The NAACP’s selective boycott

A reader sends this question today via e-mail:

My wife and I spent some time last week in Montgomery, Al, where our newly married son and wife reside.  We toured downtown Montgomery (in the throes of being "reinvigorated") and the State Capitol.  I was interested to see  confederate flags prominently displayed on the grounds of the Capitol.  Not just one flag, but the four major flags of the confederacy, includignthe battle flag.  This was not some subtle showing of the flags as they were all on tall flagpoles being very prominently displayed.  I became curious as to the NAACP stance to this but my research fails to find any reaction.  I wonder why SC is being boycotted but not Alabama?  Any ideas?

This is the way I understand it: The South Carolina element within the NAACP has a lot of pull with the national organization. A key link is the Rev. Nelson B. Rivers III. Basically, S.C. is targeted because that’s the way the South Carolina NAACP leadership wants it. It has nothing to do with S.C. being worse, or special, in any objective sense.


If I were the NAACP, and I were inclined to boycott, I’d be boycotting Mississippi. But that’s just me.

21 thoughts on “The NAACP’s selective boycott

  1. Gordon Hirsch

    Myrtle Beach vacationers ask the very same question every year, especially those who visit during the “Black Bike Week” economic boycott staged each Memorial Day since 2000.
    The NAACP’s original plan was to starve the Myrtle Beach economy by encouraging participants to jam highways, but not spend any money at local hotels, restaurants, etc.
    The result: tax receipts increased $3.5 million during the boycott period, and admissions tax collections grew $2.5 million, according to PRT and the AP.
    Black tourism also has increased year-round. That, coupled with explosive growth in the local Hispanic population, is making Myrtle look downright multi-cultural these days.
    Of course, hotel owners are still gouging Black bikers with the year’s highest room rates (plus up-front security deposits they don’t charge white families in July), and there’s still a storm-trooper police presence with helicopters overhead nightly, but it seems to be getting more peaceable and a little less racist each go-around. … I think there was only one case of a biker being mowed down by a pickup this year.

  2. Joe Darby

    Your take on why the National NAACP imposed sanctions against SC is a bit off base. The sanctions were enacted by the National Organization because the South Carolina Conference offered a resolution to fix the problem in South Carolina, and the resolution passed. I still hope that one day, we’ll fix it and not “patch” it as has been done.

  3. Brad Warthen

    So do I Joe, so do I. The current situation is insupportable, and it’s ridiculous that the flag continues to fly where it is.
    And thanks for your elaboration on the NAACP position. I maintain, however, that that is just another way of saying what I said: The national organization is boycotting South Carolina because the S.C. chapter wants it to. It doesn’t change the fact that if the national organization were to take an objective view of the nation as a whole, it would be far more likely to target Mississippi than S.C.
    And finally, there is the point on which you and I will have to continue respectfully disagreeing: I firmly believe that there is no greater political barrier to removing the current flag from the grounds than the NAACP boycott. It frames the issue in confrontational terms that prevent dialogue that could lead to a solution.
    As I have discussed with friends associated with the NAACP in the past, this reflects a fundamental philosophical disagreement. One reason why I have been a supporter of the Urban League for all these years is that it believes dialogue and bridge-building are more effective, and more constructive, than confrontation.
    This is related to my overall philosophy with regard to politics in general. I detest the pointless polarization created by the two political parties, which prevent deliberation that could lead to real solutions of the many problems our society faces. The boycott just raises another such barrier to communication and deliberation. Like the rhetoric of the more antagonistic Democrats and Republicans, it is based in a presumption that those with whom one disagrees are hopeless cases who can only be dealt with on a figurative battlefield. It presumes that the only way to a solution is for YOUR side to win and the OTHER side to lose. It rejects the idea that other people are also humans who can be dealt with in a reasonable manner. I can’t accept that.

  4. Lee

    I may be wrong but wasnt part of the compromise to construct the African American Heritage Monumement on state house grounds as well.

  5. Jerry Killion

    What Boycott? The subject is only up for discussion when the NAACP wants to stir the pot. They moved the Palmetto Classic to Charlotte for one year stateing it was because of the boycott, but came right back to Columbia the next year because it was to far to travel. If your going to boycott….boycott, don’t just play boycott when you want to start something. It’s either on or it’s off. Which is it?

  6. Brad Warthen

    “What boycott” indeed. To folks who don’t dwell in the inner recesses of the state’s political world, it can seem there IS no boycott. That’s because it has been utterly ineffective in its ostensible purpose of causing the state economic harm.
    But its POLITICAL effect is enduring, and devastating. Not that politicians TALK about it, unless forced to. But the continuation of the boycott gives them an excuse not to take it up. Anyone who does dare to try to do anything about the absurdity of that flag continuing to fly there will be castigated for seeming to side with people who are TRYING (although failing) to hurt the state’s economy.
    Sure, that’s a lame excuse not to do anything. But it’s all the excuse South Carolina politicians seem to need.

  7. mguzman

    The NAACP along with Rev. Jesse Jackson and that Al Sharpton evidently have nothing better to do with their time than stir the pot which is really quite boring so they do need to do something positive such as cleaning up all the crime in the USA….preach to these sex offenders, rapists, kidnappers, drug dealers, robbers, carjackers, help children to learn, clean up neighborhoods, sing, laugh, do something positive instead of forever whining, complaining and above all try to remember the color of one’s skin is just a color that does not make the person… thankful for all we do have such as a brain to do good things with…….

  8. Gordon Hirsch

    Following, from today’s news, is one of a series of lawsuits the NAACP has brought against Myrtle Beach area businesses, and the City of MB, alleging racial discrimination. To date, the majority of cases have been settled privately, out of court, for financial awards totaling in the millions of dollars, prompting speculation that “Black Bike Week” persists less as an economic boycott and more as a revenue-generating arm of the NAACP. Of course, most of the speculation is by whites. And, if there was no discrimination, why settle and pay money to end it?
    Judge for yourself:
    Friendly’s denies biker rally bias claims
    By Aliana Ramos – The Sun News
    MYRTLE BEACH, SC – Friendly’s Ice Cream Corp. on Wednesday denied the allegations of racial discrimination filed against them in a federal lawsuit by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
    “This lawsuit aimed at one of our independent South Carolina franchisees is without merit,” said Friendly’s spokeswoman Maura Tobias in a statement.
    The NAACP filed the lawsuit Tuesday, alleging the Friendly’s restaurant, at 506 S. Ocean Blvd. in Myrtle Beach, treated black bikers differently during Atlantic Beach’s annual biker rally than white bikers during the annual Harley-Davidson biker rally.
    The restaurant reportedly closed its seating area during the Atlantic Beach Bikefest, which is attended predominantly by black bikers, from 1999 to 2005, and only served a limited menu of hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches and sodas from a table on the side of the road, according to the lawsuit filed U.S. District Court in Florence.
    However, the shop is open during the Harley bike rally, which draws a large number of white bikers and serves a full menu, said the lawsuit.
    “We want to assure our customers that Friendly’s takes all matters regarding discrimination very seriously,” she said.

  9. Brad Warthen

    Yes, I saw that this morning, and it got me to thinking. I thought: Hey, I didn’t know you could find a Friendly’s down South. I thought that was like a New York/Pennsylvania/New Jersey kind of thing

    Turns out, there are three (or is it four?) along our coast. Which stands to reason — portions of our coast are so thick with transplanted Northerners, it’s hard to tell the difference.

    No offense, there, Gordon.

  10. Gordon Hirsch

    No offense taken. It’s true. Yankees abound. … I’ve lived in six SC cities (or towns). This is the only place I’ve found a Friendlies. And this is the first time I’ve seen one sued for offering curbside drive-thru service.
    Not to defend Friendlies, but you have to be here to appreciate the difference between the Harley crowd and the boycott bunch, and I’m not talking about racial differentiation.
    The Harley folk are aged 50+, on average. They need to sit down. They’re tired. They go to bed early. It’s quiet at night. Sounds like: Potatopotatopotatopotatozzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
    The boycott bunch is aged 25-, on average. They’re young, full of it. They (not all) scream between lanes on rice-burners, pop wheelies through red lights, race up and down the highway all night long. Sounds like: Neeeeee,neeeeeeeeeeee,nenenenene,Neeeeee,neeeeeeeeeeee,nenenenene …
    Regardless, everyone should have a choice of whether to sit or stand during meals, especially at a place called Friendlies.
    AS WELL, those of us who live here should be free to join in the fun. I actually had a federal agent order me off Ocean Boulevard last Memorial Day weekend, or face arrest. Noting the color of my skin, he crossed the boulevard and approached my open car window, saying: “You have no reason to be here. Go home or go to jail.” He actually put his hand on his holster. I went home.
    So much for my civil rights.

  11. Bill C.

    The reason Friendlies is “closed” is partly because they can’t find people to staff the restaurant during Black Bike Week. Staff refuse to work because customers routinely walk out after eating without paying their bill, stiff the wait staff, constantly complain about everything they can think of… who wants to work in that atmosphere. Apparently nobody. Coincidentally, just the opposite is true during the other bike week, wait staff usually have the highest income from tips for the year during that week. The same goes for hotels… there’s a reason why businesses would rather shut down for “renovations” that week than put up with the type of customers that are in town that week. Besides, those businesses are just helping the NAACP boycott that week.

  12. Gordon Hirsch

    He had a gun. All I had was fries and a coke. … C’mon down and visit next Memorial Day weekend. We’ll go for a ride on the boulevard and try again. I promise you, Hollywood couldn’t conceive of this scene.

  13. Gordon Hirsch

    Well, Bill’s gone ahead and said it, so I’ll corroborate that Friendlies is not the only restaurant, hotel, etc., whose employees can’t (or don’t want to) fight the biker traffic to work, or suffer the abuse that goes with working that weekend. These aren’t urban myths. The horror stories are real and we’ve all witnessed them firsthand going on 8 years now.
    Blacks I know have put it this way: Whites insult us year round while we wash your dishes, cook your meals, and make your beds. Where do you get off complaining if we treat you that way one weekend a year.”
    Fear of being sued by the NAACP is also a factor in planning for Memorial Day business. I know of at least one restaurant that pays for its employees to sleep in a nearby resort, rather than close and run the risk of being singled out by the NAACP as “racist.”
    There’s nothing productive or constructive about any of this, except that I see a lot more minorities coming to vacation at the beach year-round than before the boycott started.


    Black Biker Week is a disaster. Too bad the NAACP doesn’t enforce that boycott better. Everyone has heard the stories about the black bikers walking out of restaurants without paying, going into convenience stores and everyone grabs something and walks out without paying and the hotel rooms that have 15 people staying in them and get so trashed that the hotel has to do considerable work to them to be able to rent them out again. Anyone who doesn’t believe it should go down there and experience it first hand. If one or two people were saying it, maybe there wouldn’t be anything to it, but you hear it repeatedly, year in and year out.

  15. Gordon Hirsch

    During the first Black Bike Week, my children were young (under 10), and we weren’t quite sure what to expect. Traffic had been light Thursday and Friday. Everything seemed pretty normal, for Myrtle Beach at least.
    On Saturday, with clear skies and temps in the 90s, we rose early, dressed, and drove off to attend a friend’s wedding in Little River. Normally, from our home, that would be a 30-45 minute drive in heavy tourist traffic.
    But not this day. It took six hours in gridlocked traffic, where we genuinely felt threatened by virtually all that was happening around us. Probably because people were throwing liquor bottles, cans (The Bull), chicken bones, and any other trash they could find at us for miles. Rolling up the windows was not an option, as it attracted greater attention to our position. We never saw a police car the entire way.
    For most of that trek, we were stuck behind a white panel van with the rear doors tied open, like angel wings. Inside the van was a king-size mattress, occupied by one skinny guy with a shaved head and four hefty women who cussed like marines. They even had a bullhorn, in case we were deaf, and they weren’t shy about crawling up on the hood of our car to make sure we could hear what they had to say. Oh yeah, did I mention they all were naked, and engaging in communal sex on a rotating basis from the back of the van? Newcomers were welcome, too, and several joined in over time. Something to do in traffic, I guess.
    The cars around us had video cameras, which they used to circle the van and “direct” the performers inside. Occasionally, the performers came out of the van and tried different sexual postions on the road, with various props, or leaned over the back of the van to brace themselves as the vehicle edged forward.
    The stage was Hwy 17 North, middle lane, from Restaurant Row to Atlantic Beach, where the van finally turned toward the ocean, for a bath perhaps.
    We then untied the kids from the floorboards in the backseat, removed the blanket that covered them, and continued north to the wedding.
    When we arrived, we figured the ceremony would be over, because we were four hours late. It wasn’t. Nobody else had arrived, either, including the groom, bride, preacher, and their families. It ended up being canceled. (The couple later eloped.)
    So we turned around to drive home. It took five hours to get back, and we never saw our friends from the van again. Our only encounter was with an ambulance crew, which was bagging the remains of a biker who had run off the road at high speed – into a telephone-pole guy wire. It was veg-o-matic.
    Back in our neighborhood, we arrived just in time to see two males squatting and defecating on a neighbor’s lawn, their rice-burners still running at the curb. They flipped us off as we drove by. We then voted unanimously to watch a movie from the safety of home. Only hitch was that we had no electricity, because a truck had veered to avoid a biker on the highway, and took out the power lines to our street.
    So, we had a nice quiet family night, playing Monopoly by candlelight. God works in mysterious ways. It was a special evening for us all, and we will never forget what brought us all together so closely. … Trauma bonding, I think the shrinks call it?
    Y’all come see us now, y’hear.

  16. Steve

    Can the NAACP become any less relevant? Talk about pathetic. Their boycott is akin to a gnat trying to bring down an elephant. I hope they keep it up forever. What a bunch of losers.

  17. sesch

    The way I understand it the protestors are told to NOT spend any money at businesses so if those businesses choose to close because they will do no business or because they expect the kind of actions described above then they are only doing what best preserves their interests. You see the NAACP uses socialist “catch 21” type tecniques. They will rant about not having any merchants open and call it discrimination. They call it proof of racism. Then if a business IS open and the business dares to complain ( often at the risk of bodily or property harm) about the profanity, theft and lewdness of the protestors the business IS AGAIN being racist. The NAACP has perfected the art of smear. They say “we are coming to protest and we will not patronize your establishments” but the good people locally are supposed to stay open and be joyful at being treated like dirt.
    Also is true that when confronted with facts that counter the official lock step NAACP idealology they resort to violence and name calling. It is so predictible that I dont know why confederate flag supporters dont have a counter attack for it yet.

  18. Charlie

    Let see! 25 Black bikers come in your restaurant for a meal and after consuming the entire buffet and salad bar simply get up in unison and walk out without paying a dime!!
    And you expect this restaurant to open NEXT Black Bikers Week!!!
    Do we really look that dumb?


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