Claims of racial slurs at Gulfport store prompts protest
GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - “Black people, do not shop where you are not respected.”
That’s the message a small group repeated while walking around the parking lot of a Gulfport grocery store on Sunday, and while the protest was small, that message was heard loud and clear.
The protest was held outside the Froogel’s in Hardy Court after a couple alleged that racial slurs were made toward them while they were shopping last week.
Kimmiyatta May and her fiancé Bobby Anderson said the comments were made last Thursday by one employee to another.
“She told him these words while I was walking off to my fiancée: ‘Don’t worry about it. These n***** just spending n**** crumbs,” recounted May.
It came as a shock to May.
“Would you believe I’ve never been called that word in my life?” she said. “Would you really believe that? I’ve never been called that word in my life. I do not allow my kids to use that word.”
The shock of what happened quickly turned to resolve to bring the attention to light. With the support of Black Lives Matter Mississippi, the protest was organized.
“This is not acceptable. This is not okay,” May said. “I hate that it had to get to this point but this is not okay.”
In the meantime, she’s not sure when or if she will get over it.
“I don’t know,” she said after a long sigh. “I’m trying. I don’t want to be petty about it. I’m trying, I really am.”
Her fiancé said he is mostly angry with the store’s management.
“Wasn’t nobody fired, nobody did nothing,” said Anderson. “(The manager) didn’t apologize. He did not say anything to diffuse the situation... It took me back to what I had seen and what I had to live with when I was a youngster 58 years ago.”
Anderson said he’s been a loyal customer of the store in the past.
“I’ve been shopping here for 15 years, and I spend money, not food stamps - not that food stamps are not appreciated because a lot of people do need it - but I spend money,” he said.
The protest seemed to be having the desired effect on the store’s business, at least for the moment.
“Really, I will not be shopping here again,” said Gulfport resident Aneta McGee. “I live right down the street and I shop here every day - two or three times a day, but I will not be shopping here again.”
The Froogles employee accused of making the slur is on leave pending the outcome of the company’s investigation into the incident, said general manager Richard Fillingame.
Black Lives Matter representatives said they will continue the protest until there is a satisfactory resolution.
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