zendaya

It was only a few weeks ago that your friendly neighborhood blogger said he was looking forward to Zendaya’s performance in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but now the actor had to complicate matters by playing one of the worst race cards of all time.

CNN reported Thursday:

Zendaya has alleged a grocery clerk of racism after refusing to sell her $400 in gift cards.

The “K.C. Undercover” actress posted a Snapchat video Tuesday about a shopping experience in which she said a clerk told her she couldn’t afford the gift cards, and tossed her wallet.

“The lady that was helping, I don’t think she was a huge fan of our skin tone,” Zendaya said.

“This is what we deal with…” — before a male friend in the video added, “Because we’re black.”

A store manager came over and eventually helped Zendaya, 20, complete the gift card purchase.

The store eventually clarified (for those who have lived under a rock for several years) that there are limits to how many gift cards can be purchased on a single credit card. The wealthy entertainer — who should know by now that criminals who steal credit card information prompted such rules — was initially denied a $400 purchase.

So here is the situation: A Hollywood star who looks as white as Joseph Gordon Levitt walks into a Vons grocery store. She looks like some random teenager, plops down a credit card, wants to charge $400 on gift cards, and then gets upset when the store clerk looks at her like she’s crazy.

Is it more likely that the clerk — who must deal with black people in California every single day  — is racist, or is it more likely that a spoiled Hollywood star wasn’t recognized and then treated (ironically) just like everyone else?

I will go with the latter option, but I’m open to convincing in the comments section below.

jg-levitt

Note to Zendaya: People are sick and tired of the race card. It doesn’t work.

Sometimes, what you perceive as racism is just people behaving rationally to your immaturity or moronic behavior.

Sometimes, what you perceive as racism is just someone having a bad day.

Sometimes, what you perceive as racism is nothing of the sort because the person on the other end of the conversation thinks you look like a small white child.

Note to Sony and Marvel Studios: Tell your future “MJ” that it may be okay to be a diva on the big screen, but that doing so in public just makes Spider-Man fans less inclined to see her work.

Related: Dan Slott plays ‘Captain White Privilege’ after Zendaya-MJ casting reported

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

18 comments

  1. The more people cry “racism” the more likely it is that ACTUAL racism is ignored.

    It must be great to be able to blame everything on one catch all phrase that if anyone challenges you then it just proves it.

    True racism will only die out if it isn’t screamed from the rooftops everytime something bad happems to a POC.

    1. “The more people cry ‘racism’ the more likely it is that ACTUAL racism is ignored.”

      It actually says quite a bit that someone like Zendaya can cry racism after an encounter where she admits she was trying to do something against the store’s policy! I want someone to corner Zendaya on proving a definition of racism. It apparently means: “When a white person doesn’t have a Joker-esque smile plastered across her face at all times while acquiescing to Zendaya’s every demand.”

      I once managed a gym. This lady came in with a young boy (against the rules) and let him jump around all the equipment (small kids and heavy weights are a legal nightmare waiting to happen). I told her the kid could wait by the desk, but that he couldn’t be out on the main floor. She said okay and then when I wasn’t looking she dropped him into our pool — unattended. The lifeguard radios me and asks what the heck is going on because the kid can’t even swim and … leaving children unattended in the lap-swimming lanes is … against the rules.

      We get the kid out of the pool and I ask for his name. I look his mom up in the system and she doesn’t even have a family membership that would allow her to bring an appropriately-aged child to the gym. I tell her this is unacceptable and she starts screaming that I’m a racist.

      LADY: It’s very strange how you keep focusing on ME and MY child.

      Me: That is because you’re the only one in the gym who is blatantly breaking the rules.

      The lady dares me to call security. I tell her if she doesn’t act like an adult, then I will. She dares me again. I say, “sure,” and call security. When they show up she goes ballistic that I did exactly what she told me to do. She tells me that she wants to speak to my boss. I gladly give her my boss’ card. (Little does “racism” lady know my boss is a black woman from Philadelphia.) A black security guard apologizes to me later on — for the woman’s behavior! It’s like he was embarrassed on behalf of all black people, so I tell him it’s she who should apologize.

      “It must be great to be able to blame everything on one catch all phrase that if anyone challenges you then it just proves it.”

      Yep. It’s the easiest “out” ever. Oh, you had an interaction with someone that didn’t go your way? “Racism!” The vast majority of people are not racist in the U.S., although there are plenty of jerks out there. There are plenty of impatient people out there. There are plenty of immature brats out there. Falling into any one of those groups does not make one a racist.

    2. Like that time Opera was told that she “couldn’t afford a purse,” or like when Forrest was accused of “shoplifting,” right? Don’t try to be smart or insightful… It’s not working out for you.

    3. Like that time Opera was told that she ‘couldn’t afford a purse,’ or like when Forrest was accused of ‘shoplifting,’ right? Don’t try to be smart or insightful… It’s not working out for you.

      Why do Anonymous people always think they come off as intelligent by offering a drive-by insult?

      Yes, some of us remember when Oprah went to Switzerland and wanted to buy a $38,000 purse. My guess is that if she were back in Chicago then she would have no problem, given her celebrity status. If she shows up to Switzerland (especially without make-up, since she is basically unrecognizable), my guess is that snooty clerks might give her a hard time. Just as I assume they would give my wife and I a hard time. I assure you that we don’t look like we can afford $38,000 purses.

      But hey, you got 2 data points from famous people, so that must mean that the racist boogeyman is behind every corner and under every rock. Or not.

      Poor, poor, oppressed American billionaire Oprah. If America wasn’t so darn racist then she would have trillions.

      The standard response by race activists when someone says racism isn’t nearly as prevalent as they claim is to try and make it seem like you said the country is perfect and everyone is a little angel. Yawn. Try again.

  2. What a little brat. She knew there were limits to how many gift cards you could purchase, and yet she still cries “racism.” Seriously, Marvel, do you pay attention to your actors’ behavior when they’re not filming? It’s just as bad as them ignoring the poor behavior of their comic book writers on Twitter, letting them fly off the handle without any consequences.

    Like Andrew said, the more people cry “racism,” the more actual racism is ignored. I saw the Zendaya story on Facebook the other day and when I saw that she played the race card, I immediately became skeptical that anyone was “racist” to her. Odds are, she just wanted attention and knew that if she ranted about it on social media, she’d get sympathetic media coverage.

  3. From working in a store, I can verify that having restrictions on gift card purchases (amount and method of purchase) for security reasons is common and I wouldn’t be surprised that she had the trouble she did, so I’d be skeptical of the racism card.

    On the other hand, I’m not a minority myself, so I’ll probably never know what it’s like to be in the shoes of someone wondering if you’re being racially-profile for something. (Course, I wouldn’t appreciate being accused of profiling, given that I try to treat people fairly.)

    Not sure how relevant any of that is, but it would be interesting to hear what people in the minority demographic think.

    1. “From working in a store, I can verify that having restrictions on gift card purchases (amount and method of purchase) for security reasons is common and I wouldn’t be surprised that she had the trouble she did, so I’d be skeptical of the racism card.”

      Yep. Anyone who has worked retail (myself included) knows that Zendaya’s claim does not pass the sniff test. I love that she admits trying to do something that the clerk is not allowed to do, and yet she still thinks it was a racial thing. There were probably 10 people lining up behind Zendaya to be checked out, the clerk was busy, and the last thing she wanted to do was argue with some girl who looks like she’s about 15 years old.

      “On the other hand, I’m not a minority myself, so I’ll probably never know what it’s like to be in the shoes of someone wondering if you’re being racially-profile for something. (Course, I wouldn’t appreciate being accused of profiling, given that I try to treat people fairly.)”

      Since you’re human, you have the gift of empathy. You most-certainly can have a very good idea of what it feels like. On top of that, your statement presumes minority groups in the U.S. are incapable of being bigots or racists towards white people.

      My wife and I went to a sushi place the other day and when the server came back she said directly to my wife, “How is your food?” After the server left my wife goes, “Notice that she didn’t ask you about your food?” and I said, “Yep. That has happened numerous times over the years.”

      If we go to a restaurant owned by asians, they often act like the white guy doesn’t exist. Do I complain about it? No. Do I whine about “micro-aggressions”? No. It’s just some random loser. Episodic instances of bigotry will always exist, but that has no bearing on the trajectory of my life in America.

      Perhaps my two favorites are the time I went to a holiday party and some Chinese lady absolutely refused to shake my hand (I was the only white guy there), or the time I was dating a Mexican girl and my Army roommate at the time said in Spanish — right in front of me — that she was some kind of “traitor” for dating a white dude. My ex-girlfriend didn’t disclose that information to me until years later. I suppose that was a good move on her part… I was a very different person back then.

    1. “‘Racist’ has turned from a word with meaning to a buzzword thrown left and right.”

      I have mingled in various social circles over the course of my life, from mechanized infantrymen to the Washington, D.C., nonprofit crowd and everything in between. There are very few people who I believed to be legitimately racist. They may have had hangups with certain types of white people or black people or [insert race or ethnic group here], but by and large people are not racist. The definition of the word ‘racist’ has been watered down so much that most people roll their eyes when it’s used.

      Most of the time, people who say they want to have a “conversation” about race want no such thing. They want me to just agree to whatever motives they ascribe to my behavior. They want me to agree to weird ideas that I’m subconsciously racist and there’s nothing that I can do about it. They want me to flog myself for “unearned privileges.” That’s not going to happen.

      If someone wants to point to concrete facts and say, “Hey, I think we need to change this. Here is my idea,” then I can work with that person. If someone wants me to just grovel at their feet because I had ancestors who fought for the South, then they’re going to be in for a long wait.

      Note: I had relatives who fought on both sides of the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. There was a German Hessian soldier who apparently took up arms on behalf of the British…

  4. What a loser, so she would like the clerk to break the rules for her and lose her job? Would she pay the girls wages when her bills came due? Blah, I’m so sick of these types….. Whiney, entitled losers who don’t live in reality.

    1. “What a loser, so she would like the clerk to break the rules for her and lose her job? Would she pay the girls wages when her bills came due?”

      On top of everything else, imagine the awkwardness Zendaya has probably created between this cashier and some of her co-workers. There will also be random customers who come in calling it “racist Vons,” asking employees who the “racist cashier” is, etc.

      Everything about Zendaya’s charge hinges on conjecture. She tried to do something against store policy and she didn’t like the way her wallet was handed back to here, so ipso facto the woman across from her must have been racist. And we’re supposed to believe her because she throws up a black power fist and some righteous indignation in an Instagram video. Nice try, Zendaya. Try again.

  5. We are becoming a nation of over-privileged spoiled brats with an unearned sense of entitlement. That goes for the black guy parking next to a fire hydrant and then accusing the cops of racism when they ticket his car. It goes for the white frat boy driving 135 MPH in a school zone, and who threatens the cops when they pull him over (“My dad is, like, the senior partner in the law firm of Shyster & Pettyfogger and I’m gonna, like, sue the city, and you’re gonna get, like, fired”). It goes for the presidential candidate who claims that anyone who doesn’t vote for her is a sexist. And it goes for a minor Disney Channel actress whining about racism when some sales clerk doesn’t want to violate store policy for her.

  6. The cashier sounds a bit stupid. If she thought Zendaya was just some teen girl who had ripped off a person’s wallet, all the cashier needed to do was check the driver’s license. It could also be that Zendaya exceeded her credit-limit, and made up a story to cover her loss of face.

  7. There is no such thing as the “race card”, only ignorant people use that term to belittle microaggressions.

    This girl has already dealt with racism in Hollywood very publicly with Julia Rancid or whatever when she was 16 or 17.

    And I don’t think you know what you’re reporting. Zendaya already explained that she knew what the store policy was after the manager explained it, the issue was the cashier was rude and eyeing them and then threw her wallet at her after asking for an ID so…

    Also, it doesn’t matter how light she is, don’t erase the issue of what she went through.

    And a heads up, you used the word empathy wrong in your response to a comment, that person will never understand b/c they’re not a minority but they still might feel SYMPATHY, empathy is when you’ve actually experienced the same thing and can understand exactly how they feel …like come on, at least know grammar.

    1. “There is no such thing as the ‘race card,’ only ignorant people use that term to belittle microaggressions.”

      Kayla, the race card very much exists. I’m sorry if you refuse to acknowledge that very often “racism” is screamed from the rooftops for things that are not racism. Here’s another newsflash for you: No one in the real world gives a rip when you start whining about “microagressions.” Unless you plan on living on a college campus your entire life, then get ready to be laughed at every time you sniffle over a microaggression.

      “This girl has already dealt with racism in Hollywood very publicly with Julia Rancid or whatever when she was 16 or 17.”

      Hollywood is so racist that she’s a multi-millionaire with a singing career, a long-running Disney contract, and a highly sought-after role in a Marvel Studios film. Man, it must really suck having to bear the burden of so much Hollywood racism.

      It’s funny you should mention Giuliana Rancic making fun of Zendaya’s dreadlocks on “Fashion Police,” because that wasn’t even racist. Was it insensitive? Perhaps. But that’s what comedians do. The lady was joking that Zendaya basically looked like a hippie pot-smoker. Cry me a river. You’re the perfect example of the hyper-sensitive kid who has watered down the definition of racism so much that no one even cares when you squeal about it online.

      “And I don’t think you know what you’re reporting. Zendaya already explained that she knew what the store policy was after the manager explained it, the issue was the cashier was rude and eyeing them and then threw her wallet at her after asking for an ID so…”

      So ipso facto, “racism!” Nope. Again, the race card comes into play when celebrities that look as white as Joseph Gordon-Levitt (and about 15 years old), attribute nefarious racial animus to something that obviously wasn’t racism. Oooooh, a store clerk was annoyed that a couple of kids tried to buy $400 worth of gift cards on one credit card. Shocker! Maybe she has a white hood in her closet. Or not, because this was a total non-story.

      “And a heads up, you used the word empathy wrong in your response to a comment, that person will never understand b/c they’re not a minority but they still might feel SYMPATHY, empathy is when you’ve actually experienced the same thing and can understand exactly how they feel …like come on, at least know grammar.”

      “Heads up” back at you — empathy is the right word because all people can be racist and bigoted, and somewhere along the lines my guess is that almost every adult in a multi-racial society who doesn’t live in a bubble has experienced episodic instances of both.

      Since you’re the kind of person who complains about “micro-agressions,” perhaps you’re also the kind of person who says only white people can be racist. Yawn. Maybe you and Suey Park can be friends.

      Do you find it weird that you make arguments that racist plantation owners from the 1800s would love? Do you find it sad that college campuses now willingly opt for separate but equal housing — at the behest of minorities? We’re actually going backwards in time thanks to people like you. Congratulations and welcome to Safe Space America.

    2. Hi Kayla,

      I’m a minority. Though I have found that my status as a minority among people like you is entirely dependent on whether I’m on your side or not. See I’m half-white…like Zendaya and the current president.

      As an American of Filipino descent, I’ve endured a lot of racism, and sadly, much of that has come from other minorities. One of the most disheartening things about people that believe only whites can be racist, is that when racism is practiced against my people or various other people in the communities we grew up in, it doesn’t count. I’ve had friends nearly murdered for their ethnicity and watched groups of people mock my race, my culture and my people as if we were animals. I suppose we will need to wait for some white people to come do that to get justice for it.

      To cut to the chase though, I don’t know if you’re a minority or not, or what your beliefs are, but this race to the bottom is hurting the people you claim to champion. The current college, social justice culture emphasizes our weakness and seeks to bring equality through either pity from whites or anger from minorities towards whites.

      I, and many people like me already see through that, and I wish people like yourself would start looking at your own words and realize how condescending and patronizing they are. We don’t need pity, we don’t need safe spaces, and celebrating our victimhood is pitiful and dishonorable.

      This strategy not only is failing to accomplish your goals, they are getting people killed. I can’t believe we have come to the point where serious people say that black on black crime such as murder is less important than police brutality…I’m sorry, I’m always going to care about that more…that sort of thing took too many innocent lives where I grew up. Why did the mass murder of black people only matter when 1 white person walked into a church and did it?

      Zendaya went into that place to show the world that she’s a victim too. To show solidarity with other victims. We should be celebrating our accomplishments and passing the racists by…instead people like you want to wallow in their filth and add as many people as possible to your list of aggressors. We should be past this.

    3. “I’m a minority. Though I have found that my status as a minority among people like you is entirely dependent on whether I’m on your side or not. See I’m half-white…like Zendaya and the current president. As an American of Filipino descent, I’ve endured a lot of racism, and sadly, much of that has come from other minorities. […] I’ve had friends nearly murdered for their ethnicity and watched groups of people mock my race, my culture and my people as if we were animals. I suppose we will need to wait for some white people to come do that to get justice for it.”

      It will be interesting to see if Kayla responds, although there is a very good chance she was a drive-by troll. They’re never really interested in having a real conversation. They don’t want to hear anything that contradicts they’re prescribed talking points, so they disappear before guys like you have chance to grab their attention.

      I commend your restraint in that response, Chuck. You’re definitely the “good cop” to my “bad cop” in that exchange. (Ooops, I used a cop metaphor. Maybe that’s a ‘micro-aggression’ to Kayla. I’m … not sorry.)

      I am so sick and tired of being told to walk around on eggshells because someone like Kayla might accuse me of racism or micro-aggressions. I’m through bending over backwards to try and reason with people who say only white people can be racist, that I have never encountered bigotry because of the color of my skin (classic!), and that even if I did it’s okay because…slavery once existed in the U.S. (and everywhere else around the globe). It’s going to be 2200 and future Kayla’s will still be crying about the 1800s.

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