Saturday, August 19, 2006

Democratic BackChannels: Tough Love for Our Own Side of the Aisle

When my eyes caught the online headline yesterday that civil rights leader Andrew Young had stepped down from a WAL-MART job, it barely registered. I thought perhaps he decided that he shouldn't be affiliated with the company anymore. In my dreams. This morning's Roanoke Times (print edition) carried the wire service report with a different headline. It turns out that Young stepped aside from Working Families for WAL-MART, a pro-WAL-MART group, because of a racist assertion. Among the crazy things he spewed:

-- He said of mom and pop stores put out of business by WAL-MART: "Well, I think they should (close)..." (Hint: That's not why he stepped down.)

-- There's more: Andrew Young said: "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. First it was the Jews, then it was the Koreans, and now it's the Arabs, very few black people own these stores." (NOTE: THESE ARE NOT MY WORDS BUT ANDREW YOUNG'S. THEY ARE OUTRAGEOUS, BUT I REPEAT THEM HERE TO SHOW WHAT HE REPORTEDLY SAID.)

Does this not bother you? What's going on here? No free passes for this stuff coming out of Dems mouths, please. Mr. Young is right about only one thing: stores in black neighborhoods often do often overcharge. However, attributing this to race is reprehensible. Fortunately, Mr. Young is not running for anything right now (hopefully never). Unfortunately, he may have lost his ability to defend against such prejudice. And that is a shame.