Is boycotting Florida after Zimmerman a good move?

Or would that strategy do more harm than good? After all, the people it would hurt didn't do anything wrong.

By Jonathan Berr Jul 19, 2013 12:13PM
Orlando, Florida (© Purestock/age fotostock)Would boycotting Florida businesses in the wake of the acquittal of George Zimmerman do more harm than good?

That's the question supporters of such a move -- including singer Stevie Wonder,  California Assemblyman Chris Holden, and Moveon.org -- haven't brought up. Civil rights activist Martin Luther King III, who is encouraging people not to buy Florida orange juice, hasn't discussed it either. That's a pity.

Tourism is Florida's No. 1 industry and employs more than 1 million state residents, more than 5% of the total population. The citrus business is smaller and supports about 76,000 jobs. By boycotting Florida's $71.8 billion tourism industry and its $1.14 billion citrus business, activists are lumping people in with Zimmerman who may be as outraged as they are about the killing of Trayvon Martin.

It's guilt by association, which ironically is what many people accused the former neighborhood watch volunteer of assuming of Martin, who was unarmed when he was killed. Not only is it unfair, but it's un-American.

The potential economic impact of these types of actions can be tricky to measure. According to CBS Miami, a 2010 boycott of Arizona after the state passed a controversial crackdown on people without proper immigration papers cost about $145 million in lost business. Not surprisingly, Florida Gov. Rick Scott is in damage-control mode and is visiting the cable news outlets to press his case.

At least one organization, the National Association of Black Journalists, is taking the right approach by resisting calls by some members to cancel its annual convention in Florida. 

"We as black journalists have a role here; we must examine this story and the ramifications of the tragedy of Trayvon Martin's death, as well as the ramifications of the verdict in the Zimmerman trial, from all sides," the group says on its website.

This isn't the first time public outrage has trumped common sense. Soon after BP's (BP) Gulf oil spill in 2010, calls erupted for people to boycott the company's service stations. The one flaw with that logic was that the folks who owned them were independent businesspeople, which has been the case for years.

An owner of a cafe in Oakland whose window was smashed by anti-Zimmerman protestors is using his misfortune as a way to start a dialogue about race in America. That seems to be a far more productive approach than economically punishing people who haven't done anything wrong.

Follow Jonathan Berr on Twitter @jdberr.

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167Comments
Jul 19, 2013 1:47PM
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I wish steve wonder and others like him would boycott Illinois.  No one seems to be worried that we had more than 500 murders last year.  Maybe now with the NEW conceal carry law we can protect ourself. 
Jul 19, 2013 1:57PM
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Hmmm - maybe if all those who were against Conceal and Carry would boycott Florida and leave the state never to return there wouldn't be a need to carry any more.
Jul 19, 2013 2:03PM
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It seems the only people that have a problem with the verdict are the ones who are racially biased and ignoring the facts of the case as well as the stars and politicians who are pandering to that crowd. Neither will be spending large amounts of money in Florida so who cares.
Jul 19, 2013 2:07PM
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Stevie, pretty sure that no residents in Florida will know or care that an over-the-hill musician isn't going to play in their state anymore.  Liberal are too fricking funny; everything they do is based on "feelings" and not facts.  Now run along Stevie, nobody is listening to you anyway.....
Jul 19, 2013 2:00PM
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I am so sick of these reactionaries.  The jury ruled.....accept it and get over it.  Why punish millions of innocent people because YOU don't like a verdict.  Florida is georgeous, go and have some fun.
Jul 19, 2013 2:21PM
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The only racists I'm aware of these days are all black.
Jul 19, 2013 1:52PM
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Why not, the People that are talking this nonsense have little money to spend there, anyway.
Jul 19, 2013 1:57PM
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I pack , everyday, I wouldn't leave home without it !!!
Jul 19, 2013 2:10PM
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Let's see naacp boycotts Florida well that sure would keep me away......NOT!!

Jul 19, 2013 1:57PM
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I know a lot of people who are Outraged that George Zimmermans civil rights were violated by the prosecution but that is no reason to boycott visiting Florida. it is sad that the prosecution withheld evidence from the judge and the Special prosecutor  will probably face disciplinary action for her part in suppressing evidence in this case. Most people realize Not Guilty was the only verdict the jury coulsd have reached but the suppression of evidence by the Prosecution is beyond Criminal. Hopefully the prosecution will be investigated for civil rights and civil liberty violations with regard to Mr. Zimmerman.
Jul 19, 2013 2:30PM
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who actually cares about Stevie Wonder? Come on guys, who really cares if he boycotts? This whole conversation about the Zimmerman verdict is silly. He was arrested and went to trial and was innocent. Thank God for the stand your ground law! Thank God Zimmerman is innocent! Why is the African community so concerned that Zimmerman was innocent but yet they were totally OK with the OJ verdict? Double standards...
Jul 19, 2013 2:30PM
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A thought:  Instead of boycotting, leave the state.  If you weren't there, crime would dramatically drop and the need to be armed for self-defense would be almost nil.
Jul 19, 2013 2:18PM
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This is the same crowd who wanted to boycott Arizona when we passed common sense laws against illegals.  Fortunately they are in a minority as most other states have similar laws.
Jul 19, 2013 2:34PM
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Anyone notice how all the animals running the streets in California also decided to boycott that state after the O.J. verdict? Of course not. But hey, as a Floridian, let me be the first to invite all of you morons with your agendas to indeed boycott. Stay away. We don't want you here. And we won't miss you. As for our tourism, it will be fine. And the next time you see a TV commercial for Disney World, take note of the preponderance of WHITE people in the spot.
Jul 19, 2013 2:39PM
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I have been planning a vacation in Florida for some time.  NOW, Thanks to has been Wonder boy I will be going during their stupid boycott.  So get it started racists misfits. Go spend you lazy a- -  welfare checks (my money) some where else.  This way I can enjoy my vacation without looking over my shoulder all the time.  SO  BYE,  BYE .  OH!  don't let the door hit you in the A- - on your way out...
Jul 19, 2013 2:28PM
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A Great move.  Because I will bring my family there on vacation to support Florida.  Remember AA only represent 12% population but demands to be the tail wagging the dog. 
Jul 19, 2013 2:42PM
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A boycott would be good.  They are mostly undesirables anyway.  Stevie Wonder can take his butt on down the road, I promise I will not miss him.  Look how dangerous Orlando has become and it is mostly blacks doing the robbing, and shooting. In fact they shot one of their own almost on a daily basis. 
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So Florida won't be getting to see Stevie Wonder. And guess what? STEVIE WONDER WON'T BE GETTING TO SEE FLORIDA.
Jul 19, 2013 2:55PM
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Let everyone of the Black organizations boycott Florida. It will be a better state for it.
Jul 19, 2013 3:59PM
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Three days ago Jesse Jackson told all African Americans that it is time to boycott the whole state of Florida. No concerts, conventions or ball games. No vacations in the sunshine state and no orange juice. Almost instantly the property values in Florida shot up and vacation spots began to sell out. The crime rate is expected to fall to record lows
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