Saturday, August 19, 2006

Not so Young after all

When civil rights leader, trade union advocate and former UN ambassador Andrew Young stepped in to become a high-paid shill for Wal-mart, it was obvious that his once-lofty status as a statesman plunged to an everyday low. Or so it seemed until Young uttered some rather bigoted and inflammatory remarks that even Wal-mart recognised as offensive. When answering a question about whether Wal-mart forced "mom and pop" stores out of business, he not only acknowledged it but praised the effect on racial grounds:
Well, I think they should; they ran the 'mom and pop' stores out of my neighborhood.

But you see, those are the people who have been overcharging us, selling us stale bread and bad meat and wilted vegetables. And they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they've ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it's Arabs; very few black people own these stores.
Well, howling was sure to follow. And it did. Young was subsequently pummeled by outraged groups and the Wal-mart advocacy group he worked for, who were stunned by such overt bigotry from a man whom one might think a little more atuned to "saying the right thing." And now he is gone, having just resigned amidst a cloud of uproar about the bigotry of a man who should know better.

This is clearly not the kind of "image-building" Wal-mart was looking for: people already know they're bigoted. Young was hired to help change that image, not reinforce it.


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