I’m here prepping a lecture on racial/ethnic stratification for my class on social stratification when I read about a case of racial profiling in Tampa in my textbook. Apparently Reginald Pitts, a human resources manager for GAF Materials Corporation, was harassed and accused of trying to forge a check at a Wal-Mart. Pitts had phoned in an order for gift cards for GAF employees for the holidays. Everything was going fine until he arrived at the Wal-Mart. That’s when the store managers realized he was black… Two hours and a near arrest later, Pitts stormed out of the store and GAF now buys its gift cards from Target. Apparently the store managers hadn’t held up several previous customers that same day doing the exact same thing… But those earlier customers were white.

This happened in 2005. I arrived in 2007. 🙁

This is like the Cincinnati Riots of 2001 that happened in the spring. I arrived in August of 2001. How come I’m never around when stuff like this happens? I ask because I’m wondering where I’m going to move next. If you happen to see some horrific example of racism in the next few years, let me know so I have an idea of where the winds of fate are blowing.

(I’m not being serious, of course… Racism is a pretty common occurrence and I’m sure I could find an example wherever I am.)

This is a great illustration of the continued pervasiveness of racism in America for any sociologists out there looking for a good example. Oh, and if you have an ax to grind with Wal-Mart, this is a double whammy!

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