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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 201502 Find in a Library
Title: Racial Profiling by Store Clerks and Security Personnel in Retail Establishments: An Exploration of "Shopping While Black"
Journal: Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice  Volume:19  Issue:3  Dated:August 2003  Pages:345-364
Author(s): Shaun L. Gabbidon
Date Published: August 2003
Page Count: 20
Publisher: http://www.sagepub.com 
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses Shopping While Black (SWB)--the practice of racial profiling in retail settings.
Abstract: The practice of racial profiling touches on a number of criminological theories, such as labeling theory, conflict theory, and the colonial model. The labeling theory is the labeling people of color as criminals, a practice that is not new. Conflict theory centers on power differentials based on class and race. The colonial model views racial stratification and class stratification under capitalism as separate but related systems of oppression. Very few researchers have broached the subject of SWB. An analysis of legal case studies was conducted. The research revealed numerous false arrest cases pertaining to shoplifting in State courts dating to the early 1900's. Only within the past 30 years has there been any mention of race in State court cases related to the topic. Only in rare instances did the analysis reveal other minority groups being the victims of racial profiling. This rarity might provide the linkage between SWB and labeling theory. The instances in which the monetary status of minority shoppers was questioned fall in line with colonial theory. Blacks are not only labeled but there are also power structures within these establishments that see nothing wrong with treating minority groups in such a discriminatory manner. These same groups likely feel that African-Americans are out of place shopping in their establishments. It appears that minority plaintiffs have a hard time securing clear victories in SWB-related cases. This points to the conflict theory. There are standard forms of racial profiling in retail establishments, including mistaken identity, extra scrutiny while shopping, the requiring of additional identification for credit or check purchases, undue use of force, and the enactment of blanket policies of how to handle minorities. The best way to combat racial profiling in retail establishments is through education, legal remedies, and boycotts. 1 table, 36 references
Main Term(s): Black/African Americans; Racial discrimination
Index Term(s): Discrimination; Minorities; Minority overrepresentation; Police-minority relations; Race relations; Race-punishment relationship
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=201502

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