Trader_Joes_new_store

By:  Marilyn Assenheim

When FLOTUS isn’t indulging in up-market vacations on the public’s dime, feeding her dogs on crystal and china or droning on about America’s “inherent racism,” it seems that she is vilifying big business for its lack of investment in minority neighborhoods. To hear her talk, black communities are “food deserts, “only having access to fast food chains. Fresh produce is scarcer than hen’s teeth. Perhaps the First Lady should be hectoring the Portland African American Leadership Forum and give the rest of us a break.

Trader Joe’s, an innovative grocery chain, supplying low-cost food to communities across the country, had been actively seeking to open a store in a depressed area of NE Portland since 1999. In partnership with the Portland Development Commission, the idea was for Trader Joe’s to jump-start revitalization of the largely black community. Two weeks ago the chain, retreating from howls of protest leveled against them by PAALF, abandoned their plans to build in that neighborhood. Why was PAALF fighting development? Because, according to Benswann.com’s headline last week: “Black Activists and Politicians Force Trader Joe’s Grocery Out: Claim It Would Attract Too Many Whites.” The Benswann.com report continued: “The Portland African American Leadership Forum, along with the Mayor Charlie Hales, sent letters to Portland Development Commission citing that (Trader Joe’s) were “contributing to the destructive impact of gentrification and displacement of the African American community.” These naysayers insisted that they wouldn’t back any project that wouldn’t “solely support African Americans.” Their lies, unfortunately for distressed residents, have guaranteed that outcome. Trader Joe’s pays the highest wages of any grocery chain in the country, from hourly employees ($10/20) to management (six figures). Those jobs were to go directly to the community’s residents. Additionally, Benswann.com reported:“The construction project, which was to include two large anchor buildings and 10 retail shops, was promised to an African American owned construction company.” The Oregonian reported: “…the small business owners who bought into the first phase were thrilled. Neighbors were, too.”

The New Pittsburgh Courier supplied additional information: “… Trader Joe’s… announced that it no longer plans to open a store in a predominately African-American neighborhood in Portland after activists claimed the store’s prices weren’t affordable for Black families.” Not affordable? Trader Joe’s undercuts most grocery store prices, nationally. The only thing cheaper is “free.” The Courier continued: “Local community leaders and activists said…that opening a Trader Joe’s in the historically Black neighborhood would ‘increase the desirability of the neighborhood for non-oppressed populations’ and risk gentrifying the neighborhood.”Oh, non-oppressed populations need not apply; integration can only be black on white, not the other way around? Finally, race pimps supply an agenda that skates dangerously close to the truth; but the truth, as always, is masked: Race pimps don’t want their people to get an economic leg-up. They only want to keep their own importance intact by keeping their own people artificially dependent on them.

The bottom line was perfectly expressed by LibertyNews: “There is something terribly wrong in a nation where one race can openly reject a company because…it might attract members of another race…In that scenario the DOJ would come in and ensure charges were filed, people were publicly punished and would make a national story of racism out of it…This is blatant racism and discrimination. And it appears Oregon society is perfectly fine with it.”

Yes, blatant racism. Racism leveled against both black and white. Such travesties persevere because no one has yet had the stones to insist that minority activists can’t have it both ways. Clearly, “Oregon society” is not alone in being “fine with it.”