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1-SAMShopping While Black with money

By Sam Riddle
Special to the Michigan Citizen

In Tempe, Ariz. — a state with a dubious track record of fairness to people of color — a video cop-car-cam lets us witness as a Black female Arizona State University professor is slammed to the ground by police for jaywalking — and being uppity (my analysis).

In Grosse Pointe, Mich. — a state that is rapidly becoming Arizona — another Black female is aghast when a Talbots clerk suspects her of shoplifting, and subjects the former justice department lawyer now earning six figures in the bankrupt Detroit Law Department to treatment certainly not befitting her stature in the Motor City.

Shades of Barneys. Shopping While Black with money and still subjected to racial profiling.

“Damnit! Don’t you know who I am?”

“Shut up. Do what I say. I know what you are.”

Your academic credentials, professional bearing, lofty social standing and sex mean nothing to white folk asserting white privilege. You are a Black thing to them not a human being. Accordingly, they treat you in an inhumane fashion. That alone should be a basis for unity not the class divide so pervasive throughout Black America today.

Shopping While Black with money quasi-celebrity victims engender numerous hits on social media and “victims” will appear on Sunday talk shows with media apologists for democracy-destroying union-busters. Be clear. This racist retail therapy crucifixion is not a Rosa Parks moment.

“I can’t believe they searched HER bag?” But you expected the bags of everyday Black folk to be searched and worse. Why? Are some Black folk deemed to be the ones whose bags we expect to be searched, while others we expect will not be profiled and searched?

White privilege sees one people, one race, one problem. In Black America, if we truly saw one people, we could breathe life into that fist on Jefferson in Detroit.

The class divide within our community is another of those big elephants we see not and will not discuss with any frequency. The Black underclass is simply neglected by many Blacks with money, and that will not change anytime soon.

Shopping While Black you quickly discover Talbots of Grosse Pointe is a no-fly zone, but you couldn’t call ahead to get racist permission to land. Trick Trick is a gentleman when you think about it.

Do the college professor and lawyer deserve the support of the grassroots underclass of Black America? For sure, but I know the majority of folk walking picket lines and upsetting the stability of institutions will be from the underclass not upper class of Black America.

The CEO of Talbots has called to apologize to the lawyer.

Who will call and apologize to the Black underclass who suffer these racist indignities every day to the point of being suffocated to death by rabid security guards at Northland Mall where the elite do not shop? Will the well-heeled hit the picket lines for that young man who was killed shopping while Black with not enough money?

You have too much to lose, right?

We must never let haters cause us to lose hope or dislike ourselves and never let haters make you weak in your faith. Keep the faith. Stay on the battlefield.

Sam Riddle is political director for Michigan National Action Network. Follow him on Facebook at or Twitter at

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