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IS IT RACISM? THE NEW ANDREW YOUNG AFFAIR

 

 

 

By Jon Christian Ryter

September 6, 2006

NewsWithViews.com

It can't be racism. After all, former UN Ambassador Andrew Young is an African-American—the new minority within minority America. It's common knowledge in the world of the far left that only whites are racists. Practitioners of social justice have been telling us that for years. Discrimination, everyone knows, is about white prejudices. That's the reason, black advocates insist, that discrimination laws (particularly those dealing with college admissions) cannot be used by Caucasians against African Americans or Hispanics. And, that's the reason that hate crimes committed by minorities in the United States against Caucasians are seldom, if ever, classified as hate crimes—even with those committing the crimes use racial epitaphs when they commit them.

When former Jimmy Carter UN Ambassador Young told the African American weekly Los Angeles Sentinel on Aug. 18, 2006, that Jewish, Korean and Arab grocers in LA "...ripped off [the African American community. Those are the people who have been overcharging us," Young was quoted as saying, "selling us stale bread and bad meat and wilted vegetables. First it was the Jews, then it was the Koreans and now its the Arabs. Very few black people own those stores." At the moment he spoke, Young was serving as an official spokesman for Walmart Stores. Young's statement was prompted by an off-the-cuff question fired at him by the Sentinel reporter who asked about Walmart's displacing mom and pop stores whenever they build a new store. He prefaced his remark against hand-to-mouth shop owners by saying he thought Walmart should run them out of business just as "...they ran the mom-and-pop stores out of my neighborhood." (His words were more than just a vague, subtle hint that blacks should spend their money at Walmart Food Stores where the bread isn't stale, the meat isn't bad and the vegetables aren't wilted.)

Young was a paid Walmart spokesman who headed a Walmart-financed advocacy group, Working Families for Walmart which is attempting to combat the growing negative Walmart image nationwide that is being fanned by union-backed Walmart Watch in Washington, DC. Walmart's sales figures plummeted during the quarter ending July 31. This was the first time Walmart reported negative sales figures in ten years. And even though Walmart moved quickly to distance itself from Young and his inflammatory remarks by announcing that Young had resigned as spokesman for Working Families for Walmart, the largest retailer in the world could not escape the backlash.

Paul Park president of the California Korean-American Grocery Retailers' Association filed a libel lawsuit against Young—and Walmart Stores, Inc.—In Los Angeles County Superior Court for $7.5 million when the article appeared in print. The suit alleged that the derogatory comments made by Young on behalf of his employer, Walmart Stores, Inc., defamed the reputations of the Korean-American grocers and harmed their sales. Association secretary Gene Park (the owner of a liquor store in South Los Angeles) told the Associated Press that "...there is no evidence that members sold those kinds of spoiled items...If people think we charge higher prices, or sell bad food, they wouldn't come in anymore." Which is true. Nobody who shops where they have to shell out hard cash (or plastic) to get the groceries they are buying will buy stale bread, wilted vegetables or spoiled meat. Someone very desperate for food, who is panhandling, or buying on the cuff—and who plans to stiff the grocer—might accept substandard food, but I can't imagine any consumer who is spending their hard-earned money for groceries to feed their children would settle for rotten food at any price when they could walk around any corner and find another store will palatable food they can buy.

But, while Young's statement was deliberate slander, Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor who is an expert in libel law, told the media that its unlikely that the California Korean-American Grocery Retailers' Association will prevail in their lawsuit because the plaintiff's group is simply too large and too vague for any plaintiff to support a claim that he or she had been harmed. "As a general rule," Volokh said, "you can sue if someone makes false statements about you personally. [And] you can sue if someone makes false statements about a small group of people [that includes] you. But when statements are made about a very large group of people, no particular member of that group can sue for libel." In this case, the Association appears to be suing for themselves, claiming that because Young's remarks injured the reputations of Korean-American shop owners and hurt their sales, it also damaged the Association itself.

Nu Wexler, a spokesman for Walmart Watch observed that "...Walmart hired Young to conduct outreach to minority communities, and he's insulting and demeaning them instead. The small, family-owned grocers that Young dismisses are the economic backbone of many urban neighborhood, and they provide a valuable service to the communities they represent."

This isn't the first time the former Atlanta, Georgia mayor—Jimmy Carter buddy and UN Ambassador from 1977-79 —embarrassed his boss. This time, Young resigned before Walmart could fire him—which they would have been forced to do had he not resigned. The first time, former UN Ambassador Young also resigned to keep from being fired by his boss after meeting privately with a representative of the Palestinian Liberation Organization—which Carter would have had to do, too since Young violated US policy and, for that matter—US law. The first Young Affair was an embarrassment to Carter and the State Department (causing the resignation of his Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance) during the startup of the problems between Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah that led to the interdiction of the US Marines in Beirut, and during the Reagan years, the bombing of the US Marine barracks in Beirut.

Once he was fired as UN Ambassador (being asked to resign in government is being fired), Young spoke out angrily, denouncing Israel as the "oppressor" of the peace-loving Palestinians. Ignoring the terrorism of Hamas and Hezbollah that provoked Israel, Young denounced Israel's retaliation as terrorism, claiming Israel lost its moral advantage by bombing Lebanon. The New York Times did an op-ed piece in which the article's author said that the resignation of Andrew Young "...brings into sharp focus the immense power of the Israeli lobby in this country."

From the moment Carter appointed Young, the first term Congressman from Georgia was an embarrassment to the Carter Administration. Young's off-the-cuff controversial remarks made headlines—even after he stepped down from his UN post. On Oct. 16, 1980 during the Reagan-Carter race, the New York Times reported on a statement Young made about a speech given by California governor Ronald Reagan. Young noted that Reagan was "...speaking to a crowd made up almost entirely of whites. Mr. Reagan said: I believe in States rights. I believe in people doing as much as they can at the private level. The Republican presidential nominee added that if elected, he would reorder priorities and restore to States and local governments the power that properly belongs to them. If he had gone to Biloxi, Mississippi and talked about States rights, if he had gone to New Orleans, or Birmingham, Alabama, I would not have gotten upset. But when you go to Philadelphia, Mississippi where James Chaney, Andy Goodman and Michael Schwerner were killed—murdered—by the sheriff and the deputy sheriff and a government posse protecting States rights, and you go down there and start talking about States rights, that looks like a code word to me that it's going to be all right to kill niggers when he's president."

That is Andrew Young in a nutshell. Although he is black, the man is a racist who shoots off his mouth without thinking through what he wants to say—or, reasonably—should or should not say. Young has a smart side, but its not reflected in his off-the-cuff remarks which he feels he's entitled to make because he's black. In 1981 Young was elected mayor of Atlanta, Georgia and was one of the best mayors in the country. When Atlanta fell on hard times Young created positive media coverage for the city by encouraging international investments which brought the city's economy around. But, that and the 1996 Summer Olympics, are the only smart political moves Young made.

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Young—a man who is sensitive about his own ethnicentrism—lives in a glass house. He should be the last person in the world throwing stones. As much as I feel the lawsuit filed by the California Korean-American Grocery Retailers' Association is a frivolous lawsuit, I would very much like to see the Korean-American grocers win this one against Young—and against Walmart, too. Walmart should have taken the five minutes needed to research the reputation of the man they were hiring as their spokesman. When you hire a racist as your spokesman, be prepared to pay the piper.

© 2006 Jon C. Ryter - All Rights Reserved

[Read "Whatever Happened to America?"]

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Jon Christian Ryter is the pseudonym of a former newspaper reporter with the Parkersburg, WV Sentinel. He authored a syndicated newspaper column, Answers From The Bible, from the mid-1970s until 1985. Answers From The Bible was read weekly in many suburban markets in the United States.

Today, Jon is an advertising executive with the Washington Times. His website, www.jonchristianryter.com has helped him establish a network of mid-to senior-level Washington insiders who now provide him with a steady stream of material for use both in his books and in the investigative reports that are found on his website.

E-Mail: BAFFauthor@aol.com


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Once he was fired as UN Ambassador (being asked to resign in government is being fired), Young spoke out angrily, denouncing Israel as the "oppressor" of the peace-loving Palestinians. Ignoring the terrorism of Hamas and Hezbollah that provoked Israel....