Lowering Standards For Economic Revitalization?

A columnist argues that some black leaders' embrace of Wal-Mart and its low wages in poor neighborhoods sends the wrong message.
February 3, 2004, 9am PST | David Gest
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"The retailing giant Wal-Mart must be nirvana for black people." In one Wal-Mart commercial, "we are told that the Crenshaw area of Los Angeles was saved by Wal-Mart...Apparently some among black leadership believe that businesses, no matter how exploitative, are always good for their needy communities. John Mack, president of the Los Angeles Urban League, said, 'We need to have retail outlets that are convenient and offer quality goods and services at low prices. I really think that there are potential economic benefits for this community with the addition of a Wal-Mart'...but a corporation that has cheated employees out of wages and has fired employees because they are in interracial relationships makes the case that half a loaf is worse than none...Some Wal-Mart employees in California were given information on how to apply for food stamps and other welfare benefits. Do black neighborhoods really need more public assistance? I was under the impression that employment was supposed to end the need for public assistance, not provide for it."

Thanks to David Gest

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Published on Saturday, January 24, 2004 in Orlando Weekly
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