Patterico's Pontifications


See-Dubya: “Racially or Ethnically Specific”

Filed under: General — See Dubya @ 1:44 am

[A post by See-Dubya]

Patterico is on vacation, so the LA Times has been getting a bit of a free pass. But I had to say something about Erin Aubry Kaplan’s rant about Andrew Young, former spokesman for Wal-Mart. Young, you will remember, said something stupid the other day:

Well, I think they should; they ran the `mom and pop’ stores out of my neighborhood,” the paper quoted Young as saying. “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.

And Kaplan doesn’t think it’s that bad:

Young repeated what blacks have said for generations: that members of other ethnic groups account for a disproportionate share of the merchant class in their own community.He said it badly, and in painting all those merchants as uncaring and unethical, he said it too broadly. But he had a point. The chronic lack of business ownership among blacks in black communities is a real problem, and it was a major factor in civil unrest in 1965 and in 1992.

Young’s comments were called racist, and I don’t entirely agree. Certainly it’s despicable to exploit racial and economic anxiety in order to convince the black media that Wal-Mart is a solution. Being racially or ethnically specific, however, is not the same as being racist.

First, Ms. Kaplan, what would be a “proportionate share” of “the merchant class”? Why do we care what race owns the bodegas on in a particular neighborhood? Is, for example, 15% Samoan ownership a good thing or bad thing?

That aside, let’s look at her take on being “ethnically specific”. When is that okay? I can remember as a child and reading my state and local paper (yes, I was a news nerd then too) and noting that it often identified the race of a person who had been arrested. Well, actually it identified race if the person was black. The papers changed this policy in the early eighties because it served no purpose and was rightly criticized as racist. Or so I thought; but perhaps the reporters were just being racially specific.

Andrew Young described an economic problem—shopkeepers selling substandard merchandise—and dressed it up as a racial problem. Doing so is inflammatory and, yes, racist. Ms. Kaplan’s apology for racism like that is just pathetic.

Hat tip to Best of the Web. Cross-posted at Junkyard Blog.

11 Responses to “See-Dubya: “Racially or Ethnically Specific””

  1. “Being racially or ethnically specific, however, is not the same as being racist.”

    I guess George Allen should use this logic.

    sharon (63d8f8)

  2. It wasn’t all that long ago (and I still know one very left wing lady who writes so today, though in private e-mails, not public postings) that people were “concerned” because Jews had done so well in the financial industries.

    Dana (1d5902)

  3. andy young’s statement isn’t anywhere near as bad as his shilling for walmart. while it could have been stated more diplomatically, it is true. interracial competition exists, and the competitors (all of us) occasionally use race to give themselves an edge. tempest in a teapot.

    assistant devil's advocate (f3c2ab)

  4. The blogosphere has become a virtual coffee shop for finger-pointers. Like a group of trusty hall moniters, they’re on the loose with their keyboards.

    Vermont Neighbor (a9ae2c)

  5. So “shilling” for Walmart is worse than inciting racial hatred? Gee, thanks.

    Would you be so sanguine about a white who incited racism to make money? It wasn’t that many decades ago that such behavior by white real estate speculators was a serious civil rights issue.

    Would you regard it as a “tempest in a teapot” if a white demagogue were telling poor whites that all their troubles were the fault of “lazy shiftless blacks”?

    pst314 (672ba2)

  6. They use ENTIMATE DOMAIN to confiscate your grandpas and grandmas store so they can replace it with a big fancy cassino becuase the city officials are crooks and lying reptiles

    krazy kagu (956b5b)

  7. One of the subjects on the writing group I read is how to respond to or use criticism, in this case meaning the constructive kind (or that so intended).

    The criticism may very well be off base, and the suggestions, while intended to be beneficial, may if followed result in something worse, not better. But, in almost every case, the existence of the criticism means that something is wrong. It may not be what the critic said, but something. It’s then the job of the recipient of the criticism to decide what is wrong and how to fix it.

    This is the same thing. The “ripoff” accusation is wrongheaded, and generally itself racist; a small store owner can’t buy a truckload at a time. As a rule, what they do is buy at retail (Wal*Mart) or discounted retail (Sam’s Club or Costco) then mark up to cover expenses and make a profit. That procedure is guaranteed to result in high prices.

    The real question is, why are there few or no black owners of small stores? There is nothing in the law that would prevent or discourage it, and Costco doesn’t care if you’re planning to resell; here in Texas, they won’t charge you the sales tax if you give them a tax number, and I reckon it’s the same in California. I know of no institutional barrier to black people owning small stores. Getting the nut? Maybe that’s a problem, but if a Korean or Pakistani can come here with the clothes on his back and somehow finance the startup, I can’t see why some blacks couldn’t do so.

    Mr. Young’s remarks may be insensitive, even enough to be called “racist”. But the problem he points out is a real one, even if it isn’t precisely the one he identifies. The problem isn’t that it’s Koreans or Arabs or Jews owning the stores; the problem is that it isn’t black people. Why is that?


    Ric Locke (183a29)

  8. “andy young’s statement isn’t anywhere near as bad as his shilling for walmart.”

    What’s wrong with Wal-Mart? Lots of people love Wal-Mart.

    And it’s “eminent domain,” krazy kagu.

    sharon (63d8f8)

  9. #7.

    Let’s rephrase the question? Why are so few poor Americans willing to open up mom and pop stores? It’s not a problem confined to blacks, whites, hispanics, American Indians are involved to. It’s the culture of dependency. Why do anything for yourself when somebody else will do it for you?

    What is the first thing a hard-working black man does when he succeeds? He moves. He takes his wife and his kids and his dog and his cat and he finds a better neighborhood. Because he knows that if he stays his current neighborhood will find someway to drag him down to their level again. It’s bitter rotting jealousy that can’t stand to see any one succeed.

    It’s the same thing you’re seeing now in Gaza. It’s the same thing we’ve been seeing in the city of Leningrad in particular, and Russia as a whole. People who have come to hate hope with a passion and will do anything to destroy it in the hearts of others.

    You’re talking about people who hate to see their neighbors succeed, and who will do whatever they need to to destroy that success. Doing this with the willing assistance of do-gooders and like fools.

    I read a story many years ago in the science fiction magazine Analog. A war had just ended and Earth and her ally were victorious. Earth offered assistance to both parties. Earth’s ally accepted. Earth’s enemy refused.

    Some 20 years later Earth’s old enemy had rebuilt. Their economy was robust, their trade with Earth was strong. Earth considered them a valued partner in tiny part of the galaxy. Earth’s old ally was weak, dependent on charity from Earth, more a burden than an asset. They now hated Earth, but didn’t have the gumption to do anything about it.

    Encouraging people to get back on their feet is a good thing. But the nanny-state discourages that, and that is truely racist.

    Alan Kellogg (942921)

  10. We’re getting into another demonstration of Patterico’s Microscope Theory. The more you focus on a question, the more complex it gets. The low ratio of black owners of small retail businesses is not uniquely American. In Africa, over centuries, people of non-African origin, primarily Arabic and Indian, have been the primary vendors to the general public. Could there be something repellent about retailing – buying goods nd reselling them to your neighbors at a higher price – inherent in their culture? In Southeast Asia, the Chinese are cordially hated by the indigenous peoples for the same reason. In developing nations where small loans are made to help impoverished people start small businesses, why do so very few go to open ing retail sops?
    While WalMart is forcing smalltoown retailers to close their doors, how can small independent “convenience” stores in black neighborhoods provide a decent living to Vietnamese or Koreans whose “wholesaler” is the Costco five miles away? Why do many Ethiopians and Somalians thrive in the U.S. as retailers within their own communities? Somebody could probably rite a book about all this.\? Maybe they already have.

    Andrew Young could have made his point as effectively without any racial reference, but there’s enough of the Rainbow Coalition in him that he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get in a dig at the Jews, throwing in a couple of other racial groups so as to not unduly discourage other large businesses from emplying his services. It was gratuitous. It should be held against his record.

    stuart williiamson (db7ab1)

  11. Alan Kellog says:

    What is the first thing a hard-working black man does when he succeeds? He moves. He takes his wife and his kids and his dog and his cat and he finds a better neighborhood. Because he knows that if he stays his current neighborhood will find someway to drag him down to their level again. It’s bitter rotting jealousy that can’t stand to see any one succeed.

    Bingo! And then, he’s no longer authentically black, according to the race pimps.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

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