Wal-Mart and Black Folks…two things that don’t go together

It’s a strange day for me up here in my corner of the world. I need a vacation but that’s not happening for a while so I will take a moment from my busy day to bring some light to some situations that are only now just starting to get national attention.

Many Americans shop at Wal-Mart, some because they like it and some because they have no choice. After all its well-known that Wally comes to a town and often the little homegrown shops go out of business. Me? Well prior to moving to Maine, I had only been to a Wal-mart maybe once if that. I can’t recall. In part because there were no Wal-Marts in Chicago and also because I always associated Wally’s as being the type of place I had no need to go to.

Well after moving to Maine, for the first couple of years living here I started going to Wal-Mart because prices were cheaper but every time I went there, I hated it. There is something about being in Wal-Mart that literally makes me sick. It’s as if they pumped in bad air. I find the whole experience to be unpleasant and coupled with the fact that they are well-known for treating their employees like shit, as well as being anti-union. I started looking for better more sustainable options for shopping. I do a great deal of my shopping directly with small local farmers or small local shops, though I do go to the local big box grocer to round things out. In the end its only a few dollars more but in this case its money well spent.

That said, plenty folks go there and it’s just what they do. I pass no judgement on them….sometimes you do what you have to do. However if you are Black and shopping at Wal-Mart you may get more than you bargained for. Check this story out and this one. In both stories Black folks were shopping and in both instances white folks thought the Black folks cut them in line and well…shit hit the fan. Though in the last story I linked to a young woman who may have been bound for medical school is literally fighting for her freedom. Yep, Heather Ellis is dealing with intimidation from the local KKK and what should have not even been a case or issue is threatening to destroy a life. In that first story a woman old enough to know better thought that calling someone a nigger was appropriate behavior for being slighted.

Um….what the fuck is wrong with people. Are they on dope or dog food? Nope, sadly its that old friend racism rearing its ugly head and in a place like Wal-Mart, I swear there is something about the environment that makes folks just go crazy. You put people together who in many cases are scrapping to get by financially and long lines and its a bad combination. I know I am coming across as rather light about some rather serious situations but shopping in places like Wal-Mart I am aware that you see the intersection of race and class coming together and sometimes it is not pretty.

So I want to do my part and get the word out about the plight of Heather Ellis and send some prayers that this case is dismissed and that another bright young Black life is not lost to the penal system.  As for the rest of us, maybe us Black folks should stay the hell out of Wal-Mart…seriously they are not good for our health at all. In fact we should all stay away from Wal-Mart, the country would be a prettier places if there were less Wal-Marts destroying the landscape.

Edited to add, Revvy Rev left me another example of Wal-Mart and Black folks not going well together, check this piece out

9 thoughts on “Wal-Mart and Black Folks…two things that don’t go together”

  1. I don’t know that many details about the Heather Ellis incident. I hope it will work out for her.

    My mom (who is white) shops at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is OK if you need certain items on a budget. However, I agree with most of what you said. It isn’t one of my favorite places either.

    Milk & Honey Mommy…you are so right about that.

    KIT…wow, that’s effed up. That story makes my skin crawl. I’ve been in similar situations. I’m thankful that despite the vicious verbal assault, no one was physically hurt. You were justified in your reaction. You were defending your children from a sick, demented racist c-u-n-t.

    Lisa…you’re right. I’ve had to hold back my emotions because I knew what the end result would be. I’m biracial, very fair, but I have been called the “N-word” by white folks on a few occasions. It took willpower and self-control to keep me from completely losing it.

  2. Black Girl in Maine,

    You have managed to put into words my exact feelings about Wal-Mart. Before moving to small town USA, I had no reason to step foot into a Wal-Mart store and did everything (purposely avoided) at all instances. Now, it is “the store” in the town we chose to move to. W/its move here (before we came), it managed to do what you said, run mommies/daddies/aunts/uncles/families out of business. It’s hard to compete w/their pricing, especially now w/people picking up pennies off the ground, not for souvenirs, but as spending cash. I still travel at least 30- 40 miles away (one-way) to shop at a real store, to not have to have another Wal-Mart experience (long lines, unknowledgeable sales personal, criminal checks at the exit door, etc.) and to not be subjected to many of their low quality products, but sometimes, lack of time and temporary convenience rule.

    Although we haven’t been personally mistreated by our local Wal-Mart employees, it is unfortunate that the personal opinions/prejudices and behaviors of employees are often used to define the company as a whole. I do wonder how much of Sam Walton is being exampled in his company now. From articles I’ve read, it appears his children, etc. are quite the greedy ones which may explain why the company is like it is today.

    I do hope that Heather gets right justice from the system. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tagged teamed long lines w/another to get out of a store more quickly, but we never looked as that as cutting in line. That could have been my sister and me and we too would have been upset and defensive about the accusations. It is amazing how quickly a situation can get out of hand and now a young woman is fighting for her future.

  3. Hey Shay!

    I noticed that you are being accused of being racist!! *LOL* Don’t let the white husband who shares your home and family know this!! *LOL*

    I’ve had my share of folks who come to my forum trying to tell me about myself too!! *LOL* Utterly hilarious.

    Well….even with that said…
    I don’t think I will make a blanket statement that black folks don’t need to shop at Walmart. I’ve never had any incident at all in a Walmart that I’ve been in. I’ve been in a Walmart in three states so far.

    I have seen plenty of black folks react just as K.I.T. described when encountering white racists. The thing is that it is always a ploy – those people know that black folks will start acting out of control at the mere hearing of the word and they also know that blacks out of control = police intervention.

    I don’t know when our people will stop falling for the same ole trap when they are in public and a white racist approaches to push their crazy button. Please know that I am not HARDLY defending racist conduct and all of that ignorance. I am just saying…no one can MAKE you, me or anyone get out of control. An out of control person has made a choice to be – and a choice to take the consequences.

    Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

  4. Racist trolls are so distracting from the topic at hand… they never quite make it to addressing the heart of what you’re talking about. They love an audience and to put a chilling effect on comments. The delete comment button goes a long way to solving that problem.

    My lil Wal-Mart incident was NOTHING compared to those news stories. I could be wrong, but Sam Walton has a propensity for placing his Wal-Marts in areas that are thin to nearly void of black folks. I see them as the Sugar Daddy of white small towns and rural areas, but to borrow one comedian’s joke, also as the uncle who molests you but sends you to college. They love him but they hate that his stores have raped their small businesses which can’t compete.

    I’ve only been in one Wal-Mart too; stopped there on the way camping in far western MD near the W Va border. It blew my mind how cheap their stuff was, even the groceries. I had no bad experience in the store, and was struck at the poverty of some of the customers (all whites)… the kind of poverty where you know they spent their lives since childhood missing meals.

    While walking back to the car, I was trying to figure out why Wally hadn’t anchored a store within 20 miles of my area. Just in the next county, there’s a lot sprawl and cheap land and lots of black and Latino folks who could use those prices.

    That’s when it happened.

    Some wannabe Indie 500 b*tch sped within a few feet past me, my son (then 17) and daughter (then 10), and screamed out her car window, Nigger!

    BGIM, I just lost it. I screamed back Racist bitch! Coward! She was grinning with pleasure, like bullies always do whenever they get others to loose it. She never even tapped her brakes.

    Then I looked around, embarrassed. No one was staring at me – except my kids – and that was a relief but also an embarrassment. I sternly warned them I was an idiot to do that and if it happened to them, ignore it. But kids follow by deed not by words, so I worried about that.

    Then the fear set in.

    I looked at my son, and wondered if he was her main target since he is a male in an area known for prejudice toward blacks and black males in particular. And what the hell would I have done if Crazy Racist B stopped and wanted to fight, or a crowd ganged up on us? Or both?

    At least we were blessed with an otherwise wonderful camping trip.

    It’s so hard being verbally assaulted and sucking it in as though you’re the coward and your dignity doesn’t matter. No wonder older black folks die before anyone else; a lifetime of stress is a killer.

    As for Wally, his union busting and part-time only slots is his way of treating everyone like the so-called niggers that that racist gal thought she was above and better than.

    He must laugh all the way to the bank.

  5. Well, honey, kudos for being nice to the good doctor.

    I’m still trying to figure out how calling Wal-Mart out for treating its employees like shit can be called “bigotry.” Doctor, you lost all credibility at that point, and it was only your second sentence. So, congrats for being the first person to ever inspire me to use this popular phrase that I’ve avoided for so long: Epic fail!

  6. Doctor King Jr…welcome to my blog. I am not sure if you read the links in my post but if you had, you would see that in the Heather Ellis case she has faced intimidation tactics by the KKK regarding this matter. So no its not a ploy or tactic on my part, simply stating the facts.

    Regarding Wal-Mart, a Google search would show they don’t always have the best track record with their employees.

    Its most certainly their choice to be anti-union and its my choice to not patronize them. 😉

    As for me being a small minded racist, I am guessing you are a new reader since regular readers know that is the last thing you can say about me. Though like most folks I have my biases and I try to be aware of them and work on them.

  7. You make many assumptions in this post. To characterize and stereotype that WM “treats their people like shit” is nothing other than perpetuating the bigotry that you claim to point a finger at.

    I suspect that it is YOU who are the small-minded racist, with your denigrating references to a business’s choice to be anti-union (which was great in the early 1900’s industrial revolution, divisive by nature in today’s marketplace) and quickness to cite the KKK. The only classic ploy you missed was to make a comparison to Hitler…care to go back and add that to the story, so you’ve covered all the stereotypes? Wake up and join the 21st century.

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