Walmart Will No Longer Be Locking Up “Multicultural” Hair Products
After being called out several times for its discriminatory practices.
Walmart has announced that it will no longer be locking up hair products aimed at Black shoppers. The announcement comes following mounting pressure on all retailers to address systemic racism, and accusations against Walmart specifically of perpetuating racial prejudice.
On Tuesday, CSB4’s Tori Mason shared a video on social media that was originally posted as an Instagram story by Walmart shopper Lauren Epps. In the video, Epps states that white privilege extends to hair-care products at her local Walmart in Montbello, Colorado, and compares the ways in which hair products are displayed at the store. Epps says in the video, “Over here, if I want Suave or Tresemmé or Pantene, it's out. But apparently, the multicultural hair care is all locked behind the glass ‘cause I bet you think we’re just gonna run up in here and steal it. That's so ridiculous.”
“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.”— Tori Mason (@ToriMasonTV) June 8, 2020
A customer says the retailer is discriminating against people of color, locking only multicultural products behind glass. @CBSDenver @ 5 pic.twitter.com/9bgI4X0pCb
This isn’t the first time Walmart has been called out for differential treatment of products aimed at Black customers. The topic has been raised on social media by other customers in the past, and in a discrimination lawsuit that was dropped last year, plaintiffs argued that the practice of locking black products in security cases implied that Black people were more likely to shoplift.
Announcing an end to the practice of locking up Black hair products on Wednesday, Walmart said in a statement, “We're sensitive to the issue and understand the concerns raised by our customers and members of the community and have made the decision to discontinue placing multicultural hair care and beauty products — a practice in place in about a dozen of our 4,700 stores nationwide — in locked cases.”
The news comes during a period of time in which many retailers are making vital changes to their policies in response to global protests against police brutality and systemic racism. On Wednesday, Sephora announced that it will be committing to the 15% pledge and other major retailers are likely to follow suit in the coming days.