Activism run insane: NAACP to boycott Target

I heard this news on the radio today, and I was kind of surprised. I rather like Target, they’re usually cleaner than Wally World, and in my experience their staff is generally friendlier. I wondered what they had done to warrent the wrath of the NAACP. Were their hiring practices found to be descriminitory? Were black customers singled out for unfair scrutiny against shoplifting? Had a top Target executive been overheard using the dreaded “N” word? I came home and did a search, and what I found in an AP news story chilled me. link

It seems that Target had the gall to refuse to administer a survey to it’s black employees from the NAACP.


That’s it. No racism. No descrimination. No harrasment of minorities. There’s not even a suggestion that they are doing these things. Nope, none of that, but by God, they refused to take a survey. Boil them in oil! Because of this henious infraction, the NAACP gave them a grade of F on their annual report which rates companies on “how well they work with blacks in employment, charitable giving, advertising, contracting and community service.” NAACP president Bruce S. Gordon said of Target, “They didn’t even care to respond to our survey. Stay out of their stores.” I’m sorry, but I don’t think that refusing to take a survey had a damn thing to do with “how well they work with blacks in employment, charitable giving, advertising, contracting and community service.” As far as I can see, all it has to do with is “how Target feels about administring a survey to it’s black employees”.

I’m sorry, but this just strikes me as nuts, activism run amok. In a fit of pique, the NAACP is telling all it’s members, and I would assume all black folks, that they should stay out of Target simply because Target refused to aquiess to the NAACP’s demand that they survey their black employees. Does the nation’s oldest and largest organization promoting equality for Black people have so little to do that this is what they’ve been reduced to carpuing about? If so, I’d say that we can all rejoyce, because that must mean there is no real racism left in America.

Oh, yea. Target’s reason for refusing the survey? Because they don’t agree with singling out employees of just one race.

The funny thing is, the NAACP’s motto is “Making democracy work since 1909”. To make a democracy work, you need the participation of everyone, not just of people who share your ethnic background. Maybe the NAACP could learn something from Target.

Eh…They’re not picketing or anything and Target’s excuse for not answering the survey is kind of lame. What have they got to hide?

Anyway, if you don’t want to boycott Target, you don’t have to.

Huh? “kind of lame”? How is that lame???

I think I’ll go buy something at Target.

Count me in the ‘Activism run insane’ category. I think Target was, er, spot on so to speak. :slight_smile: NAACP looks to me to be trying to use mob tactics to get their stupid survey done…‘Take our survey and lick our boots or we’ll boycott your racist asses!’. :rolleyes:

I’m off to go buy something at Target (a store I didn’t previously shop at)…


Pretty much, yeah.

I do not understand your reasoning, what has Target done to deserve a boycott*.
Shouldn’t a boycott be for a more solid reason than they could not bother to comply with our non-official in anyway request?

Weirddave, I think you are right on Target with this Op. It is Bullshit what the NAACP is doing.


  • Asking there membership to not shop at Targets sound like a boycott to me.

Lame in that it doesn’t make sense. It sounds good on the surface but it’s really just an obfuscating platitude. How does answering the survey compromise “diversity?”

I didn’t say they deserve one, I just don’t care if they get one. The NAACP says it isn’t going to picket them or anything and won’t even really call it a boycott.

No. People can choose not to shop at given store for any reason or no reason. Target is free not to answer the survey, but if any of its customers take offense at that, they are free to take their business elsewhere and they don’t have to justify that decision to anybody. That’s America. The customer is always right. A smart business tries not to offend them.

So you do not find the NAACP’s actions heavy handed?

BTW: The way you parsed your answer might appear to misattribute my words to kayT, probably not something most would desire.


Sorry, my last two quotes should have been attributed to What Exit, not kay-T.

The privacy of their employees? The privacy of their policies?

Target is one of the most community-responsible corporations in all retail in the U.S. (and have been even back in the days when they were Dayton-Hudson).

I would counter that the NAACP’s actions are pretty lame. If they can’t find the information they need regarding a publicly traded company, then they are not competent to figure out what to do with the information if it were handed to them.

The Target spokesperson noted that

Those are really good numbers for a company that is heavily oriented to suburban sales.

I have no problem with the NAACP’s call to only do business with companies that do business with blacks, but they are just being petulant in insisting that the companies go to the work of providing the information–particularly when they are singling out the company most likely to already be meeting their “standards.”

That’s the free market. If Target wants people to shop in their stores than they need to convince them why they should. No one has an obligation to patronize a store which they feel has offended them.

Incidentally, the NAACP can’t boycott a business by itself, all it can do is ask other people not to shop there. If they can’t persuade people that their grievance is valid, then the boycott won’t be very successful anyway.

Would you be making the same arguments if Target made just their black employees to mop the floor? Or put just their black employees in the back of the store so they wouldn’t interact with the public? I doubt it, I really do. Yet, in your mind, you don’t have a problem with administering a survey to just their black employees. The difference is only one of degree. I applaud Target’s response and don’t find it lame at all.

I think those are some inane and disingenuous comparisons. Asking black employees questions how they feel they’re being treated is hardly the same as singling them out for a demeaning task.

Anyway, like I keep saying, that’s the free market. If someone feels offended by a store, who are you to tell them they have to keep shopping there?

Calling for members to not shop at a store is calling for a boycott. You are simply nitpicking.
If a group like the southern Baptist for public decency* was protesting Target for not giving survey only to whites, would you support their efforts or call them for their heavy handed tactics. I know I would call them thugs.


  • Made up group to resemble any of a handful of real groups.

“because Target views diversity as being inclusive of all people from all different backgrounds, not just one group.”

Well, by singling out the black employees and only giving the survey to them then the other the other people who are not black are not included. The survey is not inclusive. Sounds like a good reason not to make the employees answer the survey.

What if a christian group wanted your company to survey only the christian employees, wouldn’t you feel justified to say “no, not inclusive, not interested”?
What if a group wanted to survey just your white employees? Should you be punished when you say “no, that is not inclusive, not interested”?

If Target is making an effort to treat people from all different backgrounds the same, then not having the black employees singled out to answer a survery seems quite in line with that policy.

And I think trying to bully companies to do certain things, or else be called be called racist, is not a tactic that will work anymore. I think Jackson took that one as far as it could go. Companies realize the public is on to it now. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more new people shop Target now, than the reverse.

Umm, maybe you could point me to the part of your cite that says the surveys were of employees, and not surveys of business practices?

The grading is based on the surveys (one would assume), and I don’t think your average employee knows much about the corporations level of charitable giving, or how much of the advertising budget is targeted at minority communities.

CMC fnord!

To answer all the questions above, my answer is no, I don’t care if somebody only wants to survey Christians or only survey white people. Surveys are broken up into those kinds of demographics all the time. There’s nothing bigoted about trying to find out the feelings of one particular group as opposed to the population as a whole. No business is obliged to participate but if any group of people wants to take offense about it or not shop there, that’s life.

Sure it’s a boycott and the NAACP is free to request such from their members.

If you disagree, your best course of action is to write a letter to the NAACP and announce that you’re going to freely choose to shop at Target because of their action.

Diogenes, you are required to perform free services for me or I will use my high profile public status to try and injure your ability to make money by spreading lies about you and or filing bullshit complaints claiming to be a valued customer of your employer.

In a nutshell this is what the NAACP is doing. If they demanded a cash donation would it make a difference?

What did the NAACP lie about?