Harassed for being black - Woman to sue Chinese supermarket for racial profiling

March 11, 2016
Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer Jacqueline Watson feels she was harrassed at a supermarket checkout because she is black.

Woman to sue Chinese supermarket for racial profiling

A dark-skinned woman is threatening the owners of a Chinese-operated supermarket with a lawsuit following what she believes to be unfair treatment at the establishment because of her colour.

"A cuz me black why them accuse me of tiefing," a livid Jacqueline Watson told The Weekend STAR. "I am definitely thinking of suing because they had no reason to stop me besides my colour. The stigma needs to stop. This race thing needs to end."

Watson was searched by security officers as she attempted to leave the General Food Supermarket, located in the more affluent neighbourhood of Liguanea, St Andrew, on Wednesday. The 50-year-old said that on her way out, her path was blocked by security officers who thought she had shoplifted and requested to search her handbag.

"I told them to call the police because they are not going into my bag," Watson said.

The police later turned up and searched Watson. They found no evidence of shoplifting.

"It's not money I want. It's mostly because of principle," said Watson, while arguing that she was subjected to degrading treatment because her complexion is not of a lighter hue. "I want to make an example of them because no one should actually be disrespected because of their colour."

eight incidents

According to Watson, a person of a light complexion would not have been accused by the security personnel of stealing.

But June Wong, director at the supermarket, believes that the incident is being overblown and that Watson's colour did not influence the decision to search her. She said that the security personnel accost anyone believed to be suspicious no matter their skin colour.

"Up to Tuesday, two women of very light complexions were taken aside by security because they switched prices on some products," she said.

Wong told The Weekend Star that the supermarket has been plagued by thieves with an average of eight incidents of theft taking place monthly.

The three security personnel who were involved in the incident with Watson said that she was trying to take advantage of the situation by seeking monetary compensation.

"I was standing beside her the whole time and she was saying how she is going to make her pension off a we because she calling her lawyer right now," related a female security officer.

Other News Stories