s privilege,” which is codified in many state laws, has long granted retailers leeway in detaining customers they “reasonably” suspect of stealing.

The pervasiveness of racism in wider society means that leeway often translates to unfair treatment of shoppers who are Black, Indigenous and people of color, as discussed in Sephora’s study. The researchers found that 40% of store customers in the U.S. have experienced unfair treatment on the basis of their race or skin tone, and that BIPOC shoppers are three times more likely than white ones to feel judged by their appearance.

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