WHAT I LEARNED DURING A WHOLE MONTH OF CELEBRATING WOMEN’S HISTORY WITH WHOLE FOODS MARKET

For this month of March, 2019, I elected to celebrate Women’s History Month everyday with Whole Foods Market like no one else could – I celebrated like a bonafide rock star. How have I come to this conclusion you ask? Well, what started out as a month long task, a promise to myself that I would honor a commitment to post content to Whole Foods Mafia daily in celebration thereof, turned out to be an educational excursion for me in fact. Those “Aha!” moments became, as the celebratory days moved along, deep, insightful, meaningful discoveries with respect to the microcosm of racism.

You see, I have never put much thought into trying to figure out how racists think. It has simply never been something that I thought I knew a whole lot about. I’m not a sociologist, I’m not a mind-reader, and I’m not a racist. So I have little to no understanding of this mindset as I am simply not an expert on other people. Though admittedly I did assume that if I lived my life like a normal, hard-working, decent human being, treating everyone with respect regardless of their race, that I myself could largely escape the worst of what racism has to offer in terms of suffering. This was emphatically false as I have come to recognize that the issue of racism is such an encompassing and pervasive one that none of us, as long as we possess a skin color that ranges from ever so slightly caramel to dark, is exempt from the humiliation, the angst, the pain that this hardship creates in our lives. Simply: as long as you/me/we are a minority, then you/me/we will, at some point, be perceived as less than. Incapable. Criminal. Sub-human.

In my career I have been fortunate to work amongst and around professionals who appreciate me for my talent, my skill set, my ability to deliver, my work ethic. When I go to work I shine. I am appreciated. I am respected. In contrast If I go to a Whole Foods right now I would be targeted for harassment 100% because of the color of the my skin and I am wholly disgusted by this. Not really one to allow myself to be repeatedly victimized, I personally don’t patronize Whole Foods, however many people of color and women do and thus are experiencing disturbing instances of racial harassment and discrimination. ESPECIALLY women, of any race, who shop at Whole Foods unaccompanied. It’s sickening and it’s distressing.

Via this journey to curate content on a platform for others to publicly voice their frustrations concerning profiling at various Whole Foods locations, I myself have learned the following truths:

TRUTH #1

Whole Foods doesn’t care about Black people (Kanye voice). Rather than spend any amount of time making any attempt to address their issue with race at the corporate level, Whole Foods has chosen to ignore.you.all. Hispanic, Asian, Latin-American, African-American, men and women, customers and employees from various backgrounds and cultures have complained over and over (there are nearly 100 consumer complaints on this platform alone), and Whole Foods simply refuses to give a fuck about any of you people or what you think. I have made a conscious choice not to obscure the word “fuck” in the previous statement. Sorry, but it needs to be said because this is really sad yet extremely telling.

TRUTH #2

All those Master’s degrees in one room, sitting around a conference room table, and the best solution that they could come up with is to try to hack WholeFoodsMafia.com. Honestly, I have no words for this. I mean, I am not willfully trying to insult anyone’s intelligence here but it has to be stated. Not ONE person, of all the VPs, SVPs, Senior Managers at the corporate level, and not ONE PERSON said, “Why don’t we address the issue of how our company policies and procedures are perceived as racist and how this has been negatively affecting our employees, our customers, and our brand!” Oh no, this is not how the conversation went, as apparently the smartest person in the room actually suggested, “Why don’t we just hack that damn website, take it offline, and then all this goes away!”. And all the other equally as smart individuals at the table agreed that this is the best way to deal with the deeply ingrained racism at that company? Honestly, I’m floored. I truly can’t believe this is 2019 – it’s so surreal.

TRUTH #3

There are clearly no people of color in that room. Which is another issue all on its own, but whatever. I’m not trying to be the agent of change for the whole world, I’m just one person.

TRUTH #4

I’m not exactly sure how an employee with a restaurant and hospitality degree works for a company for 20 years, appeals for a management position multiple times over the course of more than a decade, is denied time and time again, and then ONLY gets a crack at a management opportunity after filing a complaint with the EEOC after 21 freaking years. If that ain’t racism then I don’t know what the hell is!! Let that one soak in a bit!

TRUTH #5

This is not so much a truth that I have learned, but moreso a truthful statement. Amazon should know that I can see their ip addresses when their tech bros try to hack this site. I can’t see the ip addresses of visitors but as soon as a hacker enters a backslash plus any hack command, the command and the ip address of the user is logged. With all of the hours that Amazon’s bros have spent trying to hack WholeFoodsMafia.com one would think that that time could have been better spent evaluating the racism issues at Whole Foods and coming up with viable solutions on how to fix them so that the company operates with a more inclusive mindset. And not just with an empty statement, “Whole Foods respects everyone”, but in real life. How can anything change if the focus is on harassing and silencing the people who are advocating for something healthier and better? This is just the most bizarre, mob-style, backwards approach, but again, I am nothing. I am but a blade of grass.

So my rockstardom is admittedly self-appointed, and I am celebrating other rock star women, some of whom happen to be hurt, betrayed consumers. And I hope to have given some of those hurt, betrayed consumers relief from their frustration and their pain with the very public confirmation that –

THE PROBLEM IS NOT YOU!

Stay strong people!