A Banana Republic employee from New York was put in an unfair situation by a manager when she was told her long box braids were too “urban” and “unkempt” for the brand’s image.
Ummm, red flag much?
Before we continue, allow us to assuage your ire just a touch: according to a Banana Republic spokesperson, the manager in question has since been fired. Good riddance, right?
It happened when the store’s district manager (a white woman) came in for a visit and called the relatively new employee, 19-year-old Destiny Tompkins, into the office with the regular store manager (a white man).
Tompkins later posted about the interaction on her Facebook page, writing “I have never been so humiliated and degraded in my life by a white person.” Here’s how she says it went down:
“I came in and he questioned me about the dress code and immediately, I thought there was something wrong with my outfit but he sat me down and questioned my hair instead,” Tompkins wrote on Facebook. “He told me that my braids were not Banana Republic appropriate and that they were too ‘urban’ and ‘unkempt’ for their image. He said that if I didn’t take them out then he couldn’t schedule me for shifts until I did. When I tried to explain to him that it was a protective style for my hair [because] it tends to become really brittle in the cold, he recommended that I use shea butter for it instead.”
Ugh. If this makes you wince, you’re not alone. Are we still dealing with this in 2017? C’mon people (and brands)! We’re better than this!
Here’s the full Facebook post, which now has over 50,000 likes and 55,000 shares:
There’s a word for this: discrimination. The good people of the Court of Facebook know it, and so does the brand, apparently, which has already issued a statement distancing itself from the manager’s views.
“This week, one of our store managers questioned an African American employee’s braided hair style. Our team began an immediate investigation and the manager involved was promptly removed from the store,” the spokesperson told Daily News. “This situation was completely unacceptable, counter to our policies, and in no way reflects our company’s beliefs and values.”
Ultimately, only Ms. Tompkins gets to decide whether this apology and firing is good enough for her. Would you return to work at an establishment that had recently discriminated against you?