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A viral photo that surfaced this week shows a Target store shelf of cosmetics with anti-theft devices—but only on darker shades of makeup.
A Twitter user shared the photo on Thursday, which has since been retweeted more than 16,000 times. The image shows a row of foundation bottles with only the dark shades bearing the Target logo and stickers that say “This item is electronically protected.” The location of the Target store is unclear from the image.
“Any reason you only put these anti theft devices on the darkest shades?” a user tweeted from a now-locked account, tagging Target’s official Twitter account. The user told the Daily Dot that they didn’t take the photo themselves but reshared it on Facebook. After the tweet went viral, the user made their Twitter account private.
But while it was unlocked, the photo sparked anger. People said the placement of electronic stickers implied that darker shade foundations are more likely to get stolen.
Are they implying dark skin shades are the only ones being stolen?— ExhaustedMom (@ExhaustedMom5) November 7, 2019
Since the photo’s origins are unknown, it’s entirely possible that it was staged and/or that the other bottles of makeup have electronic anti-theft stickers on the sides facing away from the camera.
Regardless, some people who commented on the photo exposed their blatant racism and insisted darker shades of makeup are the ones that get stolen more and implied that people of color are more likely to steal than light-skinned people.
“It’s trivial to add anti theft to All of them,” one user wrote.
Of course, that’s total nonsense.
They are the ones getting stolen the most.— Steven Hart (@iamnotasophist) November 7, 2019
im looking thru these replies of people saying bc “those are the shades that get stolen the most”...do y’all know how many white girls finesse? clearly not lmaoooooo plus they wear the darker shades to contour or “match their tan” lol— 🖤 (@michelleejolie) November 7, 2019
Well maybe it’s actually because that’s the shades that are being stolen?— Jeryl Sajumon™ ن (@Sajumonster) November 7, 2019
One person had the perfect comeback: Black people don’t shoplift more, white people and other communities just get away with it more often.
No cap. I watched Asian men and women steal belts, shoes and bags right up out the store. Slick af in broad daylight all because NO-ONE EXPECTED THEM TO BE A SHOPLIFTER— IG: @Taqkii (@taqkii) November 8, 2019
lol I worked at AE too and it was always white girls who stole our stuff 😒— amelia (@HiImLia) November 8, 2019
The sad things is heuristics tell you it’s blacks, but the reality is it’s normally white, senior citizens or white women with strollers. These two demos are the least monitored, but the most likely to steal. If you worked in retail, you know the truth— Yodo (@rannyran) November 8, 2019
In some tweets, people joked that Elf Cosmetics—which is known for selling makeup for as low as $1—isn’t losing much anyway.
LMAO this was one of those tweets I had to double take— 🗿 (@rabbalabba) November 7, 2019
Who’s really out here stealing elf cosmetics foundations tho pic.twitter.com/VoVVpHbrTw— Juliana Charles 🇭🇹 (@Julianassasa) November 7, 2019
And others sardonically suggested that the electronic stickers are in place not to dissuade people of color from stealing, but to dissuade white people from wearing blackface.
Because, if someone wants to buy a dark shade, a manager needs to come by and make sure it’s not a white person doing blackface.— Matt Pizzuti 🌲🏳️🌈 (@ituzzip) November 7, 2019
It's reparations— 🏴🏴☠️Ripp Scott🏴☠️🏴 (@ripp_scott) November 8, 2019
Sad part is that its yt people that are the reason why the darkest shades are always unavailable. They need the dark shades to contour themselves into someone else.— pilotJones🧘🏽♂️ (@hanleykevon) November 7, 2019
DISCOUNT BEYONCÉ— christ (@bigboyzam) November 8, 2019
i think its coz they heard justin trudeau that was in the area— ✍️ (@QweenZadie) November 8, 2019
Target’s customer service account @AskTarget responded to the photo and asked the user to share the location of the branch. The Daily Dot has reached out to Target and will update this story if the retail chain responds.
Update 5:33pm CT, Nov. 8: This article has been updated to remove the Twitter handle of the user who shared the photo.
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque