“The NAACP for several months now has been monitoring a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines,” said Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP in a strongly worded statement Wednesday.
Still, shares of American Airlines(AAL, +0.31%) appeared unaffected by the news, sliding about 2% by late trading Wednesday. The sell off has largely been thanks to Alaska Air Group earnings that missed expectations in the third quarter, fanning worries that air travel in general was weaker than previously though during the period. Alaska Air Group lost about 12% on the news, while the S&P 500 Airlines Index fell by about 3%.
Perhaps its comes as a surprise considering a potential boycott from the U.S.’s second-largest ethnic group, or perhaps it comes as no surprise to those who followed the April United Airlines saga in which the giant became known for dragging a bloodied passenger off an overbooked plane. Shares of United barely wavered on the news. One month later, it breached an all-time high. The reason?
“Even if consumers wanted to boycott those airlines, their hands are tied,” said Jonah Berger, a marketing professor at the the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School Wednesday.
Though the airlines industry has become one of America’s most beloved customer service punching bags, it’s also highly resilient to such boycotts due to heavy consolidation over the past decade. American is among four airlines that command roughly 70% of the U.S. market — giving consumers little choice over who flies them where.
What also potentially gives African American fliers even less flexibility in their choices surrounding the industry: fliers tend to be price conscious. The wage gap for African Americans is growing compared to their white counterparts, recent research from the San Francisco Federal Reserve revealed. While the average African American man earned 80 cents on each dollar earned by their white counterparts in 1979,they were earning 70 cents on the dollar in 2016. In other words, African Americans tend to have less buying power.
Perhaps coincidentally, African Americans also make up a disproportionately small percentage of fliers: 8% in 2015, according to research from Ipsos Public Affairs and Airlines for America, which surveyed over 3,000 Americans over the age of 18. African-Americans make up 13.3% of the general population, according to Census Bureau data. Similar data from Gallup in 2015 also found that non-white fliers also tend to travel less. While the average white traveler took about 2.5 air trips a year, non-whites took less than half that figure. [MORE]
Just hold a press conference and issue a press release and like that - the boycott is on? Clearly the above factors were never considered by the NAACP [national association for the advancement of confused people]. Their ineffective "travel ban" is another example of leadership as performance with no substance by "other directed" so-called Black leaders. Boycotts are not child's play. Such strategic activity requres skilled planning and organization by serious persons desiring to neutralize the system of white supremacy.
African Americans' collective purchasing power is an estimated 1.3 trillion dollars. [MORE]. Black dollars matter. Rather than begging or trying to persuade racists to change a particular course of conduct a successful boycott can force change.
However, boycotts cannot be random or individual. Personal boycotts or symbolic boycotts are not boycotts. They are simply an individual consumer choice and have only a minimal, symbolic effect. This is more "protest" actually in cooperation with and submission to white supremacy/racism.
Rather, a boycott is a collective, group effort to inflict some economic loss to compel the target to change its conduct. A boycott must be an actual organized campaign that directly communicates to Black consumers to mobilize their participation via social media & grassroots organizing in Black & Brown communities/organizations and then targets specific businesses. Recently for example, Bill O'Reilly was fired [not over racism] for his foul treatment of women after corporate sponsors began to pullout from FoxNews when advocates began to apply pressure to them [MORE] and [MORE]. After O'Reilly was fired, the financial markets responded positively to the decision by Fox News, and its parent company 21st Century Fox rose over two percent in the stock market the next day.[MORE] Other examples include the gay and lesbian boycott of advertisers of the "Dr. Laura" talk show, gun owners' similar boycott of advertisers of Rosie O'Donnell's talk show and (later) magazine, and gun owners' boycott of Smith & Wesson following that company's March 2000 settlement with the Clinton administration. They may be initiated very easily using either Web sites (the Dr. Laura boycott), newsgroups (the Rosie O'Donnell boycotts), or mailing lists, twitter etc. Internet-initiated boycotts can "snowball" very quickly compared to other forms of organization [MORE] -by individuals who are serious about changing something.
In theory, a successful boycott can empower Blacks & Latinos and simultaneously disempower elite whites and change the relations and structure of social power." However, it must be executed to be more than a media stunt or another beggar politics episode.
The NAACP will apparently take no real risks to actually “advance” colored people and awaken itself from its zombie state. Although the NAACP will organize and advertise for the Democratic Party with targeted mail, registration drives and television commercials, it will not make similar efforts for a real NFL boycott or travel ban that could meaningfully alter Blacks & Latinos’ relationship with white run and controlled entities such as the NFL or American Airlines. Such risky business probably would jeopardize the NAACP’s relationship with its own corporate, white masters. [MORE]