Former Atlanta mayor and U.N. ambassador Andrew Young has landed in hot water after making racist comments in an interview with a Los Angeles newspaper:
In an interview published in Thursday’s Los Angeles Sentinel, Young was asked to comment on whether he is concerned that Wal-Mart causes mom-and-pop stores to close.
“Well, I think they should; they ran the ‘mom and pop’ stores out of my neighborhood,” the Sentinel, a newspaper serving the African-American community, reported. “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.”
Both Frank Stephenson and Michael Munger suggest that the lack of outrage from the political left (when compared to that against George Allen for his “macaca” blunder this past week) is due to a double standard, whereby Democratic politicians get a “pass” for things that Republicans would not.
I’d argue, however, that Young is pretty much a marginal figure in contemporary American politics with no real history of racist comments or actions, albeit one with some influence in the African-American community; comparing him to Cynthia McKinney or Trent Lott, who have extensive, documented histories of racist and otherwise questionable actions in public office seems a bit extreme.
Indeed, the fact that Young was–until the incident–working on behalf of a group supporting Wal-Mart’s efforts to invest in inner-city communities would seem to make him an opportune target for those on the left.