The Diamond Shamrock Protest May Be Canceled Due to Lack of Interest. 'Bout Time.

Categories: Development

ShamrockProtest.jpg
Anna Merlan
Recent protests have not been quite this well attended.
A week ago Monday, two people picketed outside Diamond Shamrock Kwik Stop on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. "Don't Stop, Don't Shop," and "They're Using the 'N' Word," their signs read. The day after that, there were three. One snapped my picture for crossing the picket line and entering the store. The other two held up the same signs.

Last Wednesday, no one showed up. This weekend, the temperature dropped into the 30s. Four people picketed on Saturday. Monday, it was cold and rainy. There was one guy out front. Guy out front: We salute you.

It's amazing what a few days of bad weather will do to a movement, chilling support as people get bored or cold or have to go to work or stop believing in The Cause.

When Schutze broke the story a la hat-cam a while back, we were all told that Thomas Pak, the gas station's Korean owner, simply had to go. The story was one of his employees shot a black thief dead for stealing a candy bar, and that Pak called Nation of Islam student minister Jeffery Muhammad a "nigger" and told him to "go back to Africa." Black leaders such as Muhammad, Dallas NAACP President Juanita Wallace, activist Joyce Foreman and the Reverends Ronald Wright and Peter Johnson converged on the gas station and store, first to protest, and then to lay plans to buy the station. They planned to turn it over to black ownership, and this nasty story would have a happy ending.

But the story ended not with a buyout but a whimper. The Cause met Reality. Reality won. (Last we checked, Reality was undefeated.)

The truth was that black thief, Marcus Phillips, wasn't after a candy bar. He tried to run off with the whole damn cash register. Tragic as it was he died, a store that can't hold onto its cash register isn't a store for long.

And it turns out that Jeffery Muhammad was in the Kwik Stop giving as good as he got as he traded racial slurs with Pak. Now, almost two months later, you've got a roomful of black leaders who claim to be fighting for South Dallas, and South Dallas doesn't care.

Wright says the Shamrock protest was a community issue, and "the community should be lining up to protest."

What community is that, though? Blacks and Koreans and everyone who lives or works in South Dallas are all in the same bleak boat. In the center of a food desert, self-appointed community leaders fought to close a store instead of opening a competitor in a nearby abandoned storefront. The longer this protest continued, the separatist fear became more obvious.

I was in a room with some of these leaders last week as they argued over what to do with the Kwik Stop. At first they thought I wrote for the Weekly or the Examiner. When they realized I worked for the Observer, I was kicked out by Wallace and Muhammad for not being "black press." (I've written professionally for a month; I've been black since 1988.) I wasn't from their side of the Trinity, and so I wasn't one of them.

Neither, apparently, are the store owners trying to survive in South Dallas. To the protesters, the neighborhood is divided into two camps: "the community" and those trying to exploit it. Consider what Muhammad said this weekend when Wallace let him tag along for a sit-down with Korean-American leaders:

Muhammad said American history shows that Italians, Indians, Arabs and other ethnicities have moved businesses into black communities to steal opportunities from them.

"I believe everyone has benefited to the downfall of black people," he said. "You are now just the next person in a line of people who have come to the black community and taken advantage of people who have been destroyed in this country."

He speaks as though opportunities are not something to be grasped, fought for, acquired by hard work, but simply stolen, like a cash register. What, exactly, is stolen when other cultures move into abandoned lots, integrate with blacks and compete for business?

Wright, Johnson, Muhammad and Wallace -- who claimed to speak for all of South Dallas -- said they would try to find someone to buy the store, and if they couldn't they would just protest it out of business. When no one materialized, they tried to do that: just shut it down.

But why, exactly, should the community line up behind that cause?

It didn't, of course, which is probably why Wright called yesterday to say he and Johnson were going to call a press conference announcing they were backing out of the protest.

"It's a victory, but if we wait much longer it's going to turn into a loss," Wright told me. And Wright's right. Pak lost thousands of dollars in revenue and business. He apologized publicly for using a slur. That's a win. Pack it up, toss the signs. Let's go home.

"I was trying to shut them down," Wright admitted of the Kwik Stop. "But the people crossing the picket line weren't white or Korean. The people crossing the picket line looked like me."

That's because most of the people around the Shamrock need the Shamrock. There's a liquor store next door, an open-air drug market down the street and not a grocery store in sight. Isn't that worth protesting?

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Pogo
Pogo

Does anyone remember the morning talk show on 89.3 that was shut down several years ago because of nonsensical logic such as this? A group of morons spouting hatred and bigotry and blaming everyone but themselves finally said too many hate filled words. When contacted and a complaint was vocalized, the station denied anyone on their shows would say the things we quoted to them...Arabs were a white plot to take the black opportunities away from them, stuff like that. The station wasn't monitering their own programs. When they also threatened to boycott a Dallas car dealership because someone reported he was "disrespected".These morning "hosts" were using their bully pulpit to slam this dealship by vocalizing the business name, calling for a financial boycott. They didn't need any proof other than someone's word that he had been discriminated against.  They used slurs against anyone not black and on their level. Even black individuals were slammed if they argued against what these people were saying. The station finally decided to moniter it's broadcasts, discovered what had been said and low and behold...shut em down. These idiots no more represented the majority of residents of South Dallas than I do. But you couldn't tell it by the logic of the ones spewing the hatred. I really believe that many of these participants could be the same ones who supported the talk show hosts rhetoric. Or maybe, their clones? Go out and buy your own fricking business, I believe the Kwik Stop store already has an owner.

trudat
trudat

...according to their Facebook page; the picketing line is alive and well...and you are a "liar"...just saying....

Brandon Reed
Brandon Reed

I'm sorry Greg but I'm from that side of town and know very well of this store and its owners. This behavior has been going on in this and other stores in southern Dallas. It is sad when we have writers who just want to please massa and not look deeply into the facts of this community. Please study facts before you write on anything going on in southern Dallas. Just because you are Black don't make all the evil that has been done right. You have lots to learn Greg. Thank G-D people are protesting and not KILLING.

WatchingSouth Detroit
WatchingSouth Detroit

The fact is that a multiple convicted felon tried to steal this business's cash register.  The owners have a right to defend waht is theirs.  This felon didn't have to try to steal this man's money.

The fact is that their are many closed stores in the area.  Why doesn't a black businessman open up his own store.  The he can operate it as he pleases.  The fact that these protesters can't find any black businessperson to open a store says a lot.

The fact is these protesters are at this store and are ignoring the drug market down the street.  Why isn't there a protest for a drug market?

If you have some other "facts", then let's hear them.  Don't just say "study facts ".  Let's hear your "facts".

Guest
Guest

The n i g g e r s are always causing trouble.

Guest
Guest

Go f u c k yourself, you low-life racist bastard.

PhilanderingMoustache
PhilanderingMoustache

DMN said that council member Davis was getting this gas station inspected, twice in a week whereas they had 1 inspection in the last decade before this protest started.  What does the city have to say about this harrassment?

Ellum08
Ellum08

That must be cleanest place in the entire city of Dallas.

holman
holman

Last, but by no means least,courage--moral courage, the courage of one's convictions, the courage to seethings through. The world is in a constant conspiracy against the brave. It'sthe age-old struggle--the roar of the crowd on one side and the voice of yourconscience on the other. - Douglas MacArthur

WatchingSouth Detroit
WatchingSouth Detroit

Why aren't they protesting the guy who tried to rob the store?  No one will speak of this but one of the major reasons why there are no large businesses in south Dallas is that stores lose a ton to theft and robbery.  There are higher rates of shoplifting and outright holdups. Business owners have to be really careful about who they hire in any business because employee thefts are higher also.  How about the NAACP and these "community activists" address and protest these issues?  If south Dallas wants investment and businesses, then they need to welcome them.  Not abuse them.

cp
cp

WELCOME to Dallas, Greg!

RJ
RJ

One of my best friends who lived just north of Fair Park "was not black enough" when he was studying in high school and college. Then he go a great job paying over $120,000. Then everyone wanted to be his friend. The poor guy was shunned by the North Dallas/Parkie types AND South Dallas. Luckily he was at home in East Dallas.

claytonauger
claytonauger

This might be one the most honest articles about South Dallas politics I've ever read in the popular Dallas media. Love the part where you're assumed to be an Examiner/Weekly reporter. Perception is everything. Congrats to Robert for the hire and to you for doing some nice writing. I hope this perspective is allowed to flourish for a while.

Justin Julian
Justin Julian

SOLID story.  Kudos to the Obs, keep this kid.

G2's Mom
G2's Mom

Greg, you have reported this story with honesty, integrity and a level of maturity that fills me with such pride. I look forward to reading more of your articles

pencil
pencil

Times are tough to be a black shakedown artist in South Dallas.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Imagine what they could achieve if they put their energies into encouraging the young to get a education, learn how to work hard and start businesses.

cp
cp

or to get "an" education....

sparechange
sparechange

That'll be one large strawberry icee and a $20 rock...your total came out to be $22.55...have a blessed day!

Dunbar
Dunbar

You mean Juanita Wallace got cold and went home?  What a shame!  I thought her racism, bigotry and narccissism would keep her warm.  I guess the NAACP couldn't raise any money so she left.Bye Juanita!

Melvinevans
Melvinevans

Greg, i appreciate your non-bias reporting here. I believe that given the way they treated you, (someone trying to bring more light to the situation) it goes to show where the bigitry begins. And you had every opportunity to slam these "leaders" individualy, but didnt. Truth is without a "Leader" our communities will stay uninvolved and wither. Without education on opportunities our communities will continue to suffer. I can think of at least 3 areas, off the top of my head, that dont have OPEN grocery stores within 3 miles of large neighborhoods. I believe these "leaders" hearts were in the right place, its just thier minds, pockets and mouths got in the way. I wonder how many of those "LEADERS" live in that neighborhood or how far they had to drive to get there. Until we (All races all creeds) learn to take up for ourselves and accept our own responsibilities, we cant expect change!

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

I love how all the "Angry Community Leaders" always seem to forget that, many times, they're the ones who instigate the problems in their community to start with. I believe Chris Rock has an old comedy routine about it...

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

"Muhammad said American history shows that Italians, Indians, Arabs and other ethnicities have moved businesses into black communities to steal opportunities from them."

Sad to say stupidity and bigotry are equal opportunity employers.

"an open-air drug market down the street and not a grocery store in sight. Isn't that worth protesting?"

Hell no, those guys will cut you, they only go after safe targets.Good stuff, look forward to more of your work.

Oh fergot, Schutze Sucks!

JimS
JimS

No, YOU SUCK!

Lefttownalready
Lefttownalready

And the Mayor wonders why no one wants to invest in South Dallas. Other than a big mouth what makes Mr. Muhammad a community leader? Inquiring minds want to know.

NewsDog
NewsDog

Of course they quit. There was no 'equity' in it for them.

Phelps
Phelps

An obviously racist article.  Probably written by a tea bagger.

Daily Reader
Daily Reader

Hey!  he said "I've been black since 1988".  How can he be racist?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

still stuck on the tea bagger thing huh, its old

Brad
Brad

 Right up your alley

Heywood U Buzzoff
Heywood U Buzzoff

Greg -- welcome to Dallas politics.  It seems like those who want to protest either get bought off or go away from boredom.  And it is hard to tell which is which. 

Wright, Johnson, Muhammad, and the other 'leaders' could go to Shamrock or another franchiser to get their own convenience stores  and put their own money where their mouths are to show that they are at least a brave as Mr. Pak.  Heck, they could even claim they took the opportunity to do so.

hotsportsopinion
hotsportsopinion

Yes, I can't wait until they come up with the money to start there store, it'll last 6 months and go out of business. Most people have no clue on what it takes to run a successful business it takes ALOT of HARD WORK and time.

DaTruth
DaTruth

I love they keep speaking of "stealing opportunities". How about you go out and make your own dang opportunity then? Want to be the black guy that sells things from a store in a black community, then start a store. Don't blame the Korean, Italian, Indian, Arab, whomever for coming in and making their opportunity to fill a void that clearly was there before they opened their store.

At the same time I see nothing wrong with boycotting a store. If you don't want to shop somewhere for whatever reason it may be, that is your right to do so. Nobody is making you buy that candy bar or that gas when you could drive a little bit further to shop somewhere else that appreciates you. It's a free country.

southside
southside

Interesting that no one's protesting that day in and day out. Protest the guy that wants to hold on to his cash register and takes just as much offense to being called racist names as anyone else. Kick out the reporter who's not black enough, who didn't pay the right reporting tax, - whatever... But God forbid there would be sustained protesting over the open air drug market or the fact that the only choice people have for food is the gas station convenience stores. Maybe "the community" should use its sign money on opening up community owned stores.

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