Don’t worry, Oprah. I’m pretty sure that Hermes Paris won’t let me shop after hours, either. And I’m as white as a fish belly.
I do take comfort in knowing that others have found ingenious ways of thwarting this potential racism:
Emil Wilbekin, former editor of Vibe magazine, said it’s not uncommon for black celebrities to receive poor treatment at high-end stores, where there are virtually no minorities in top positions. Sean “P. Diddy” Combs has devised a tactic to avoid poor treatment, he said.
“Puffy sends his people ahead to stores and shuts them down so he can shop privately, so this kind of thing doesn’t happen,” Wilbekin said. “I’ve worked with young people who wanted to be stylists and work in fashion and they’ve never gone into a high-end boutique … because they were afraid. They didn’t think they were allowed. What flashes in my mind are images of water fountains that say ‘whites only.’”
That’s EXACTLY the image I had in mind when I think of multi-millionaire black shoppers being turned away from high-priced boutiques for late night shopping. I did hear, though, that it is impossible for a black person to get a tuna fish sandwich from Hermes’ lunch counter.