Looks like Barneys and Macy’s are doing exactly what they want African-Americans to do: Not show up.
In New York, 17 chief retail stores are being given this Friday as a deadline to provide information with regard to their handling of shoppers they suspect are stealing.
On Wednesday, the City Council at a hearing received statements form Macy’s and Barneys New York, which deny singling out customers and following them, as the allegations suggest.
However, representatives of the two major companies failed to appear.
Councilman Jumaane Williams called the entire situation “staggering,” as reported by the Huffington Post.
“I’m offended that Barneys New York and Macy’s is not here. I think it’s insulting, not just to the City Council, but to the City of New York and the people who shop there,” Williams said.
Perhaps the two mega stores realized they needed to do more in order to make their point clear.
According to the Huffington Post, Macy’s and Barneys are part of the 17 retailers, the NYC Commission on Human Rights sent letters to, requesting loss prevention policies; procedures for approaching and detaining individuals suspected of theft; records regarding all individuals accused of theft in the past two years; and what, if any presence, NYPD officers have in the retail locations.
The remaining stores on the list, include Century 21, Loehmann’s, Sephora, Target, Bloomingdales, Bergdorf Goodman, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Sears, Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, The Gap, CVS, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys, Macys, Bath & Body Works/Limited Brands/Victoria’s Secret.
Though Barneys CEO Mark Lee has apologized for certain accusations of profiling, saying “No one should go through the unacceptable experiences…,” on Tuesday, the company issued a report denying any wrongdoing. The report reads that the company is not only clear of initiating any profiling, but they also did not call police.
Actor Robert Brown recently filed a lawsuit against Macy’s, alleging he was stopped after purchasing a $1,350 Movado wristwatch. He believes to have been profiled because of the color of his skin.
The Rev. Al Sharpton and Donna Lieberman of the New York Civil Liberties Union, both testified at Wednesday’s hearing.
Lieberman explained, “It’s important that we hear from both the department stores and the police department what on earth is going on when people of color go shopping and end up in handcuffs.”
To complete the trifecta of no-shows, no representation for the New York Police Department was at the hearing either.
While all of this is going on, rapper Jay-Z is steady promoting a Barneys clothing line. He claims to be working with the retailer on the problem of racial profiling. The party to launch the rapper’s collection, scheduled for Wednesday, was cancelled.
Barry is a scholar, who enjoys writing, arithmetic and politics. Reach him @ Barryburchjr@gmail.com