This Essay analyzes expressive boycotts in the market for wigs and hair extensions, where consumers are primarily African Americans and producers are almost uniformly Korean Americans. This type of ethnically segmented and misaligned (“ESM”) market raises unique doctrinal and theoretical questions. Under antitrust caselaw, the treatment of a campaign to divert business from Korean American–owned to African American–owned hair stores is uncertain because of the campaign’s mixed social and economic motives. Delving into the theoretical implications of this ESM market can help steer the doctrine appropriately. Along the way, such an exercise illuminates the nuances of racial solidarity and market power among consumers, as well as the inequality between consumers and producers.
Felix B. Chang, Anisha Rakhra & Janelle Thompson, Racially Collusive Boycotts:African American Purchasing Power in the Wigs and Hair Extensions Market, 102 B.U.L. Rev. 101 (forthcoming 2022).