In the latest installment of Black in America, a New Mexico shopkeep is in hot water for discriminating against a black pre-med student. The student, 22-year-old Jordan McDowell, caught the employee’s actions on camera and shared with the local news station KRQE. Police were called and McDowell is blaming the actions of the worker on racial profiling. The most damning evidence proving that is because the employee told authorities, “… because he’s black.”
In the clip, the woman can be heard talking on the phone at a Santa Fe Allsup’s on Cerillos Road: “I want him out of the store right now. Because he’s being arrogant… because he’s black.”
McDowell is visiting from out of state with five other students who are studying Native American culture as part of a summer class.
“This was our first time down here,” said McDowell. “I explored the native lands, I loved it, I enjoyed it, I enjoyed the feasts, seeing the dances, everything of that nature.”
Last Friday Aug. 3, McDowell went into the convenience store to appease his sweet tooth. The shopkeep allegedly called police AFTER he purchased a package of Sour Patch Kids from the store. The pre-med student paid for the candy but he says he continued looking around the store for anything else that might catch his eye. It is while he was perusing he noticed something out of place.
“She had been in the corner the whole time watching,” said McDowell while watching a copy of his video, speaking of the employee who called the police.
McDowell recorded part of the exchange on cell phone video. While speaking on the phone, the employee can be heard saying, “And I want him out of the store right now,” while speaking to a 911 dispatcher. After a brief pause the store clerk added, “because he’s being arrogant, because he’s black.”
“The first thing that popped in my mind absolutely was just discrimination,” said McDowell. “In that moment, the only thing I felt at that small moment was rage. But at the same time too I understood that racism in America never truly died. There’s nothing right about this, there’s nothing right to call the police on someone just because of their skin tone.”
Santa Fe Police were dispatched to the call, which was listed as “disorderly conduct” but no police report was filed. In fact, the responding officer did not even ID McDowell believing he did nothing wrong. The shopkeep was advised of the same.
KRQE spoke to the employee seen in McDowell’s video at the store Tuesday. The employee denied speaking of McDowell’s race. After being shown the video clip, she continued to deny speaking of McDowell’s race, then refused to speak any further about the incident.
But she is heard clearly referring to McDowell being black as the reason why she wants him out of the store.
Allsup’s corporate office had no comment to add about the shopkeep and her actions. A phone message and multiple emails were not returned. A man claiming to be the store manager did comment saying the clerk’s behavior was unacceptable.
McDowell, whose goal is to become a surgeon, says he doesn’t harbor bad feelings towards his experience in New Mexico.
“My job will be to always help people no matter what, no matter what the cost no matter what the situation,” said McDowell.
He may not harbor any ill will towards the chain and the employee but McDowell is definitely adamant about sharing the experience and encourages others to speak out about their own experiences.
“I just want everyone to know you still have a voice, you can speak up, you still can do your part and that’s what I’m going to continue to do,” said McDowell.