A viral TikTok shows an Asian cashier checking a Black woman’s pockets while shopping, prompting discussion about anti-Blackness at Asian-owned businesses.
Model Megan Milan (@megan.milan) was shopping at a beauty store in Los Angeles’ Santee Alley when the cashier reached into her jacket pockets to check for stolen products. Milan captured this interaction and the following confrontation in several viral TikToks. Her most-viewed video received over 1 million views on the platform.
@megan.milan A shared black experience unfortunately. #racist #fyp #existingwhileblack ♬ Oh No – Kreepa
In her first video, Milan—who is Black—says she was racially profiled.
“Only Black person in the store and you decided to check my pockets,” she says to the cashier, who is Asian, in a follow-up video. “I’m the only Black person. And you dug your hands in my pockets.”
“I’m Asian too,” the cashier responds. “I’m sorry. I don’t care. I really don’t care.”
Commenters left Milan supportive messages under her video. Some pointed out that anti-Blackness is a pervasive issue among Asian and Asian American communities.
“That’s exactly why I haven’t been inside of an Asian own beauty supply in like 7 years,” one user commented. “Y’all stay safe though.”
“See, this makes me think about Latasha Harlins,” one user wrote, referencing the 15-year-old Black girl who was shot and killed by a Korean convenience store owner in 1991. “It’s why I don’t play the POC game. I’m BLACK. We are not the same.”
Some viewers are leaving negative reviews of the store—Hi Fashions of California—to call attention to the cashier’s racism. Hi Fashions’ Google and Yelp pages are full of 1-star reviews referencing Milan’s video. According to TikTok comments, the owner also changed the store’s name from Remy Fashions of California, allegedly to avoid public attention.
“If you’re black don’t shop here,” one Yelp review reads. “The employees will racially profile you and check your pockets without warning.”
Yelp has temporarily disabled users from leaving reviews on Hi Fashions’ page while they “investigate the content.” The page currently has a Public Attention Alert.
Hi Fashions is the latest Asian-owned business to receive public attention for anti-Blackness. In 2018, Refinery 29 reported on the “long history” of Black-Asian conflict fueled by media coverage and prevalent stereotypes of both racial groups. In recent years, such incidents have fueled the growth of Black-owned beauty supply stores.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Milan via TikTok and email. We have also reached out to Hi Fashions of California via phone call.
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