In another case of #WhileBlack: a Black father is calling out a South Carolina store clerk for racially profiling his son and his friends.
Chris Carraway, who hails from Columbia, South Carolina, decided to join his son and his friends for their “senior trip” to Myrtle Beach. Carraway highlighted that Myrtle Beach is known for being racist and unsafe for Black people, which is why he decided to tag along.
“Myrtle Beach has a reputation, and I didn’t feel comfortable with my 18-year-olds going down there without supervision,” Carraway told The Root. “So I took the week off and went down there with them to just hang out.”
During the trip, the group visited Myrtle Beach Mall for some shopping. However, when they entered Fun Wear Sports store, Carraway said he felt he was being watched. “From the time we walked in, we could tell immediately the person that was in charge, he was staring at us,” Carraway told local news outlet WPDE. Carraway said that the store owner, #MichaelMeans, began to target the boys after they started laughing at an inside joke. “One of the guys, we were talking, and I started laughing, and he looked at me, and he said, ‘What are you all laughing at?’” Carraway told the outlet.
When Carraway told Means it was none of his business, the store owner allegedly told the group to stay in one place so he could “keep an eye” on all of them while he called mall security, BET.com reports. That’s when Carraway’s son, Jonathan, took out his phone and began recording the verbal altercation. “To listen to him on the phone, if you listen to my clip, he literally says, ‘six of them.’ Six of what? ‘Six to eight of them,’ that’s what he said,” Carraway told WPDE. When security came to the store, and Means can be heard saying, “Nobody touch anything unless you wanna buy.” Afterwards, security told the group to leave.
Carraway then stood outside the store, observing as white customers went in and out the story without disturbance. “I’m one to call a spade a spade, and I’m a very overprotective dad. I always tell them that they have to preserve their family’s name in public. But when they went in the store, they weren’t making noise. They weren’t acting belligerent. None of the boys—not that it matters—were walking around with their pants hanging halfway off their behinds … I was wearing sweats because I was on vacation,” Carraway told the Root. “I had to sit in my car for 30 to 45 minutes to calm down because I was so upset that my kids had to encounter such ignorance,” Carraway added. The video, which was posted to Facebook on June 12, eventually, went viral.
WPDE spoke with Means, who claimed the group was being too loud and scaring customers away. Means also said he didn’t like Carraway telling the boys to ignore him.