Boycotts Are Effective When Based on Facts

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Reaction to the so-called “show me your papers” immigration crackdown was swift. People from across the U.S. canceled trips to The Copper State. Several companies moved meetings out of Phoenix. From New York to Washington, people decided to boycott Arizona-based products. Even Columbus jumped on the boycotting bandwagon, with a halt on all city-funded business travel to the state. Yet, while protesting can significantly affect the ways corporations and governments operate, the Arizona case displays how some fail to fully understand boycotting as a form of protest.

Often times, boycotters don’t know all the facts . Take for example a recent New York Times report. People upset by the Arizona laws decided to boycott the Arizona Iced Tea beverage company. A major problem with their boycott, though, was the fact that the drink is actually produced in New York. Thus, these distressed citizens who thought they were making a statement against the immigration laws, were in fact making a statement against innocent New Yorkers. While you can argue the people protesting the beverage maker were well-intentioned, what they were not was well informed.

In an age of hyper technology, where individuals are always connected and can have CNN tweets sent directly to their cell phones, a lot of knowledge still gets lost in the shuffle.And that lost knowledge can have significant consequences. The Arizona Iced-Tea mix-up may not be that severe and New York probably will not feel the effects. Yet, protesting travel to Arizona can significantly affect the daily lives of Arizona businesspeople and their employees . Moreover, the boycott can also have a huge influence on the livelihood of individuals who voted both for and against the bill. The very population the boycotts are attempting to help may in fact be hurt by a loss of business.

This is not to say that boycotting travel to Arizona is without i merit. Nor does it diminish the efforts of those individuals who through their refusal to drink Arizona Iced T feel they are making a statement. But engaging in a boycott without thoughtfully understanding all the facts can severely affect people’s social, political, and financial existences.

Boycotting will continue as a form of protest long after the discussion of the Arizona law has ceased. And people will continue to make boycotting mistakes, such as the Arizona Tea fiasco. In the end, individuals in Columbus, Ohio, and across the U.S. need to simply take a moment to follow their own informed opinion about a boycott, rather than follow their tweets.

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