The Corner

Law & the Courts

Riot Fallacy No. 2: Big Corporations Aren’t Part of Our Community

A writer at Mother Jones ventures an argument along these lines: “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.” She writes, “The franchise chains aren’t some engine of Black capitalism that will redress the grievances of the people in Minneapolis’ streets.”

Well, maybe that’s expecting a little too much of Starbucks and Target. There’s a perfectly legitimate case for people to make that giant chains thrive by providing uniformity of product and service that can feel alienating to those who search out locally owned shops that have more personality and a deeper relationship to their communities. But it doesn’t follow from any of this that these chains are legitimate targets for destruction. Not any more than me saying, “What has Toyota ever done for me?” to explain why I firebombed a truck on its way to pick my neighbor up for work.

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