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A Visit to Marks & Spencer

I’ve just got come from a shopping trip to Marks & Spencer and I must say that I’m pleased to have learnt before I left that they will not be implementing a policy which would have given Muslim staff permission to refuse to serve customers buying alcohol or pork products. Ref: The Telegraph, 23rd December 2013 (Muslim staff at Marks & Spencer can refuse to sell alcohol and pork)

You see, if such a policy had been in place, knowing that I would have an alcholic drink or two for Christmas in my shopping basket heading towards the check out, I would have scanned the members of staff and if anyone looked like a Muslim, I would not gone in their direction. I would have headed somewhere else because I didn’t want to have to queue up only to be told to go somewhere else. I would have got into this habit and in time I’d have probably done so even if I wasn’t buying alcohol or pork based products.

Don’t ask me how I would have determined whether staff members were Muslim or not. I’d have probably used stereotypes. If a staff member was wearing a head scarf of some kind, it would be obvious – wouldn’t it be? Outside of that I would have used the presumed ethnic origin of the staff member or whatever others assumptions I had stored in my mind.

Situations may have occurred whereby a “Muslim looking” staff member would have been waiting at a till to serve customers and I would walk past to someone else, even if there was a queue. The “Muslim” member of staff would have wondered why I was ignoring him or her.

If it was just me that started acting this way, it wouldn’t be such a big deal, however, I suspect that I would be one of many reacting in such a manner – consciously or subconsciously.  If I reacted in such a manner, my behaviour would have been seen as odd – if I was white, the counter-assumption would have probably been made that I was racist.

The good thing is that Marks & Spencer has decided not to go ahead with the implementation of this policy and I understand that they have even apologised for even thinking of doing so. As I result, today I went to Marks & Spencer with a smile on my face to the cashier with the shortest queue with no further thought. I can also continue to shop at Marks and Spencer without the risk of offending any member of staff at the store.


Copyright 2013 This document is the specific intellectual property of the Conning Towers Consultancy. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated from content obtained from other sources and such content is referenced as appropriate.


#MampS #Racism #Assumptions #Discrimination #Muslim #MarksandSpencer

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