A former Banana Republic employee has gone viral with a Facebook post in which she claims that the store where she used to work discriminated against her for her box braids. Destiny Tompkins, who is black, writes that she was working in Banana Republic at the Westchester Mall last week, when the store's manager, who is white, pulled her aside and complained that her braided hair was "too 'urban' and 'unkempt'" and not "Banana Republic appropriate."
For the record, this is what her hair looked like:
"I have never been so humiliated and degraded in my life by a white person," wrote Tompkins of the experience. She says she felt "so uncomfortable and overwhelmed" that she left her shift early.
You can read Tompkins' post, which has already been shared over 50,000 times, here:
so today I went into work at Banana Republic at the Westchester Mall and after the district manager (a white woman) popped in for a visit, I was told to go to the office to speak with my manager, Michael (Mike), who is a white man. I came in and he questioned me about the dress code and immediately, I thought there was something wrong with my outfit but he sat me down and questioned my hair instead. He told me that my braids were not Banana Republic appropriate and that they were too “urban” and “unkempt” for their image. He said that if I didn’t take them out then he couldn’t schedule me for shifts until I did. When I tried to explain to him that it was a protective style for my hair bc it tends to become really brittle in the cold, he recommended that I use shea butter for it instead. I have never been so humiliated and degraded in my life by a white person. In that moment, I felt so uncomfortable and overwhelmed that I didn’t even finish my work shift and ended up leaving. When my friend’s mom called the store to find out my manager’s last name (only been working there a month so idk it), he refused to give it to her. Box braids are not a matter of unprofessionalism, they are protective styles black women have used for their hair and to be discriminated against because of it is truly disgusting and unacceptable. Make this public bc they need to be exposed for their blatant racism and discrimination. There’s no reason why a white person should feel allowed to tell me that I can’t wear my hair the way that I want bc it’s too black for their store image. Banana Republic
This alleged incident unfortunately falls into a history of black women and girls getting penalized or reprimanded for wearing their hair in braids. And judging by the response on Tompkins' Facebook post, people are on her side and sick and tired of the bullsh*t:
Banana Republic declined to comment on their official dress code regarding braids. But they did issue the following statement on the incident, according to The Cut: "As a company, we have zero tolerance for discrimination. We take this matter very seriously and we are actively conducting an investigation. We are committed to upholding an inclusive environment where our customers and our employees feel respected."