Misguided indifference

Mother Jones, whose editors ought to know better, denies that chain stores torched during rioting are part of their communities.

As images circulated of businesses damaged in the Minneapolis protest, an old narrative of finger-wagging and false concern took over along the right flank of the discourse. What about the Target? What about the AutoZone? What about “your OWN community”?

[ … ]

But their condescension is built on a myth that has its roots in the uprisings of another era. The myth is that chain stores and franchises are somehow part of Black communities. Target isn’t “ours” in any substantive way. AutoZone isn’t some cherished neighbor, saving us from bad alternators and racism. The franchise chains aren’t some engine of Black capitalism that will redress the grievances of the people in Minneapolis’ streets.

Granted, Target is not locally-owned; but there’s more to it than just that.

  • Target is locally-owned so far as its stock is part of the retirement plan of a lot of the community.

  • Target employs a lot of local people.

  • Target spends a lot locally. Seriously, do the Mother Jones editors not know that the baked goods, the food in the deli, the beer in the cooler all come from local distributors?

  • Do the editors imagine that company vehicles are shipped back to Minnesota when they need fuel, maintenance and repairs?

    That a plumber, HVAC-guy, cleaning crew flies down from Minneapolis when they’re needed?

  • I have definite, first-hand knowledge that all Target stores have a good neighbor fund for supporting wholesome community activities — library support, girl scout troops, women’s shelters, those indispensable, non-government-funded needs that are part and parcel of healthy towns.

    The fund is not huge — but every dollar counts to the Friends of the Library, say.

  • What about the elderly who walk to Target to do their shopping? What becomes of them?

    And what becomes of the thousands of prescriptions stored in the pharmacy? And what will become of those suddenly left short-handed and without needful medicines?

  • And, of course, the availability of shopping affects local property values.

A poor showing, Mother Jones; this editorial exhibits the parochialism that gives liberalism a bad name. The complicated truth is that a modern economy is comprised of tens of thousands of intricately bound, moving parts, and the Target, the Auto Zone, the remotely-owned chain restaurants are part of a functioning community, and their loss is felt in countless ways, large and small, for a long time.

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