People of color have another reason to sigh over racial profiling. A 22-year-old Black college student was recently confronted by police after simply visiting a convenience store in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
An unidentified clerk at Allsup’s told authorities that Jordan McDowell, a student who was visiting from out of the state, was “arrogant” and “Black” on Friday (Aug. 3), CBS affiliate KRQE reported. McDowell had brought candy but decided to look around for more items — a move that got the clerk’s racist wheels spinning. The clerk began to watch the student’s movements through the aisles like a hawk, he said.
“There’s nothing right about this, there’s nothing right to call the police on someone just because of their skin tone,” said McDowell, who is a pre-med student at Xavier University who visited Santa Fe as part of a summer class trip to study Native American culture.
“The first thing that popped in my mind absolutely was just discrimination,” McDowell also said.
McDowell began recording the exchange while the clerk phoned police and stopped him from further looking around the store. The conversation between the employee and 911 was upsetting, to say the least. The clerk told police that the young man looked “sketchy” in “picking up and putting back” items.
“In that moment, the only thing I felt at that small moment was rage,” McDowell said. “But at the same time, too, I understood that racism in America never truly died.”
McDowell and the clerk both spoke to police who arrived at the store. The officer didn’t ask for the young man’s ID, but did acknowledge that he wasn’t guilty of any wrongdoing. It’s unclear how the situation ended between the clerk and McDowell. The student shared his story and found a way to make the experience a teachable moment by imparting wise words via KRQE.
“I just want everyone to know you still have a voice, you can speak up, you still can do your part and that’s what I’m going to continue to do,” McDowell said.