Rapper sensation Wiz Khalifa recently took a trip to Barney’s New York, a popular department store, in Beverly Hills. Despite spending $16,000 on merchandise for his girlfriend Amber Rose and family, Wiz was later treated like a “thief” when browsing in the men’s department, according to Radar Online.
A patron who was reportedly present at the department store said:
After his spending spree on the shoes, Wiz went up to the ultra expensive men’s department floor, but instead of rolling out the red carpet for him they refused to help the poor guy! Not only did they fail to recognize him they actually thought that that he was a thief and treated him like one! It was only when somebody pointed out to them who the guy actually was that they back-tracked somewhat.
I must say that I’m not surprised in the least by Khalifa’s mistreatment. Racial profiling is still very prevalent, and I’m not particularly sure it will ever dissipate.
Although I wouldn’t categorize Wiz Khalifa, 23, as harmful or a “klepto,” I’ll admit that he does fall into the stereotypical urban youth look, normally wearing a fitted, crewneck and sagged jeans. But stereotypes are such hackneyed constructs. Classifying the “urban” look with the likes of thieves, gang bangers, rapists and abusers is down right reprehensible.
The urban style is a part of a culture, and should be embraced just like any other culture. Unless the setting is in a boardroom (there’s a time and place for everything), I see no qualms in wearing jeans, sneakers and a fitted if one so chooses to do so.
But sadly, Wiz Khalifa’s crude mistreatment at Barney’s is a painful reminder that in White America, a Black man is menacing. Black men, no matter their socio-economic status, still find themselves marginalized for being Black. Yes Wiz may sag his pants and smoke a little marijuana, but who are we to judge? How you present yourself matters, but no one should be treated differently based off of baseless assumptions.
Black men should not have to conform to European standards to get something as basic as good service. We are consumers, too. If one can take a Black man’s money, one can equally as much give him the respect he deserves.
If I were Wiz, I would have returned all the merchandise—every $16,000 worth—and taken my money elsewhere. It needs to be made clear that discourtesy based on race and culture will not be tolerated in any shape of form. Nonetheless, Wiz learned a valuable lesson: not even a Black millionaire is immune to the scathing blow of racial profiling.