News & Politics

Walmart Sued for Racial Discrimination Over Locked-Up Beauty Items

REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo - RTSLSGL

It’s annoying to go to the store to buy grooming products you need, only to find them hidden away behind lock and key. In our world of box stores lacking customer service, it’s a major pain to have to track someone down to unlock the case so you can get some razor blades or whatever.

But most of us don’t go the route of Essie Grundy. She filed a racial discrimination suit against Walmart because the retail giant had locked away products for African-American hair.

“I originally got the product from the Walmart in Riverside … and it was such a good product, I wanted to introduce it to my older children,” Grundy told CBS Los Angeles. “They didn’t have any more at the original Walmart that I got it from, so I went to my neighborhood one, and that’s when I noticed all of the African-American products was locked up under lock and key.”

According to The Daily Caller, Grundy noted that “we have different textured hair than other people” and that she shouldn’t be treated differently because of her skin color.

That’s a sentiment I can agree with.

However, is that what happened here?

Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson addressed the issue: “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,” said the spokesman. “Those determinations are made on a store-by-store basis using data supporting the need for heightened measures.”

In other words, items that are most likely to be stolen are locked up. In this case, there are a number of reasons why these items pertaining to black grooming may have been more likely to be stolen. For example, if the store is in an area with a higher black population, the popularity of the product alone raises the odds that bad actors will be among those looking for it.

Unfortunately, Grundy didn’t care about that. She immediately jumped to racism as the reason — and that’s not even close to a fair jump to make.

But such knee-jerk reactions are typical for this period in American history.