5 Boycotts that Lacked Bite

The call for a boycott doesn't do as much as people think.

(Page 5 of 5)

5. South Carolina

In 1999, the NAACP called for a boycott of South Carolina to try to force the state to take the Confederate flag off the top of the state capitol building in Columbia.

In 2000, the civil rights group got its wish, but then the flag was moved to a monument on the state grounds for fallen Confederate soldiers and is pretty much just as visible as it was before. So the NAACP has refused to end its boycott.

The NAACP claims support is strong for the boycott, pointing to conferences looking elsewhere and the Harlem Globetrotters and NCAA tournaments avoiding the state. But in 2010 black South Carolina state Sen. Robert Ford, responsible for the compromise that moved the flag from the state house, said that the boycott was essentially over and no longer held public support.

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  • tarran||

    The Streissand Effect: kicking up a fuss about something makes it more popular than if you had kept your mouth shut.

  • fried wylie||

    As the recent consumer activity surrounding Chick-fil-A shows, boycotts are not often effective tools in today’s civil rights movements.

    I don't know if that says as much about the effectiveness of boycotts as it says about how awesome their food is.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Well, if that were the only thing, the Dominoes boycott would have worked.

  • fried wylie||

    If a boycott falls in a vacant restaurant, does it make a sound?

  • LarryA||

    Boycotts can be effective. Before you launch one, however, don't forget to do the math.

    If the number of your supporters who will quit buying the target's product is less than the number of opponents who will make a point of buying the target's product because of your boycott, you're screwed right out of the gate.

    Witness last Valentine's Day boycott of Starbucks by anti-gun folks, because the coffee people wouldn't ban concealed carry. Gun-rights supporters got $2 bills (get it? Second Amendment) and flooded the tip jars.

    The same thing happened at Chick-fil-A. In fact, the mayor's threats produced an entirely predictible double reaction with "traditional family" folks and First Amendment supporters. Backfires are loud.

  • Mike M.||

    As the recent consumer activity surrounding Chick-fil-A shows, boycotts are not often effective tools in today’s civil rights movements.

    The problem is that most normal people know that it's absolutely ludicrous to try and compare Dan Cathy's personal opinion to the state-permitted discrimination going in the south decades ago.

    Everyone knows full well that Chick-Fil-A isn't violating anybody's civil rights, so compared to the boycotts of the sixties, the boycotts of today carry all the moral heft of a small plastic bag.

  • fried wylie||

    carry all the moral heft of a small plastic bag

    Is that like the grocery-size bag, or the really small ones, like you get at 7-11 when you buy some smokes?

    I need to know how little the kerfuffle should matter to me (values ranging from zero to negative-infinity.)

  • mr simple||

    Plastic bags are verboten! Why do you hate the earth? and children?

  • Tonio||

    Except it's not Dan Cathy's personal opinion which is the issue, it's CFA's corporate donations.

    Mischaracterizing the issue, or (willfully) misunderstanding it, does no favors for anyone.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    If the anti-CFAers were also chimping out about Hobby Lobby, I might take that line of argument more seriously.

  • Mensan||

    The problem is that most normal people know that it's absolutely ludicrous to try and compare Dan Cathy's personal opinion to the state-permitted [state-mandated] discrimination going in the south decades ago.

  • RBS||

    The NAACP boycott has always been absurd. Sure some national organizations actually listened but actual black people for the most part never did. Just head up to Atlantic Beach on Memorial Day Weekend.

  • The Craig||

    At least it lead to a great South Park episode!

  • Pro Libertate||

    Why not morecotts? Where you buy more from a right-thinking organization?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    buy-cotts?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, that's better.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Pick up your Lagunitas at Whole Foods.

  • Matrix||

    Yeah liberals were in a rage when the founder of Whole Foods came out opposing ObamaCare. They felt betrayed because that place is frequented by proglodytes.

  • Old Dave||

    I have liberal friends who were shocked, SCHOCKED!!! to learn that WFM's John Mackie is a libertarian and voted for Bob Barr.

  • Apple||

    Is the Prop 8 based boycott of Utah still going on? In case people forgot about that one, anger over the passage of Prop 8 in California prompted some people to call for a boycott of Utah. Not California, where the people actually voted for it, but Utah. Because some Mormons funded the pro-campaign and everyone who lives in Utah is Mormon, or something like that. Catholics were the other big contributers but I don't remember the calls for boycotting Italy, Spain, or any place with a Catholic majority population. Boycotting someplace you don't plan on going anyway is so much easier.

  • Loki||

    Boycotting someplace you don't plan on going anyway is so much easier.

    Well you don't expect anyone to actually inconvenience themselves to make a political statement do you? Most of this shit is about patting yourself on the back for having the RIGHT VIEWS than actually accomplishing something.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Some of this depends on what the expected goal of the boycott is. I'm not boycotting Chick-Fil-A because I expect the company to go bankrupt or to change it's policies. I'm boycotting it because, to the extent feasible, I don't want my money going to groups, like the FRC, that advocate for violence against me. And behold, since my boycott began 15 some years ago, Cathy has not been able to give a sent of my money to them. So in that regard, it has been successful.

  • RBS||

    Awe.

  • grrizzly||

    Do you also boycott every Middle Eastern or Indian restaurant owned by Muslims? Islam is intrinsically anti-gay, and good Muslim owners pay zakat to spread their religion.

  • Matrix||

    Don't forget oil that comes from OPEC countries, which execute gay people.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Actually, I do my best to buy all my gas from Sunoco, which uses domestic oil sources.

  • Tonio||

    It's a trick, Stormy. He's trying to build a case that you're not allowed to boycott anyone unless you boycott everyone even theoretically hostile to you.

    Butt-hurt time-waster is running scared.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    He's trying to build a case that you're not allowed to boycott anyone unless you boycott everyone even theoretically hostile to you.

    At least in that case you'd have some grounding in general principle as opposed to the selective outrage currently on display.

  • Tonio||

    So, RRR, you're absolutely consistent and pure in everything you do? Congrats, I've never met a paragon of virtue before.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    So, RRR, you're absolutely consistent and pure in everything you do? Congrats, I've never met a paragon of virtue before.

    As I pointed out above, when gay activists start limping out with public kiss-ins at Hobby Lobby, I'll take their outrage a little more seriously. As it stands right now, this is just stupid culture war bullshit made into a national issue by Rahm Emanuel--you know, the city whose "values" include having one of the world's highest murder rates and epitomizing government corruption.

  • kbolino||

    WTF is Hobby Lobby anyway? I can't boycott something that doesn't exist.

    (Wikipedia says it's a real thing with a presence in 41 states, but I don't believe it.)

  • grrizzly||

    Of course you're allowed to boycott anyone you want. Just don't think that your position is the only reasonable one. I'm good with probabilities and I'm certain that the expected value of the contribution to harm gays is greater when you eat chicken tikka masala than when I have a Chick-fil-A sandwich. But I don't go around and tell people what they can and cannot eat. I'm not a leftist like you.

  • Tonio||

    You're either exceedingly clueless or astoundingly dishonest. I wouldn't presume to tall anyone what they can or can't do, unlike you. Again, I challenge you to show where I did this.

    Leftist? Yeah, sure, whatever. The fact that I'm regularly dissed by leftists for being conservative, or worse libertarian, makes your contention risable.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    To the extent that I am aware of the restaurants advocating for violence against gays, yes I do.

  • Tonio||

    So what if they don't, grrizzly?

  • grrizzly||

    Good for them. But it's a reasonable assumption that they do.

  • Tonio||

    Missing the point.

  • grrizzly||

    There was one?

  • T||

    Once you exchange your money voluntarily with someone in exchange, it ain't your money anymore. So even if you did eat there, Dan Cathy wouldn't be sending one thin dime of yours to FRC.

  • ||

    +100,000.

  • perlhaqr||

    Sorry, but that's a ridiculous oversimplification to avoid culpability.

    "I didn't pay people to club baby seals, I just bought a baby seal fur coat. The coat manufacturer was paying the clubbers, but it wasn't my money anymore."

  • Apple||

    It would be more like you bought a chicken sandwich and the guy who took your money then used it to buy a baby seal fur coat. Denying gay rights isn't part of the actual process they use to make the sandwich.

  • Mensan||

    Maybe it is. I'm not privy to the entire process used in producing a delicious Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich. For all I know it may be a very complicated process that does, in fact, involve denying basic rights to homosexuals. I cannot conceive of a scenario where that would be necessary, but I also can't rule it out entirely.

    Also, I don't like the term gay rights. It imples that their rights are somehow different from everybody else's rights. They're not.

  • Tonio||

    Pedantism contributes nothing to the discussion.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    If I may be pedantic, the proper noun form is "pedantry".

  • alex griggs||

    But how does the "sent" of your own farts smell? Pretty good I bet.

  • ||

    I don't want my money going to groups, like the FRC, that advocate for violence against me.

    [citation needed]

    Protip: saying you shouldn't be able to get married != advocating violence against you.

  • kbolino||

    Reparative therapy could be pretty nasty. Oftentimes it was just a more creepy version of counseling, but there were many instances of coercion and abuse. Ever since a bunch of people committed suicide after being "cured", the usual suspects (Family Research Council included) have kind of backed away from it.

    Of course, that now leaves them in a peculiar position (gays are bad, but we don't know what to do about except keep 'em from getting civil marriages).

  • Loki||

    But in 2010 black North Carolina state Sen. Robert Ford, responsible for the compromise that moved the flag from the state house, said that the boycott was essentially over and no longer held public support.

    Clearly he's just an Uncle Tom. /progresso-tard

  • Tonio||

    Boycotts take time to yield results. Two days of "record" sales are easy to achieve, and even easier to claim. Also, I remember when Nestle said how "boycotts just don't work" for a couple of years before capitulating to the INFACT boycott.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Boycotts take time to yield results. Two days of "record" sales are easy to achieve, and even easier to claim.

    A dropping stock price, however, isn't so ambiguous.

    http://money.cnn.com/2012/06/1...../index.htm

    Of course, I'll continue to shop at JC Penney just like I'll continue to eat lunch at Chik-fil-a, because this "the personal is political" bullshit is nothing more than tedious narcissism.

  • Tonio||

    A dropping stock price, however, isn't so ambiguous.

    Actual headline from TFA: "J.C. Penney stock plunges on president's exit". Absolutely nothing about teh gays in the article. Also - BM retail is doing poorly and JCP and other retailers in that segment are getting squeezed out by Wal*Mart.

    Go ahead and think that my quest for rights is tedious narcissism. I'm still here for you and your rights, because I know that a loss of rights for anyone is a loss for everyone.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Go ahead and think that my quest for rights is tedious narcissism.

    Yes, because it's all about YOU, isn't it?

    I'm still here for you and your rights, because I know that a loss of rights for anyone is a loss for everyone.

    Can gays lose rights they never had in the first place? And spare me the unwarranted sense of self-regard, the only thing you're actually "here for" appears to be your own self-aggrandizement.

  • kbolino||

    Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. — Article IV, Section 1

    We could quibble over the definition of "full faith and credit" though.

  • DJK||

    We could quibble over the definition of multiple things in the Full Faith and Credit Clause. What happens when one state passes an act (such as the 39 states which have defined marriage as between a man and a woman) which contradicts a law passed by another state? How does "full faith and credit" apply there? What about "records"? Two federal appeals cases have said opposite things about this - Finstuen v. Crutcher and Adar v. Smith. How about "judicial proceedings"?

    Point being - I don't think the Full Faith and Credit Clause is a great thing to rely on for those who wish to see gay marriage legalized. Just as it wasn't during the interracial marriage debate.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Actual headline from TFA: "J.C. Penney stock plunges on president's exit".

    I guess you missed the part that shows it's been dropping steadily since February.

  • ||

    I worked at Dominos in 1989. Business was booming. A customer asked if the boycott was having any effect. No one, including the manager, was aware of its existence until then.

  • Emperor Wears No Clothes||

    How does the CEO's definition of family affect the taste of a chicken sandwich?
    It doesn't. Therefore, I'm not in the least motivated to change my behaviour re chicken sandwich procurement.
    Teh g@ys over-rate their own importance.

  • kbolino||

    It's all about the evil corporations and their money that really runs our political system instead of, you know, votes.

  • ||

    A big part of this is that people resort to boycotts for the most petty and retarded reasons anymore. The number of issue/interest groups in this country is rapidly approaching the actual number of individuals. At any given time you can almost guarantee yourself as a corporation that somebody is boycotting you for something somewhere. I'm just waiting for the anti-globalization, environmentalist, anti-abortion, pro-gay marriage, anti-gay marriage, freedom from religion foundation, anti-meat, fair trade, and anti-GMO people to all accidentally schedule a rally against the same company on the same day in the same place and end up completely forgetting what it was they showed up for because they're so busy killing each other.

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