Civil rights leader resigns after telling an African-American newspaper that Jewish, Arab and Korean shop owners had ripped off urban communities
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, 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.
“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.”
His remarks drew forceful condemnation from Arab, Jewish and Asian leaders.
The national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham H. Foxman, called the comments “very hurtful.”
“The sad part,” he said, is that “even people of color and even minorities who suffered discrimination and prejudice are not immune from being bigoted and racist and even anti-Semitic.”
ADL: Andrew Young's Bigoted Comments "Offensive, Hurtful and Shameful"
Last thing Wal-Mart needed
Young quits as Wal-Mart lobbyist after racial remarks