It's an odd slogan. As the encyclopedia Africana notes, apartheid was a racially discriminatory policy "enforced by white minority governments." Opening a McDonald's in South-Central L.A. is not government-enforced racial discrimination. But telling McDonald's it can open franchises only in the white part of town—what do you call that?
And what about the argument that people in South-Central need the government to block unhealthy food options because they're "in a poor situation" to locate better choices? This is the argument normally made for restricting children's food options at school—that they're more dependent and vulnerable than the rest of us. How do you feel about treating poor people like children?
It's true that food options in low-income neighborhoods are, on average, worse than the options in wealthier neighborhoods. But restricting options in low-income neighborhoods is a disturbingly paternalistic way of solving the problem. And the helplessness attributed to poor people is exaggerated. "You try to get a salad within 20 minutes of our location; it's virtually impossible," says the Community Coalition's executive director. Really? The coalition's headquarters is at 8101 S. Vermont Ave. A quick Google search shows, among other outlets, a Jack-in-the-Box six blocks away. They have salads. Not the world's greatest salads, but not as bad as a government that tells you whose salad you can eat.
Already, the majority leader of New York's city council wants to adopt food zoning, and several cities have phoned L.A.'s planning department to request copies of the ordinance. Hey, I'm all for better food in impoverished neighborhoods. Incentives for grocery stores are a great idea. But telling certain kinds of restaurants that they can't serve certain kinds of people is just plain wrong, even when you think it's for their own good.