Black Racism?
August 18, 2006 6:02 PM   Subscribe

From WalMart's latest PR campaign: "I think they've ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it's Arabs..." The author? Former MLK lieut, Andrew Young.
posted by mischief (46 comments total)
 
What's the big deal? Everybody knows black people can't be racist.
posted by keswick at 6:11 PM on August 18, 2006


The good news? He's agreed to replace Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon 5.
But seriously: WTF? with his history in diplomacy?
posted by hal9k at 6:15 PM on August 18, 2006


God damn other minorities. Always taking it from the blacks!
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:23 PM on August 18, 2006


Black... racism?

/headasplodes
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:24 PM on August 18, 2006


It is interesting that he took such interest in John Rocker's remarks and finds himself in a similar situation.
posted by Frank Grimes at 6:24 PM on August 18, 2006


Andy Young has been that king of guy all along. Large numbers of lib'rulz were constitutionally incapable of hearing it.
posted by jfuller at 6:36 PM on August 18, 2006


Speaking as someone who has lived in several, shall we say, predominantly African American neighborhoods of low socio-economic character, I can say that I have seen party stores owned by blacks rip off blacks (and all other comers) just as mendaciously as any other race. While the cultural conflicts are excerbated by race, the prices are colorblind.
posted by klangklangston at 6:40 PM on August 18, 2006


I have no experience with Wallmart. Nevertheless, is it not indeed the case that Jews, Koreans, and Arabs / Middle Easterners are historically the main ethnic groups involved in the corner shop business in urban America? Why is that racist?
posted by Meatbomb at 6:43 PM on August 18, 2006


He said it's okay if the little stores get driven out of business, Meatbomb, because they aren't run by black people.
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:48 PM on August 18, 2006


Why is that racist?

Any time I hear someone talk about "the Jews," "the Arabs," "the Koreans," or "the ," it sets off all kinds of racist alarm bells in my head. The fact is, "the Jews," "the Arabs," and "the Koreans," don't rip anybody off. Individual store owners rip people off - and that's assuming that any "ripping off" is actually going on in the first place.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:48 PM on August 18, 2006


(I forgot that MeFi eats angle brackets. "the ," is supposed to read "the <insert ethnicity here>")
posted by Afroblanco at 6:50 PM on August 18, 2006


Andy Young has been that king of guy all along. Large numbers of lib'rulz were constitutionally incapable of hearing it.

Bravo. I was having a hard time trying to figure out how to work this one so that liberals could somehow be blamed - nice twist.

Feh.
posted by FormlessOne at 7:00 PM on August 18, 2006


"I think they've ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it's Arabs..."

Yeah, it's high time we let a bunch of Arkansas good ol' boys rip us off instead.

Stick it to the man, Andy! Pow-er to the pee-ple!

*raises arm in Black Panther salute*
posted by jason's_planet at 7:18 PM on August 18, 2006


Maybe he'd been drinking.
posted by owhydididoit at 7:31 PM on August 18, 2006


Thank you, Andy Young, for making me more comfortable with my antiblack prejudices. :oP
posted by pax digita at 7:51 PM on August 18, 2006


From this article alone, it's actually plausible to read his remark as not being racist, if he were saying that, generally, these stores are not run by locals anyway. To say they're not black may be one and the same to him as saying they're not local to the neighborhood, Atlanta being as segregated as it is. Even then, the phrasing itself is pretty damn indelicate. (This would jibe with his characterization of it as "racist shorthand.")

I'm not even advocating this position, I'm just saying there's room for doubt here.
posted by abcde at 8:01 PM on August 18, 2006


From this article alone, it's actually plausible to read his remark as not being racist, if he were saying that, generally, these stores are not run by locals anyway

Uh, no.
posted by Paris Hilton at 8:03 PM on August 18, 2006


sad...at least they fired him, i heard.
posted by amberglow at 8:04 PM on August 18, 2006


On a happier note, the community of Cedar Mill, an unincoporated area near Portland, Oregon has prevailed against the installation of a WalMart store at a busy crossroads. Yay for citizen activism.
posted by Cranberry at 8:55 PM on August 18, 2006


jfuller writes "Andy Young has been that king of guy all along. Large numbers of lib'rulz were constitutionally incapable of hearing it."

Nice to see that the twat contingent has joined the discussion!
posted by clevershark at 9:01 PM on August 18, 2006


Having lived in Andy Young's town for 20 years now, I can tell you that he's made increasingly weird endorsements in recent years. Too many to bother enumerating, but basically his cred has gone out the window. Probably a combination of aging and being surrounded by yes-men. And lots of money.
posted by intermod at 9:02 PM on August 18, 2006


Mayor Young lost his credibility when he took the Wal-Mart PR job in the first place, sending letters to various church headquarters admonishing them for pinning the ills of the world on the hardworking folk of Bentonville. Or perhaps he lost it ten years ago, when he staged a cursory inspection of Nike's offshore factories and saw nothing even resembling a sweatshop.

And he wasn't fired from Wal-Mart. He resigned.

Just a shame, really. He was a good mayor, a decent ambassador ... just somewhere, somehow, he changed.
posted by grabbingsand at 9:22 PM on August 18, 2006


He's just angry because, like most black people, he can't swim.
posted by jonson at 10:38 PM on August 18, 2006


as a Black person, i can tell you that generally speaking, Black people are REALLY not the greatest swimmers. and that includes the ones from warm island nations. go figure.

i seem to recall a few years ago, that one Black athlete almost drowned at the Olympics. people actually wanted to jump into the pool and save him. but he had that other thing we have - determination, and he made it. think it took him 12 minutes to swim a distance everyone else swam in less that 2.

and as my Black friend Rick says, we're not the greatest boaters either. and for some reason, when we are enticed onto a boat, he notes that we always wanna know where it's going, and most importantly, when it's coming back - with us still on it.

now, i can't swim for shit. i do happen to sail, but i am the only Black person i know who does. and in 25 years of sailing in England and Canada, i have never seen another Black person in a sailboat. i also row, but i started that in school in England and i haven't seen another Black sculler either, but i am sure there must be some. somewhere.
posted by TrinityB5 at 11:43 PM on August 18, 2006


Sheer curiosity gets the better of me, and I have to ask. TrinityB5, do you believe there is something about the genetic makeup of Black people that makes them worse swimmers?
posted by jonson at 11:56 PM on August 18, 2006




One thing can be said in Young's defense. He came straight out and said this:

""It was a racist shorthand, which was wrong."

No beating around the bush, no spin, no trying to smooth over or reword what he'd said. He just came out and said it was racist. Period. And apologized. Now, when was the last time any white politician who put his foot in his mouth in a similar circumstance actually just came out and declared that what he'd said was racist, using the R word and everything?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:13 AM on August 19, 2006


Sheer curiosity gets the better of me, and I have to ask. TrinityB5, do you believe there is something about the genetic makeup of Black people that makes them worse swimmers?

A study published in the July 2001 issue of Pediatrics stated that black males aged 10 to 19 are 15 times more likely to drown in a swimming pool than white males from the same age group.

The genes that code for bone density and body fat percentage may play a role in those statistics.
posted by Human Flesh at 3:41 AM on August 19, 2006


Its likely socio-economic class & resulting cultural influences. Swimming pool memberships cost money. Plus rich people have that whole nutty baby swim thing. But "Europe had no alligators" is a fun theory.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:23 AM on August 19, 2006


Something kinda bugging me: there's an undertone of barely disguised glee in a couple of these comments, that sort of "Look, see? SEE? They're racist! Blacks can be racist!" I mean, what's the point of all that? Like, what, this means that black people don't have any legitimate axe to grind about racism? A comment like Young's (or any other black who happens to utter a racist comment) somehow negates the civil rights movement, the legitimate charges of racism that black people often level at white society? I mean, I know no one is exactly coming out and saying that, but, it's a feeling I get.

mischief, I found it kind of interesting that you added "BlackRacism" as a tag, but not also just the word "racism". Perhaps I'm reading too much into that particular little omission, but it semms to sort of relate to the point I'm trying to make here. Why don't we just call it "racism"?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:03 AM on August 19, 2006


I should correct the comment I posted earlier. It seems that black males aged 10-14 drown in artificial swimming pools at a rate that is 15.1 times higher than white males in the same age group.

I don't see how economic factors would explain why white males drown more frequently than black females (per 100 000 person-years of their respective populations). Also, if we rule out the possibility of a biological influence, we have a hard time explaining why the drowning rate for black males goes up after puberty (i. e. the time when the lean body mass of males is likely to increase). Here are some interesting data about bone density.
posted by Human Flesh at 6:07 AM on August 19, 2006


I think the real question here is: Was Andrew Young swimming when he made that racist comment?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:10 AM on August 19, 2006


that sort of "Look, see? SEE? They're racist! Blacks can be racist!" I mean, what's the point of all that? Like, what, this means that black people don't have any legitimate axe to grind about racism?

Well, there are people who will deny against all evidence that blacks or any other oppressed people are capable of bigotry. I'm not sure why, but I think it's some need to see them as magical saintly beings whose every utterance is holy writ.

But you know what? Oppressed people can be assholes, too. That's what equality means, I guess.
posted by jonmc at 6:22 AM on August 19, 2006


Wouldn't lean body mass makes you more likely to drown? Fat floats & muscle don't. And males are really good at getting themselves killed.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:35 AM on August 19, 2006


Wouldn't lean body mass makes you more likely to drown?

Yes, exactly.
posted by Human Flesh at 6:48 AM on August 19, 2006


I was a lifeguard with a black guy. He claimed that black men tended to be "sinkers".
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:14 AM on August 19, 2006




So, basically, we WASPs float beacuse we're fattys.
posted by bonehead at 10:30 AM on August 19, 2006


But "Europe had no alligators" is a fun theory.

That doesn't make any sense. If anything, the presence of alligators or crocs would mean that, through the process of natural selection, only the best and fastest swimmers would emerge. There has to be some other reason. Maybe black people are just turned off by the cultural baggage of boats in general.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:34 AM on August 19, 2006


Thanks for that bone density chart human flesh. I remember reading about that regarding african americans and swimming years ago. And I could swear it was in the science section of the NYTimes.
posted by vronsky at 10:47 AM on August 19, 2006


And I know this is thin ice territory for a wasp like me but I never really saw it as a negative quality. Certainly no more negative than "White Men Can't Jump".
posted by vronsky at 10:50 AM on August 19, 2006


That doesn't make any sense. If anything, the presence of alligators or crocs would mean that, through the process of natural selection, only the best and fastest swimmers would emerge. There has to be some other reason. Maybe black people are just turned off by the cultural baggage of boats in general.

No ... if anything, the process of natural selection would ensure that only the smartest and brightest would survive, because they knew to keep out of croc-infested waters in the first place. Even the slowest croc is much faster than the most jacked-up, cock diesel swimming mutant.

Europeans, on the other hand, developed buoyancy as a sort of evolutionary consolation prize for their other water-related mutation: the need to form Polar Bear clubs.
posted by mph at 11:58 AM on August 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


racism in the US is still a white man's game. Black people never legislated against Koreans or Jews. People of color who play this game are sure suckers, though it must be exhausting for People of color, and especially black folks, to remind themselves that not everyone lives lives so delimited by their skin color.

While the cultural conflicts are excerbated by race, the prices are colorblind.

I totally agree, our economic system is so horrible, i'm not sure if it makes racism worse, or it's that racism makes it worse.

The motive to cheat someone because of a difference in "race" and the motive to cheat someone because it's "economically rational" completely aggravate each other. It's especially "economically rational" to cheat someone outo f wages because of their race (or sex-gender, for that matter), and especially racist to rip people off.

Fuck you, Wal-Mart.
posted by eustatic at 12:30 PM on August 19, 2006


So do white men float for the same reason they can't jump?


posted by nlindstrom at 12:43 PM on August 19, 2006


from ooOOoo ... ooOOoo's link ...

Ambassador Young believes that capitalism succeeded in creating a middle class in America, but that capitalism and the free enterprise system has yet to prove that it can be made to work for poor people. That poverty is the issue of the 21st century, both here and abroad.

because we all know that jews, koreans and arabs are born rich and come over here with suitcases full of money ... my point being that they seem to make it work for them, to a certain degree, even though they may not have a lot of money at first

how exploitative they happen to be is something that varies from store to store, i'm sure ... having actually worked in the business, i can tell you for a fact that no one gets rich from a single convenience store

for what it's worth, in my neck of the woods it seems to be mostly sikhs and hindus from india running these places, and i don't think they run them as rip offs ...

there's no law stopping black people from opening a store ... and yes, many are poor, but if a couple of families pull their resources together and have their family members all mind the store, it can work out ... that's the way many immigrants do it ...

truth is, i don't know if walmart is any worse to work for or buy from than mom and pop ... i've worked for mom and pop, anyway ...
posted by pyramid termite at 5:22 PM on August 19, 2006


Wallmart homogenizes the world & limits your options as a consumer. But so do mom & pop shops who all buy from the same supplier. What you want is numerous regional chains who feel compelled to diferentiate themselves from one another. But most managment is stupid & just apes other managment.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:41 AM on August 20, 2006


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