A trade group called the American Beverage Association is in court trying to prevent a New York City law limiting the size of sugar drinks from going into effect on March 12. Well they would, wouldn’t they. But they have some odd allies.
Opponents also are raising questions of racial fairness alongside other complaints as the novel restriction faces a court test.
The NAACP’s New York state branch and the Hispanic Federation have joined beverage makers and sellers in trying to stop the rule from taking effect March 12. Critics are attacking what they call an inconsistent and undemocratic regulation, while city officials and health experts defend it as a pioneering and proper move to fight obesity.
The issue is complex for the minority advocates, especially given that obesity rates are higher than average among blacks and Hispanics, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The groups say in court papers they’re concerned about the discrepancy, but the soda rule will unduly harm minority businesses and “freedom of choice in low-income communities.”
I wonder what “unduly” means there. I also wonder what on earth the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation are thinking. They want sugar drinks to be extra-special cheap so that blacks and Hispanics can have higher than average rates of Type 2 diabetes? Do they also wish lead-based paint were still legal and readily available? Do they long for the old days when toddlers could munch on paint chips full of lead?
The NAACP and the Hispanic Federation, a network of 100 northeastern groups, say minority-owned delis and corner stores will end up at a disadvantage compared to grocery chains.
“This sweeping regulation will no doubt burden and disproportionally impact minority-owned businesses at a time when these businesses can least afford it,” they said in court papers. They say the city should focus instead on increasing physical education in schools.
So it’s about the businesses but not about the people who shop there. Maybe not the best choice.