Friday, August 18, 2006


Shilling for Wal-Mart? Bashing immigrants? Qualifying his apology for immigrant-bashing by insisting that he doesn't actually believe what he said, but also that his remarks were accurate?

When did Andy Young become a Republican?

The civil rights leader Andrew Young, who was hired by Wal-Mart to improve its public image, resigned from that post last night after telling an African-American newspaper that Jewish, Arab and Korean shop owners had "ripped off" urban communities for years, "selling us stale bread, and bad meat and wilted vegetables."

In the interview, published yesterday in The Los Angeles Sentinel, a weekly, Mr. Young said that Wal-Mart "should" displace mom-and-pop stores in urban neighborhoods.

"You see those are the people who have been overcharging us," he said of the owners of the small stores, "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."

Mr. Young ... apologized for the comments and retracted them in an interview last night. Less than an hour later, he resigned as chairman of Working Families for Wal-Mart, a group created and financed by the company to trumpet its accomplishments.

"It's against everything I ever thought in my life," Mr. Young said. "It never should have been said. I was speaking in the context of Atlanta, and that does not work in New York or Los Angeles."...

Explaining his comments about Koreans, Jews and Arabs, Mr. Young said he was referring to the history of retail ownership in the neighborhood where he lives in southwestern Atlanta.

"Almost everyone who has come into my community has moved in, made money and moved out and moved up," he said. "That process is still continuing." ...

Wow, it's been a hell of a month for racist speech. Mel Gibson. George Allen. (By the way, the deepest research into Allen's "Macaca" insult is from Jeffrey Feldman at Frameshop; Feldman finds the word at quite a few racist bulletin boards, in reference to people such as Rodney King.) The Weekly Standard cover that depicts Al Sharpton as a chauffeur. Marty Petertz's "Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Maxine Waters have stumped for Mr. Lamont. As I say, we have been here before." And, in case you missed it, there was what Tramm Hudson, a Republican who's running for the House seat being vacated by Katherine Harris. said to a Christian Coalition meeting:

"I grew up in Alabama. I understand, uh, I know from experience, that blacks are not the greatest swimmers or may not even know how to swim."

Where does that come from? That's not just Al Campanis said -- it's an incredibly widespread belief. I don't get it.

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