Opinion

A victory for racial justice

The racial discrimination that recently threatened America the Beautiful has finally come to an end: the bigots running CVS Pharmacy have at long last overturned their draconian and racist Nail Polish Remover ID policies. The pivot comes after mounting public pressure from civil rights leaders and bloggers who took issue with the pharmacy chain’s decision Monday to require a photo ID the purchase nail polish remover at drugstores across the country.

Equality may have won the day, but the insidious forces of oppression linger, and we must remain vigilant lest the drugstore chain gain any more traction in its battle against poor minorities. The recent infringement on the freedom of the disadvantaged to be free of cracked nail coverings followed the Supreme Court’s decision in June to strike down key provisions of the Coating Rights Act, which for years has protected the rights of all Americans to maintain pretty-looking finger- and toenails. Prior to the court’s decision, the law had been widely interpreted to protect the freedom to chemically remove old, crusty nail polish when it flakes and looks unattractive, and when it simply doesn’t go with that dress.

For nearly a week, the neighborhood pharmacy giant pushed a thinly veiled racist agenda, and if left unchecked, CVS will once again threaten the summer ensembles of the least advantaged among us.

Still not convinced? Consider this: how many times at checkout have you seen customers use “secret codes” left for them in newspaper inserts, which entitle them to discounts and rewards? How many times has the cashier asked for your address, or charged you a different tax rate depending on where you were shopping?

These racist nail polish ID rules are just the latest in a long series of attempts to blemish the beggared. They hearken back to the company’s earliest days as a 5-and-10¢ store selling sarsaparilla to post-bellum belles in the Jim Crow South.

For those readers too blinded by their racial hatred to understand the nefarious motivation for this cynical policy shift, let me spell it out for you: just because something is free and widely available doesn’t mean it’s easy to get. Indeed, it’s just about impossible for poor people and racial minorities to acquire what is perhaps the most basic component of modern society that is already required for lots of other things.

Still don’t see the racism? Newsflash: not everybody can get an ID, at no personal cost, in many convenient locations because not everyone is able to move. Sure, almost everybody can. But that narrow-minded assumption ignores the countless rural cosmetics consumers who can neither drive themselves, nor ask anyone they know to drive them, nor take a bus, nor ride a train. Everyone knows that country folk don’t leave their homes except when they travel to work by monorail.