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Black Customers Claim Discrimination At Bayview Supermarket

Black Customers Claim Discrimination At Bayview Supermarket
Outside Super Save Supermarket. | Photo: Meaghan M. Mitchell 
By Meaghan M. Mitchell - Published on February 28, 2018.

Two African-American customers at a Bayview supermarket claim employees made racist comments in Spanish yesterday during a transaction—not realizing that one of them was fluent in the language.

Larry Berry told Hoodline that he and a co-worker, Elise Washington, visited Super Save Supermarket yesterday to post a flyer for a youth job fair. After asking a security guard for permission, Berry asked a cashier if she had any adhesive tape, but none was available.

At that point, Berry said he walked away to buy some tape, but "when I came back up to the front, Elise told me that we were not buying anything from there and that we should leave immediately."

According to Washington, the cashier and security guard were conversing in Spanish "about how stupid black people are and how they always wanted something."

She said the cashier then told the guard, "this board is for us, not them," before the guard replied that "the poster was stupid and that it didn’t matter if we put it up, because he was going to take it down after we left.” 

Washington said that after she confronted the guard and cashier, “they pretended like they didn’t know what I was talking about when I asked them why they said these things.”

When Hoodline visited the market today, the manager wasn't available for comment, but a cashier who declined to give her name acknowledged the dispute and denied making any disparaging statements. 

"I never mentioned anything about race," she said. “I don’t have anything bad to say about anybody. To me, we are equal.”

Tensions between the store and members of the community have endured since the market opened in 1958. On February 16th, 1962, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the market was being picketed by residents who wanted the store "to hire a second full-time Negro clerk."

After a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager accused of stealing a car in September 1966, the store was looted during a citywide uprising that disrupted life across the city for days.

On October 3, 1973, police officers defused a "ticking incendiary device" after a subsequent owner received a warning phone call. Three years later, activists led boycotts after a resident was shot during "an apparent robbery attempt" in the neighborhood, the Chronicle reported.

Berry said most of the store's patrons are African-American. “We are the reason this filthy store stays open, so they have a lot of nerve talking bad about us," he said. "I am so furious, I felt like going out there with a bullhorn and leading a protest."