Saturday, August 19, 2006

Walmart's PR move goes wrong

Andrew Young, the veteran civil rights activist who served as America's first black ambassador to the United Nations was hired to help Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to improve its public image.

Mr. Young, 74, also a former mayor of Atlanta, was forced to step down as an adviser to Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, after making the comments, in which he said that Jewish, Korean and Arab storekeepers had "ripped off" black communities.

There goes racsism again, coming from a prominent US civil rights icon. Mr. Young immediatley apologised following of his his interview where he made the comments.

In the interview with the Los Angeles Sentinel, Mr Young was asked if he was concerned whether Wal-Mart's dominance in the United States was destroying its competition and putting smaller stores out of business - an accusation that has long been directed at the retail giant that accounts for 20 per cent of US grocery sales.

Mr Young replied: "Well, I think they should. They ran the 'mom and pop' stores out of my neighbourhood. 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."

In a statement posted on the Working Families for Wal-Mart Web site on Thursday, Young apologized for his remarks and asked for forgiveness from those who he offended.

Walmart said Mr. Young's comments do not reflect their feelings.

This just shows how sensitive racial matters are.

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