August 1, 2008

Temporary ban on new fast food restaurants in South Central LA

Recently, the LA city council voted to ban for one year the opening of new fast food restaurants in South Central Los Angeles (which, by the way, we're not supposed to call South Central anymore, due to the unfortunate events of April 1992 -- it's just South Los Angeles now, officially speaking).

Interestingly, the recent proliferation of chain fast-food restaurants and retail outlets in South-Central LA is actually the solution to an older problem.

As you'll recall, South Central LA witnessed vicious racial pogroms in April 1992 against immigrant (typically Korean) entrepreneurs operating within the black community. Korean shopkeepers tended to treat black customers brusquely and would seldom hire and almost never promote local blacks.

Since then, corporate America, often in partnership with black entrepreneurs like Magic Johnson, has greatly expanded the number of chain outlets in South Central. These are more willing to employ local residents than immigrant mom-and-pop establishments, and promote them too.

For example, the Florence-Normandie neighborhood where the 1992 riot broke out now has a quite decent chain-run supermarket with a first rate fresh produce section.

In general, the Stuff White People Like coterie sees immigrant-dominated retail streets as "vibrant" and chain-dominated retail streets as "boring," but the latter are better for African-Americans looking for jobs.

On the other hand, Hispanics are slowly pushing blacks out of South Central, so a lot of businesses tip to all Hispanic employees. Once you reach a certain percentage of Spanish-only employees, you have practical reasons to start demanding that new employees all speak at least Spanish. And there are virtually no bilingual African-Americans in LA. (Among the 900 black LAPD officers, I was told on good authority in 2001 that only four spoke Spanish -- and LA cops have plenty of career reasons to learn Spanish.)

By the way, the ban on fast food restaurants is hardly unprecedented. It's just that they are usually banned in upscale neighborhoods. For example, Avalon, the quaint little tourist town on Catalina Island, had, as of my last visit in 1997, absolutely no national chain restaurants, retailers, or hotels of any kind. Similarly, on Martha's Vineyard, McDonalds famously waged an epic battle trying to get permission to open an outlet.

So, what's different about this is that it's happening in a poor neighborhood, where fast food restaurants have typically been welcome since they provide jobs to poor people. I'm just speculating, but perhaps what has happened in South Central is that black politicians in LA have turned against fast food outlets because so many tipped to workforces that are all Hispanic, because once you have a certain fraction of Spanish-only employees, it makes sense to get rid of all your English-only employees. And African-Americans in LA are almost never bilingual.

The Latino employees are frequently illegal immigrants who don't vote, so the black politicians' electoral base doesn't benefit as much from fast food employment anymore.

In general, black politicians in LA represent districts where most of the voters are black but most of the residents and workers are Latino. This can make for some unusual policies.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can you be more explicit please Steve?

I can't understand how fast food restaurants are related to blacks needing to speak Spanish.

Wade Nichols said...

I seriously doubt that the LA City council ever considered the "law of unintended consequences" in approving this ban on fast food restaurants. Factors such as: will the population in these neighborhoods now go to other areas to patronize cheap fast food restaurants in other areas; what are they going to do to attract "healthy" restaurants into these neighborhoods; creating jobs for youth as you alluded to, etc.

I also think (and you may have mentioned this already), that the subliminal reason for all this is paternalism by the "lords" over people who "don't know what's good for them". Bluntly speaking, the city council thinks the residents of these neighborhoods are too stupid to make their own decisions!

TGGP said...

Think of how grateful the poor will be that they'll have immigrant grocers back rather than those awful trans-fat dispensers!

Grumpy Old Man said...

I remember the recall election for Governor. The ACLU sued to stop it because it was racially discriminatory to use a voting method (they didn't put it this way, of course) that minorities were too stupid to understand.

For once, they lost.

Eric said...

I'm with wade. I think it has far less to do with black-latino politics than it does with paternalism.

And also probably a bit of "we'll save health care dollars if we can get these undisciplined lower-class types to shape up a bit". I'll bet they even have a consultant who's broken down the average weight vs. health care dollar equation for them, so they know a one pound decrease in the average weight saves x dollars.

That's the real problem I have with the welfare state. Once the government assumes the cost of your health care, when money gets short (which, I suppose, is always) the easy way out is to force the citizens to be more healthy. It's why we have the motorcycle helmet law. Bans on trans-fats, smoking, drinking, fast cars... it all makes sense on paper.

hubble bubble said...

2001 was a long time ago. You should get an update on that Spanish speaker count in order to sustain your credibility on LA issues.

If you are New York born of Domincan descent, black skin toned, Spanish speaking, and on the LAPD, what are you for the purposes of racial bean counting?

Oh, the difficult choices faced by the advantaged in apartheid Amerikkka.

Steve Sailer said...

"2001 was a long time ago. You should get an update on that Spanish speaker count in order to sustain your credibility on LA issues."

Yeah, because that's the kind of thing that would change overwhelmingly in seven years without anybody noticing.

David said...

If you are New York born of Domincan [sic] descent, black skin toned, Spanish speaking, and on the LAPD, what are you for the purposes of racial bean counting?

According to you, not white:

Oh, the difficult choices faced by the advantaged in apartheid Amerikkka.

Within your not-whiteness, I suppose you would choose out of "black" or "hispanic" the group more powerful in a given context. And in LA, that group is "Latino/a," esse - count on it.

Martin said...

"Eric said...

That's the real problem I have with the welfare state. Once the government assumes the cost of your health care, when money gets short (which, I suppose, is always) the easy way out is to force the citizens to be more healthy. It's why we have the motorcycle helmet law. Bans on trans-fats, smoking, drinking, fast cars... it all makes sense on paper."

Yes, quite true. That's why the welfare state is the enemy of liberty. What I want to know is when will the government - in the interest of making us all healthy - start banning things that liberals like - all the x-treme sports for example, in addition to more traditional dangerous pastimes like kayaking, mountain climbing, sky-diving, and spelunking.

Oh yes, and promiscuous sex of course, which is perhaps one of the greatest drivers of health-care costs. When will Nancy Pelosi get around to denouncing gay bath houses?

albertosaurus said...

You seem to be hinting at a major change in the ghetto grocery store story.

Lou Cannon's book on Rodney King riots notes that the Jews were the target for the Watts riots but the Jews sold their stores to Koreans. The Koreans became the targets in the next round of black riots against the grocery owners.

According to Cannon (a liberal) and Thomas Sowell (a conservative) ethnic groups like Jews and Koreans have the family and cultural resources to essentially colonize the dangerous market nitch of the black ghetto. They tend not to hire locals because they are seen as lazy, stupid, and dishonest. So their stores employ relatives who work long hours for low wages. Such stores offer credit to their customers but also tend to charge high prices.

This is the conventional analysis of ethnic grocery stores in ghettos. They provide a needed service for poor neighborhoods until someone like Al Sharpton organizes a riot and burns them out.

In this posting you seem to suggest that Magic Johnson and others now have changed all that. These new groceries can operate cheaply while hiring local blacks who have formerly been very poor employees.

Is this true? If so it is a major dvelopment.

albertosaurus said...

I note that you chose to comment on this issue without noting the nominal basis for the need to regulate. The council is reported to have been concerned aabout childhood obesity and the failure of citizens to eat salads.

The councilmen seem to be captives of ancient ideas. All the major fast food restaurants now have salad bars. They are eliminating trans fats too in their fried foods.

I don't go to fast food places very often partly because they are banned from my neighborhood. Ocassionally I will have a yen for a Chicken Chilpote Ciambata (CCC). This tasty sandwich is a miracle of an inexpensive, wholesome and nutricious meal. What people anywhere and at anytime have ever been able to eat so well?

Banning such food makes the LA City Council look like complete fools.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I'm surprised they passed this thing just because it seems so paternalistic. I imagine if you're a white person on the council your thinking is 'This is me telling poor minorities what to do - can't have that. On the other hand, if this gets support from minority council members, I can't disagree with them now can I?' Kind of a lose-lose situation.

You make an interesting point about chains. Chains, big companies are definitely something white people do not like. They are more likely to be unionized and have a more formal work environment.

The town of Boulder (a place all about Stuff White People Like) tried to ban all chains a few years back.

Anonymous said...

Fast food restaurants don't just provide jobs to poor blacks, they provide them with inexpensive and nutritious food. That the poorest Americans can buy hamburgers for $1, while in other parts of the world meat is a luxury eaten rarely, explains why obesity is more of a problem than hunger for our poor

- Fred

J. said...

I am wondering if encouraging the saturation of fast food restaurants in minority neighborhoods is just another example of you all's contempt for blacks and Hispanics or sheer ignorance. No one who knows how many non-nutrional calories fast food meals contain, or what they do to cholesterol levels, could possibly consider them advisable. With diabetes at epidemic levels among minority Americans, stopping additional fast food restaurants is not enough. Existing fast food restaurants should decline. Hopefully, a failing economy will have that effect.

Davdi Davenport said...

the easy way out is to force the citizens to be more healthy.


Why is that a bad idea?:

It's why we have the motorcycle helmet law. Bans on trans-fats, smoking, drinking, fast cars... it all makes sense on paper.

It makes sense in reality, too, as long as taxes I pay will pay for other peep's health problems.

A different example: low income white man who rides a motorcycle, wears no helment, and gets a severe head injury.

Who is to pay his hospital bills?

Anonymous said...

Black politicians might have initially encouraged chains because they are more easily manipulable than a Korean mom and pop store. A national boycott of Popeye's or Mickey D's can push buttons more effectively than someone denouncing Korean shopowners as vampires preying on the ghetto.That it is easier to get illegals to show up to work goes without saying.

ben tillman said...

No one who knows how many non-nutrional calories fast food meals contain, or what they do to cholesterol levels, could possibly consider them advisable.

Non-nutritional calories?

Calories are nutritional, by definition.

ben tillman said...

"the easy way out is to force the citizens to be more healthy."

Why is that a bad idea?


It's morally wrong. You can't legitimately own other people.

David Davenport said...

It's morally wrong. You can't legitimately own other people.

It's also a form of slavery to allow your fellow Americans to make themselves slaves to sloth and vice.

So now I'm morally superior to you, Mr. Pitchfork.

Anonymous said...

j.,

I am wondering if encouraging the saturation of fast food restaurants in minority neighborhoods is just another example of you all's contempt for blacks and Hispanics or sheer ignorance.

You don't think your assumption that blacks and Hispanics are uniquely unable to avoid excessive indulgence in fast food is pretty contemptuous?

Once the fast food chains are shut down, are you going to employ all the displaced workers at inner-city organic food marts?

What do you think the cost per calorie would work out for an impoverished inner-city resident at Whole Foods versus Mickey D's?

I know I shouldn't, but I still do find it surprising that people of your mindset are still around.

--Senor Doug

Anonymous said...

It's also a form of slavery to allow your fellow Americans to make themselves slaves to sloth and vice.

That's a pretty broad duty. I bet you're real fun to be around at parties, working selflessly to discharge your duty to prevent your fellow Americans from indulging in sloth or vice.

How does that work? Do you just take the beers out of people's hands and dump them out of their lawn chairs, or do you solemnly lecture them for hours on end?

--Senor Doug

David Davenport said...

How does that work? Do you just take the beers out of people's hands and dump them out of their lawn chairs, or do you solemnly lecture them for hours on end?

Depends on how much political power they have.

none of the above said...

The fast food ban is silly, but not surprising. Politicians at every level think they're the lords and we're the serfs. That doesn't change just because in this case, both lords and serfs are mostly black.

Martin: I doubt any state action that we'd be willing to do would get rid of gay bathhouses. If the threat of HIV doesn't do it, no penalty we offer will either. (Unless we threaten something worse than a slow physical decline kept at bay by expensive and nasty drugs, followed by a lingering and horrible death, and the bonus of knowing you've likely shared this fate with a bunch of your loved ones.)

David Davenport said...

That's a pretty broad duty. I bet you're real fun to be around at parties, working selflessly to discharge your duty to prevent your fellow Americans from indulging in sloth or vice.

I'm only asking for a little middle class-ness in L.A.'s historically downpressed communities.

You seem too agree with NObama's Rev. Wright that liberated black folk don't need no middle class-ness.

Free yo mind and follow her ass to Jack in da Box!

Anonymous said...

I'm only asking for a little middle class-ness in L.A.'s historically downpressed communities.

I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or if you live in Vermont. Go to a suburban mall in Dallas, Atlanta, Wichita, Ann Arbor, Cleveland, wherever, and tell me what the middle class is eating in the food court.

--Senor Doug

David said...

Imagine a ban on fast food restaurants in white neighborhoods that isn't self-imposed, but imposed from the outside, by authorities! DC liberals threaten to do something like this from time to time, mau-mauing Mickey Dee's to go easy on the lard temporarily, but to run around knocking Fat Boys and forties out da hand of the brothers for their own good is the kind of social policy reserved uniquely for underclasses and children, whose inability to exercise self-control causes obvious problems.

Not all blacks are in the underclass, but the underclass is largely black, and this ban is yet another clue that we live in two nations.

Thomas Jefferson foresaw the breakup of the United States along racial lines in his famous statement

"Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people [blacks] are to be free. Nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government." Cite.

The upshot is that our legal system is perverted by stretching it to address black miscreants. Crime is committed by blacks at very high levels compared to whites or Asians, and much of the underlying dysfunctional behavior is uniquely prevalent in black populations throughout the world and the centuries. Blacks on average need a comparatively high level of discipline imposed on them from the outside. Ask any teacher or LA cop. As government power grows and gets more brutal to handle the black underclass, and whether such treatment, per 14th Amendment, is applied equally to other racial populations - or not, depending on common sense - you have a country coming apart at the seams. Another failed multiracial polity in the unmaking.

No, I don't want more counseling to make me see the light, thank you. I want a divorce. And I don't want threats, either.

David Davenport said...

Go to a suburban mall in Dallas, Atlanta, Wichita, Ann Arbor, Cleveland, wherever, and tell me what the middle class is eating in the food court.

Hitting a nerve, huh? You like those mall food courts.