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Anorak | Superdrug’s racism – CCTV cameras on black hair products

Superdrug’s racism – CCTV cameras on black hair products

by | 29th, March 2018

The latest claim of racism is that Superdrug has, in a very racist manner indeed, put more CCTV cameras onto the section selling black hair products than onto that selling shampoos etc. for pinkish people. The claim is that this is an assumption by the company, that black people are more likely to shoplift. There’s something of a problem with this assumption. What if it is more likely that black hair products are stolen?

This is the old correlation is not causation point writ small. Yes, it’s entirely true that greater surveillance of the black products could be a racist assumption. But it’s also possible that such products are stolen more often. Just the observation of the correlation isn’t enough to tell us which way around this is going.

Superdrug has become embroiled in a racism row after apologising over claims it placed double the number of CCTV monitoring signs by black hair products.

Customer Xavy Wright complained that she saw twice the number of warnings at the store in Brighton compared to the rest of the aisle, which she claimed implied black people are more likely to steal.

We could certainly construct an argument to explain why more stealing is possible. Theft is, as some would tell us, driven by poverty. Black incomes are lower in the UK than those for pink people. We could, if we thought that poverty drives crime, therefore assume, reasonably enough, that there would be more lifting of such black products.

We might also recall back to the last time this was alleged, then it was cans of a Jamaican food – from memory, ackee – which were more protected than other goods from such theft.

I don’t say that’s a correct argument, only that it is internally logical and not racist at all – it’s the impositions of a racist society in the form of those lower incomes causing it.

Fortunately we don’t have to speculate fact free. For the stores will have excellent information – they do track this sort of stuff – on what does get stolen. And they’ll deploy their anti-stealing resources in the most cost effective manner. That we’re seeing the signs, perhaps the tags, on certain products is our evidence that those are those being stolen.

We are still all at sea over why those are the ones being stolen but it’s not racism to point out features of reality. That product x gets stolen more than product y is no more racism than is remarking upon the distinct lack of pink people in Olympic 100 metres finals. It just is.



Posted: 29th, March 2018 | In: News Comment | TrackBack | Permalink