Shopping While Black : Consumer Racial Profiling in America book cover
1st Edition

Shopping While Black
Consumer Racial Profiling in America

ISBN 9780367482244
Published June 3, 2020 by Routledge
164 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Winner of the 2022 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Outstanding Book Award!

Shopping While Black: Consumer Racial Profiling in America 
lays out the results of nearly two decades of research on racial profiling in retail settings.

Gabbidon and Higgins address the generally neglected racial profiling that occurs in retail settings. Although there is no existing national database on shoplifting or consumer racial profiling (CRP) from which to study the problem, they survey relevant legal cases and available data sources. This problem clearly affects a large number of racial/ethnic minorities, and causes real harm to the victims, such as the emotional trauma attached to being excessively monitored in stores and, in the worst-case scenarios, falsely accused of shoplifting. Their analysis is informed by their own experience: one co-author is a former security executive for a large retailer, and both are Black men who understand firsthand the sting of being profiled because of their color. After providing an overview of the history of CRP and the official and unofficial data sources and criminological literature on this topic, they address public opinion polls, as well as the extent and impact of victimization. They also provide a review of CRP litigation, provide recommendations for retailers to reduce racial profiling, and also chart some directions for future research.  

This book is appropriate for researchers as well as advanced undergraduates and graduate students in Criminology, Black Studies, Ethnic Studies, Sociology, Security Studies, and Law programs, and will be of interest to the general reader.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Shopping While Black: An Introduction

Chapter 2. Public Opinion on Consumer Racial Profiling

Chapter 3. Consumer Racial Profiling Victimization

Chapter 4. Consumer Racial Profiling Litigation: State and Federal Case Studies


Methodological Appendix


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Shaun L. Gabbidon is a distinguished professor in criminal justice at Penn State Harrisburg. He is a graduate in PhD in criminology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He has served as a fellow at Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research and has taught at the Center for African American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Gabbidon was recently named a fellow of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. He has authored more than 100 scholarly publications including 13 books and 70 peer-reviewed articles, his most recent books include the fifth edition of the co-authored text Race and Crime (2019; SAGE) and the co-edited book Building a Black Criminology: Race, Theory, and Crime (2019; Routledge). He currently serves as the editor of the Journal of Criminal Justice Education. Prior to entering academe, Dr. Gabbidon worked as a security executive for a major retailer. In recent years, he has served as an expert witness in consumer racial profiling cases and as an anti-racial profiling consultant. Dr. Gabbidon can be reached at [email protected]

George E. Higgins is professor in the department of criminal justice at the University of Louisville. He received his PhD in criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2001. Dr. Higgins is the recipient of numerous international, national, and regional awards for his scholarship and research, teaching, leadership, and service. He is the author of more than 200 scholarly publications including 200 peer-reviewed articles, and 9 books. His most recent publications appear or are forthcoming in Journal of Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice and Behavior, Justice Quarterly, Deviant Behavior, and Youth and Society.


Shopping While Black: Consumer Racial Profiling in America (2020) by Shaun Gabbidon and George Higgins focuses on the rarely examined phenomenon of consumer racial profiling (CRP) in the United States. This work’s relevance is undeniable as protests against police brutality directed at minorities, specifically Black men and women, have highlighted issues ranging from implicit bias to racial profiling… Shopping While Black confronts systemic racism in retail and offers policy recommendations that will both reduce human suffering related to being profiled and financially benefit the retail industry.
—Sarah Britto, California State University – Dominguez Hills, in Criminal Justice Review, February 2021

Shopping While Black: Consumer Racial Profiling…is an intellectually dense and comprehensive examination of its topic…[B]est suited for students and researchers working in the domains of Criminology, Black Studies, Ethnic Studies, Sociology, Security Studies, and Law,…this book would additionally be a worthwhile introduction to CRP for mainstream readers seeking to acquire knowledge on racial profiling in shopping.
—Justin Clayton, The University at Albany, in Race and Justice, February 2021

Gabbidon and Higgins … chart a clear and easy to follow path through the discourse around CRP, which has its roots in the tension between racialized property interests and civic notions of freedom. In the first chapter, they introduce CRP rather than other forms of racial oppression in markets as their primary focus and trace its emergence as a means of managing crime (theft) to the Colonial era.
—David Crockett, Professor of Marketing, University of Illinois, in Journal of Consumer Culture, February 2022

Shaun Gabbidon and George Higgins’s new book, Shopping While Black: Consumer Racial Profiling in America, is ... a welcome addition to the small but growing interdisciplinary literature on the phenomenon more generically referred to as consumer racial profiling (CRP). In this short and highly accessible book, the authors bring to bear over two decades of research on (and personal experiences of) CRP. As part of the Criminology and Justice Studies Series, this book is particularly well suited for undergraduate and graduate students in the fields of criminology and criminal justice. The book would also be of interest to students across the social sciences and related fields (e.g., Sociology, Black Studies, Ethnic Studies, Securities Studies, and Law programs). In fact, Shopping While Black has something to offer to anyone interested in deepening their understanding of contemporary racial and ethnic relations.
—Zachary W. Brewster, Professor of Sociology, Wayne State University, in Contemporary Sociology, March 2022