At a Target in Kalispell, MT, a Black woman claims she was “racially profiled” by a white clerk while trying to purchase items from the store’s Black History Month collection. She recorded her experience in hopes that customers would avoid buying from the retail giant’s collection and that its corporate office would intercede.
In a video posted to TikTok by Pamela Smith (@blackhomeeducators), she receives general information from Target employees as well as the names of the security and store manager. The store number was also provided. “When you are racially profiled while buying the Black History Collection at Target in Kalispell, Montana,” the text overlay reads. “Stop buying from Target. Find Black business owners.”
@blackhomeeducators @target don’t buy their Black History Collection. They need diversity training. Tag Target and Black Businesses that we can purchase from. #target #blm #blacklivesmatter #fyp #viralvideo #blackbusinessowner #blackhistorymonth #blackhistory ♬ original sound – Pamela Smith
Smith turns the camera and briefly scans the self-checkout register, where she held her items before purchasing. “This is the stuff, guys,” she says. “I came in here for Black History items and I was treated like I was stealing these items. Target, if you’re seeing this, corporate, you definitely need to do some training here in Kalispell, MT.”
A couple days after the video was posted, it had amassed more than 65,000 views and nearly 50,000 likes.
Smith decided to further explain the incident in another TikTok. “I had been seeing them online and we were traveling to that area because we live in a very rural area,” she said. “We don’t go to town much. So I went in to purchase the items, went to the self-checkout, and by the time I got up to the register, I was being harassed by a white clerk.”
She went on to explain that the clerk accused her of stealing. “She proceeded to go into my bag that I had already scanned items,” Smith said.
Smith noted that the clerk also tried to go through her purse. “So that’s when I told her, ‘Go get your manager. I’m being racially profiled right now. I’m the only Black person in this store in a predominantly white area,’” Smith said.
“What I’m saying, guys, is do not purchase the Black History collection or those items from Target,” Smith said. “We don’t have to buy their Black History collection because if they’re spending millions of dollars for Black creators, why aren’t they spending money to teach diversity to their staff? How are you gonna sell these items and have us come in the store and not even train your staff on diversity?
“I’m embarrassed, I’m hurt, I’m shook up,” she continued. “The white people in there thought it was funny.”
“This is definitely not the welcoming experience we strive for,” Target wrote in the comments. “We want everyone who shops at Target to feel respected every time they shop in our stores. Our team would like to connect with you and is committed to looking into this situation.”
The DailyDot received an emailed statement, in which a spokesperson for Target said the company reached out to Smith to “apologize directly.”