An End to Product Profiling? Walmart Will No Longer Keep Multicultural Beauty Brands Under Lock and Key

Illustration for article titled An End to Product Profiling? Walmart Will No Longer Keep Multicultural Beauty Brands Under Lock and Key
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Racial profiling is an issue that remains unreconciled in our country, but we’ll reportedly be seeing less of it in Walmart’s beauty aisle, as the company has announced it will no longer keep “multicultural hair care and beauty products” in locked cases in any of its stores.


As reported by NBC News:

The practice, which Walmart says was only in place “in about a dozen” of its 4,700 U.S. stores, has received criticism for the implication that the customers who buy these products, largely people of color, can’t be trusted. The cases must be unlocked by a store associate, and the products are usually then taken to the front of the store for purchase.

NBC credits Emmy-winning CBS Denver reporter Tori Mason with breaking the story, and perhaps Mason also deserves credit for helping compel the change, as well. Despite previous complaints and coverage about what one customer described as a “humiliating” scenario (including here at The Glow Up), Walmart disclosed the decision to Mason in response to her report on the issue.

Obviously, Walmart isn’t the only store guilty of race-related product lockdowns. NBC also reached out to Walgreens and CVS, but neither commented on their story.

Walmart spokesman Lorenzo Lopez told NBC News that the company is “sensitive to the issue and understands the concerns” and would be implementing the change in policy


“As a retailer serving millions of customers every day from diverse backgrounds, Walmart does not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” Walmart spokesman Lorenzo Lopez told NBC News, saying the change would be implemented “as soon as possible,” before adding: “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.”

NBC points out that despite Lopez’s claim, only products targeted to the multicultural (read: non-white) market had been kept in cases, as does customer Judah Bell, who was interviewed for Mason’s story.


“It’s hard for a customer to dispute that but predominantly African American people are buying those products, so the assumption is we’re thieves,” said Bell. “I try not to shop anywhere where I’m assumed to be a thief.”

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?


Textured Soy Protein

I’m a bald white guy so not exactly much of a consumer of hair products, but I noticed one time at Target that they refer to this section as “textured hair care.” Definitely not kept under lock & key, at least not at any of the stores in my bougie corner of the DC suburbs.