To paraphrase Big Daddy Kane, shilling for Wal-Mart ain’t easy. From the New York Times’ Michael Barbaro and Steven Greenhouse.
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 œripped off urban communities for years, œselling 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 œshould displace mom-and-pop stores in urban neighborhoods.
œYou see those are the people who have been overcharging us, he said of the owners of the small stores, œand 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, 74, a former mayor of Atlanta and a former United States representative to the United Nations, 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.
At least two good things have resulted from this ugly incident. For one, I’ve finally found a newspaper with a worse website than the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune. For another, this will probably quash Best Buy’s plans to have Julian Bond speak out against independent record stores.