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Stereotype of the Month Entry

Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

Aboriginal woman cries foul after being denied hairspray
Last Updated Tue, 03 Dec 2002 14:17:44

WINNIPEG -- A woman in Winnipeg is accusing a grocery store of using racial profiling by refusing to sell her hairspray.

Roxy Monkman says was shocked last week when a clerk at a grocery store refused to ring through a bottle of hairspray with the rest of her groceries.

"I figured there was something wrong with the bottle, maybe there was a leak in it or something," she said. "I kept asking her what was wrong… She said, 'We can't sell it to you.'

"Then I realized that she wasn't selling it to me because I was aboriginal, and she was judging me, thinking I was going to drink it."

The store manager backed up the clerk in refusing to sell the hairspray.

An official with Westfair Foods, which owns the Extra Foods store, later phoned Monkman and apologized.

But she wants a public apology.

She says she's grown accustomed to being closely watched by shopkeepers who think she could be a shoplifter, but the hairspray incident marked a new low.

"I'm always proud of who I am and my nationality and my culture and this really put me down," she said. "I felt ashamed for being aboriginal."

The Manitoba Human Rights Commission says Monkman could have grounds for an official complaint.

"If someone comes to me and I'm working in a store and they happen to be aboriginal, and based only on that fact I made a decision that treats them differently from other customers, that is something that could very well come in violation of the human rights code," says Donna Seale, manager of investigations and mediation at the commission.

But at the same time, some politicians are agitating for new laws to keep solvents out of the hands of known addicts.

New Democrat MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis has introduced a private member's bill that would allow fines or jail sentences for retailers who knowingly sell solvents to people who abuse them.

Written by CBC News Online staff

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