Aboriginal affairs

Why shopping black is just not fun

Young Aborigines in Perth say they know how it feels to be targeted by security when out shopping.

And it feels awful.

Earlier today ABC News reported on Jaylen Garlett, who was shopping for his formal at Myer in Perth city when security was called after his father left him in the change room to make a call.

Some Perth Aborigines say racial profiling is not a thing of the past after constantly being watched, accused and denied entry to retail stores.

Curtin University’s Centre for Aboriginal Studies lecturer Michelle Webb was out shopping when her Aboriginal friend was asked by staff to leave the store as they believed it ‘was not the shop for her’, but said it was OK for Ms Webb to stay.

She says it is a common experience for Aboriginal people to be watched when buying food, clothing or just browsing stores.

“Without a question or a doubt if I am with a person of colour I am surveilled because I’m with them, ”Ms Webb said.

Ms Webb said the Garlett family’s decision to talk about their experience will make more people aware of what happens in everyday life for Aborigines.

“For many (Aboriginal) people facing racism is just like getting out of bed in the morning.”

Student Kristi Wood said in her late teenage years, before she had even entered a Myer store, their security asked her to unpack her pockets and bags.

“I kind of learned when I was younger to not do some things that might make me feel more targeted, for example I learned you don’t go into Myers wearing an Adidas tracksuit.”

Ms Webb also said there is not a lot they can do when in a situation and they just leave to avoid conflict.

“Fifteen years ago I got angry and probably would be very upset when it happened now I’m much more older, calmer and rational about it.”

Here, Duana Nickels, Shannon Bennell, Kristi Woods and Michelle Webb talk more about their experiences.

Video: Rouchelle Gilmore and Addy van Munster