African-Americans Should Use Their Boycott Power to Protest Abortion
by Djana Milton
March 2, 2008
Djana Milton is a member of the National Advisory Council — the Project 21 black leadership network. The National Center for Public Policy Research originally published this editorial.
Money talks. This is a truism black Americans relied upon to enact change during the civil rights movement, with protests such as the Montgomery bus boycott. Its power was seen again in this century with the boycott of Adam’s Mark hotel chain after black customers were treated disrespectfully.
In applying the power of not buying, blacks have successfully hit businesses and other organizations where it hurts the most – in the pocketbook.
But are equal rights, equal access, equal treatment and the like the only causes for which the flexing of black financial muscle is worthy? Furthermore, can we honestly say that equal rights are fully realized as long as so many are denied the most basic right of all, and the one from which all other rights proceed – the right to life?
Some pro-life activists say "no" and are taking the financial boycott strategy into the fight for life.
Consider the work of Life Decisions International (LDI), a pro-life group that monitors the activities of the abortion and birth control provider Planned Parenthood, and maintains a list of its corporate sponsors. LDI works to educate corporations about the insidious nature of the $700 million Planned Parenthood organization, enabling conscientious business owners and investors to avoid becoming unwitting pawns in the group’s game of death.
Sixteen years ago, LDI called for a boycott of companies and organizations that contribute financially to Planned Parenthood. To-date, LDI president Douglas Scott estimates the boycott has cost Planned Parenthood roughly $40 million, as his list of former sponsors has grown to 160 names.
Similarly, the NAACP and other groups established a rating system for the hotel industry – grading chains and individual hotels based on different assessments of how they cater to black Americans.
Allied with 55 other black groups, such as the National Black Caucus and the National Bar Association, the NAACP estimates that their coalition at the time of its founding comprised some 9 million potential customers to the tune of $200 million in potential hotel and convention spending. Those are dollars that would be withheld if hotels didn’t meet the coalition’s goals for things including hiring and granting franchises.
With that kind of financial leverage focused on hotels, one must wonder what kind of effect could be realized if a similar coalition were to join forces with LDI in the battle against abortion.
For example, LDI’s latest boycott list contains hotel chains such as the Carlson Companies (Country Inns and Suites, Park Inn, Park Plaza, Radisson and Regent) and InterContinential Hotels (Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Staybridge) that financially support Planned Parenthood.
Ironically, the NAACP leadership supports abortion, opposing what – for an estimated 14 million unborn black Americans and counting – remains a still unfulfilled civil rights promise of the right to live.
If 23 percent of the estimated 39 million blacks in America are expected to alter their spending habits over a smile and a suite at a hotel, shouldn’t at least that many be open to the idea of altering their buying habits to protest an organization instrumental in the deaths of approximately 14 million unborn black Americans?
What is the value of a baby’s life in 2007 America?
As far as the NAACP is concerned, it is apparently not worth much. Each of us has a question that we must examine on our own, that being, "How much am I willing to not spend, in order to increase the value of life and advance it’s cause?" However personal such an answer may be, this I know: Burke was right. Evil does prevail when good men do nothing.
At this time of year, it is difficult not to recall that recent, yet momentous struggle for black civil rights and the man who helped re-awaken America to its promise of justice for all. Dr. King once remarked, "We have waited more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights."
It has now been 380 years. Some still wait.