Are You Buying This? Critics of NYC’s Large Soda Ban, Including NAACP, Say It Hurts Minority Businesses

12 comments
January 24, 2013 ‐ By
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Opponents and supporters of New York City’s ban on oversized sugary drinks made a court appearance yesterday, with critics seeking to put the measure on hold while this lawsuit is resolved. It’s scheduled to go into effect on March 12. At issue, reports the Associated Press, are biases that will disproportionately impact small and minority-owned businesses.

Mayor Bloomberg and his administration say this is an effort to combat the high obesity rate — 24 percent of adults in the city — and trim the $4.7 billion price tag for treating obesity-related illnesses.

The NAACP and the Hispanic Federation have joined the American Beverage Association and a number of other groups who argue that the rule oversteps into consumer choice and isn’t fair to businesses that will be prohibited from selling the jumbo beverages while convenience stores and other large businesses, which aren’t subject to city health rules, can sell the items. Businesses caught violating the 16-ounce rule will face a $200 fine, starting in June.

“The NAACP and the Hispanic Federation, an organization of 100 Northeastern groups, say their concern is that minority-owned delis and corner stores will end up at a disadvantage compared with grocery chains,” wrote the AP.

But some are calling out these organizations because of their ties to the big beverage companies. Among the ties cited: Coke is giving $100,000 to the NAACP for healthy lifestyle initiatives and former Hispanic Federation President Lillian Rodriguez Lopez now works for Coca-Cola. Gawker (h/t New York‘s Daily Intelligencer blog) also points out that the Hispanic Federation’s annual gala will honor Coca-Cola with the Corporate Leadership Award.

“Given that obesity rates are higher than average among blacks and Hispanics, the NAACP should refuse soda makers’ money and ‘reevaluate the position the group is taking in New York City,’ Michael F. Jacobson, the executive director of the nutrition advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest,” the AP adds.

“In its brief, the N.A.A.C.P. conceded that obesity was a significant problem among blacks and Hispanics. But the group urged the city to create a more holistic program to attack the problem, including an increase in financing for physical education programs in public schools,” The New York Times reports.

Are you buying this racial argument from the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation? The ban is a little heavy-handed, but honestly, if you want to drink that much soda, you can purchase that much soda. You just can’t do it in one container. So instead of buying a 20-ounce soda at the corner store, you buy two cans. Is that so outrageous?

The health issues associated with obesity have to be tackled, and we have to start somewhere. Why not start here? And if it doesn’t work, you do away with it. The NAACP is right; there should be increased physical education in public schools. But diet is a huge issue as well. Public policy is stepping in to try and change unhealthy behavior.

Thoughts?

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  • FromUR2UB

    This will be no more successful than prohibition was, especially if people in those neighborhoods fell into the the habit of drinking soda because it was cheap and more readily accessible than good drinking water or 100% juices. If there’s such a concern for people’s health, why don’t the NAACP and Hispanic Federation use their efforts to get those businesses to offer more fruit, vegetables and whole grains to their customers? Produce and nutritious foods are more costly than junk food, but it shouldn’t be because so much fresh food gets thrown away by farmers and food stores. There is no reason for anyone in this country to go hungry, because there is enough food produced to feed everyone.

  • THE RAVENS WILL WIN THE SB!

    I don’t live in NYC, but I don’t see how this ban targets minority businesses considering a lot of these business are in Black and Hispanic neighborhoods but are not actually owned and operated by Black or Hispanic people.

  • Kenedy

    Has anyone ever asked an entire organization to sit down? I will ask them to sit down, & since i don’t know how many seats will be needed, they may head to the dallas cowboys stadium & make themselves comfortable. I feel like now they are just trying too hard to stay in the forefront of anything

  • IllyPhilly

    Is it wrong to smh at a ban to help people from overeating?

  • SuZQ

    Looks like the NAACP received a call from the lobbyists on this one. I wonder what the soda industry is offering…

  • SuZQ

    Looks like the NAACP received a call from the lobbyists on this one. I wonder what the soda industry is offering…

  • Meyaka

    Come on ,who needs a gallon of soda to drink? That’s liquid death. If the ban target minorities then said minorities need to get their lives ,and restore order in it.

  • B

    Please! This ban does not target minorities. NAACP really needs to stop. I agree with the writer. This ban is not going to prevent people from drinking soda, just restrict the amount allowable per container. HOWEVER, there is no ban on how much they can purchase at one time. Look, if people want to eat and drink their way to diabetes, obesity and a plethora of other health issues, its their free choice. Personally, 8 oz of soda will suffice for me.

    • mo

      Right! So really it might HELP businesses because they can charge twice as much for people to drink what they would have before the ban. And they can just add 10 cents on all of the candy and chips there is no ban on. The NAACP needs to really use their name for something more meaningful. Like how about spearheading a healthy living campaign to encourage people to make wiser decisions when it comes to their health. Then if the minority grocers want to compete they will sell more healthy fare to match people’s changing tastes.

    • mo

      Right! So really it might HELP businesses because they can charge twice as much for people to drink what they would have before the ban. And they can just add 10 cents on all of the candy and chips there is no ban on. The NAACP needs to really use their name for something more meaningful. Like how about spearheading a healthy living campaign to encourage people to make wiser decisions when it comes to their health. Then if the minority grocers want to compete they will sell more healthy fare to match people’s changing tastes.

  • kierah

    NAACP needs to stay out of this one. I live in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn and honestly I can’t think of a single bodega or deli owned by a Black person in my neighborhood. There is 1 that is owned by a Hispanic family. This law isn’t hurting their businesses.

    However, I do know several Blacks and Hispanics that suffer from obesity. Minority owned business will suffer if all their clientele are too sick to shop in their stores.

    • nycplayboy78

      Exactly the NAACP and Hispanic Coalition needs to be advocating for MORE Black/Brown businesses being opened and started up….You see what happens when you follow the money…….Things that make you go hmmmm indeed….

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