A Black woman says she was “racially profiled” by a white employee at a Target in Kalispell, Montana, while trying to purchase items from the store’s Black History Month collection.
In a TikTok posted on Wednesday by Pamela Smith (@blackhomeeducators), Target employees give Smith the names of the security and store manager. “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.”
Smith moves the smartphone camera to show the self-checkout register. “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, Montana.”
By Friday, the video had more than 65,000 views.
In another TikTok, Smith went into detail about the incident. “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 was accusing me of stealing. She was invading my personal space. I had a mask, I was telling her please back up, her not having on a mask,” Smith said. “She proceeded to go into my bag that I had already scanned items.”
Smith said the clerk tried to search 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.
Smith said the Target employees didn’t ask for her name or phone number and that she had to ask them for the name of the store manager.
“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.”
In an emailed statement to the Daily Dot, a spokesperson for Target said the company reached out to Smith to “apologize directly.”
“We’re also looking into these serious allegations with the team member in question,” the spokesperson said.
In the comments, people sympathized with Smith. “This breaks my heart. You were prob so happy & excited for some nice things then your night was ruined,” commented one user.
“Fire that lady!!!!” Another TikToker wrote.
“Fully supporting you sis,” another person wrote.
The Daily Dot reached out to Smith via TikTok comment.
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