Saturday, December 3, 2016

ACTION: The Anti-Boycott

Boycotts can be an effective means of convincing a business to rethink its policies. On an individual basis, it makes sense to refuse to patronize businesses that discriminate or otherwise engage in practices that violate principles of social justice. But boycotts generally require a large group effort and tons of publicity to pull off successfully. Too often they don't accomplish much beyond the noise they might generate. 

Case in point, when President-elect Trump castigated the company of the hit Broadway musical Hamilton for addressing VP-elect Mike Pence following a performance he attended (the company's message: "we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us"), there was a hue and cry among Trump supporters. They immediately declared a boycott of the show as a means of showing their disapproval. The problem is, of course, tickets to Hamilton are pretty much sold out for the next year and things are likely to continue at capacity for a very long time indeed, rendering a boycott a meaningless if self-satisfying gesture.  

Here's a different approach you might consider.  Call it the Anti-Boycott.  

Go out of your way to patronize businesses that make it a point of supporting social justice causes. The next time you crave ice cream, you might want to choose Ben & Jerrys, whose foundation ( has a mission of engaging in "philanthropy and social change work" both locally and around the country.  Or take a look at Bombas (, a company that sells socks and donates a pair to homeless persons for every pair purchased.  

You buy ice cream.  You buy socks.  Right?  So, here's a way to be part of the solution.  

Then there is the Chobani Yogurt story. Check out this excerpt from an article by David Gelles, that appeared in the October 31, 2016 edition of The New York Times:

By many measures, Chobani embodies the classic American immigrant success story.

Its founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, is a Turkish immigrant of Kurdish descent. He bought a defunct yogurt factory in upstate New York, added a facility in Twin Falls, Idaho, and now employs about 2,000 people making Greek yogurt.

But in this contentious election season, the extreme right has a problem with Chobani: In its view, too many of those employees are refugees.

As Mr. Ulukaya has stepped up his advocacy — employing more than 300 refugees in his factories, starting a foundation to help migrants, and traveling to the Greek island of Lesbos to witness the crisis firsthand — he and his company have been targeted with racist attacks on social media and conspiratorial articles on websites including Breibart News. 

Now there are calls to boycott Chobani. Mr. Ulukaya and the company have been taunted with racist epithets on Twitter and Facebook. Fringe websites have published false stories claiming Mr. Ulukaya wants “to drown the United States in Muslims.” And the mayor of Twin Falls has received death threats, partly as a result of his support for Chobani.

Death threats for reaching out a helping hand to refugees!!! Really???!!!

Here's where the Anti-Boycott approach comes into play.  Show your support by making a point of purchasing Chobani Yogurt over other brands. Simple.  

You could even go one step further and let others know about this and see if you can spread the word. You might even want to drop the company a word of encouragement if you've a mind to.  Gotta do something, folks. Remember:


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