Your Guide to the Target Boycott
Queercents is not going to get political here. At least, I’m not a fan of being political. I like to stick to the old wisdom that you should never discuss religion or politics unless you want to make quick enemies. But at the same time, the Target boycott is pretty hard to ignore. So rather than stay out of it, here’s your definitive guide to what happened, and the consumer decisions you make.
Matt Baume of the SFist posted an article about Target’s donation of $150,000 to Minnesota Forward, a Republican group that supports Tom Emmer. Tom Emmer is a Republican who is running for governor of Minnesota, so that is a big deal. Tom Emmer is also a supporter of a Christian rock group from his ministry known as You Can Run But You Cannot Hide. The frontman of that group, Bradlee Dean, has made some questionable comments about gays, including supporting the actions of Muslim countries that execute homosexuals.
To don the skeptic’s hat, though, Target is likely not supportive of Dean’s comments. Being a business, Target supports the Republican governor for his lenient business stance compared to that of most Democrats. Let’s be fair to Emmer here too; although he supports Dean’s group, to tie his comments to Emmer is ridiculously unfair. It is as unfair as saying that all Republicans are like Ann Coulter just because they invite her to events. That dimension of the boycott is unfair, as it is merely guilt by association.
Here’s a further complication. According to the HRC, Target received a 100 on its index of gay-friendly businesses. Target is more progressive than virtually any other retailer out there, going so far as to offer even transgender-inclusive healthcare, partner coverage, an employer-supported employee resource group, and provides diversity training. Aside from this donation, Target has been nothing but supportive of the gay community and been quite a booster.
By contrast, Men’s Wearhouse, Office Depot, Radio Shack, Walmart, AutoZone, Meijer, and even Minnesota-based Regis Corp. all score significantly lower, ranging from a middling 68 down to a questionable 20 on the index. The question here is why are we currently boycotting a business that has had a 100 with HRC (although this latest action may bring them to an 85) while Walmart enjoys top position on the Fortune 500 and a dismal score of 40? Target, by the way, is only 31 on the Fortune 500 list. Walmart’s market cap is $190 billion as of this writing, while Target sits at $38 billion.
In summary, this boycott is currently lead due to Target’s funding of a campaign for Minnesota’s next governor, who supports a group whose leader has made questionable comments. Is the boycott fair or effective?
Don’t expect to find answers here. This is just your guide to the boycott. The answers are up to you, readers. Let me know what you think in the comments.