Retail criticism: one of the most common forms of racism left in the United States?
The southern suburbs of Chicago Olympia rural village administrators, David mei kass base (David Mekarski) this week at the annual meeting of the American planning association tells the story of a surprising, that is his recent and a restaurant officials conducted a debate. He wants to know why his mixed-race community doesn’t have high-quality restaurants, where the average annual household income is $77,000, higher than the national average.
Answer: “black people don’t tip, managers can’t keep high quality employees, and if they can’t keep high quality employees, they can’t maintain high quality restaurants.”
There was a gasp in the room in front of Mekarski. “This is one of the most common and insidious forms of racism left in the United States today,” he said.
The phenomenon he is describing has a term: retail approval. This approach is a change from a more recent and less studied demarcation rule, because it has been historically recognized in the housing sector. In retail, grocery stores and restaurants, the underscore refers to “spatial discriminatory practices” that serve certain communities, not for their economic prospects, because of their racial or ethnic composition.
This is an update, in part because the United States has more high income minority communities today. Families that can afford the same stores and restaurants as the comparable white community now want to know where the retailer is. However, it is difficult to study, because these types of community is still relatively few in number (hard to find more community), and difficult to distinguish between retailers “unconscious” racism and its legitimate business location for a shop or a restaurant.
We try to say that our money is not black, our money is not white. It’s green.
Olympia and three neighboring southern suburbs want to better understand this phenomenon (if it exists). So they worked with researchers at the university of Illinois for a multi-year study of $250,000. In the 1960s, there were almost no black residents in these four suburbs.
By 2010, 72% of the population was black, and three of them had higher incomes than the county. It is one of the most racially mixed high-income communities in the region. They spend $780m a year on retail goods and services, and most of it is spent elsewhere, which means that these communities do not benefit fully from sales taxes.
“The substance we deal with is attitude, behavior and cultural bias,” Mekarski said. “It’s not just a study of the convenience of shopping, the retail industry in the United States is about the community, it’s about the sense of place, it’s about quality of life.
The researchers tried to solve a seemingly inestimable problem by studying case studies of retail stores that recently left these communities. According to their purchasing power, study the stores they can find in these places; By comparing the quality and variety of the goods in the store in the region, and comparing with the same brands in other places.
The researchers concluded that the enterprise location decision is very complicated, involving different property taxes, related retail sites as well as the existence of the staff in the day), so their population statistics and survey data is uncertain. “However, the findings do suggest that race may be a driving factor or mitigating factor in some retail decisions,” the researchers wrote.
In conversations with regional developers, Mekarski says, it is clear that many of them do not distinguish between the high income minority areas and the poor minority areas.
“In our community, we are trying to change what it means for the black community,” he said. To prove his point, he often asked people to close their eyes, paint a black community, and then a white community. “Contrast these two communities,” he said. “This is our fight, we are sitting in a nationwide retailers fight, Atlanta or Los Angeles when they think of African americans, they think,” the poor, with no education, “high shrinkage, high crime rate. They think it’s going to be a bad investment and they move on. ”
The ultimate conclusion of the study is not necessarily the retailer’s fault, but rather the better marketing of itself (and the public conversation about the retail competition) in places like Olympia fields.
“We are trying to say that our money is not black and our money is not white,” Mekarski said. “It’s green.”