Rev. Jesse Jackson targets Apple, Google, HP, others in tech racial diversity campaign

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2014
American political activist the Rev. Jesse Jackson on Wednesday launched a new campaign aimed at drawing awareness to the lack of racial diversity in the executive ranks of top-tier Silicon Valley firms, including Apple.

Jesse Jackson


"Technology is supposed to be about inclusion, but sadly, patterns of exclusion remains the order of the day," Jackson wrote in a letter issued under the Rainbow PUSH Coalition banner. "When it comes to African Americans on Board - ZERO. C-suites, ZERO. Minority firms in IPO's and financial transactions, advertising and professional services - ZERO. These ZEROES are contrary to the enlightened values exposed by the industry. Rainbow PUSH is seeking meetings with tech leaders to address these ZEROES head on."

In addition to Apple, the coalition distributed copies of the letter to Twitter, Facebook, Hewlett Packard, Google and "other iconic Silicon Valley technology companies." It is not the first time Apple has come under fire for the relative lack of diversity in its executive ranks, which features few women or minorities.

Former Avon CEO Andrea Jung is the lone female member of the company's board, while communications vice president Katie Cotton and human resources head Denise Young-Smith -- an African-American -- are the only women known to report directly to CEO Tim Cook. Incoming retail chief Angela Ahrendts, now the CEO of fashion house Burberry, will be the first woman on Apple's senior leadership team when she joins later this spring.

In January, following pressure from shareholders, Apple directors altered the charter of the Nominating and Corporate Governance committee to include language codifying a commitment to diversifying the makeup of the board.

"The Committee is committed to actively seeking out highly qualified women and individuals from minority groups to include in the pool from which Board nominees are chosen," the bylaws now read.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 271
    I say hire the best people for the job whatever their color, age, sex etc.

    I have a dream that one day people will be hired not for the color of their skin....
  • Reply 2 of 271
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,484member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by starflyer View Post



    I say hire the best people for the job whatever their color, age, sex etc.



    I have a dream that one day people will be hired not for the color of their skin....

     

    I agree that firms should hire the best people for the job without regard to race, age, sex etc. 

     

    However, I also think that there are real inequities in society that need to be addressed, and that in far too many cases people who say what you said (and what I agree with) pretend those inequities don't exist or are opposed to every single idea for addressing them. 

     

    So I think that if one rejects one idea, then there is some burden on the rejector to suggest an alternative. 

     

    The alternative I suggest is to focus on economic inequality rather than racial/gender/etc inequality, and use mildly redistributionist policies to address those inequities. By "mildly redistributionist" I mean taxing the rich at a higher marginal rate than the middle class and poor, and using that money to support things like the earned income tax credit and education and health care for the poor. In other words, I support the types of policies that the mainstream Democratic party supports, and that the Republican party is constantly trying to eliminate. 

  • Reply 3 of 271
    darklitedarklite Posts: 229member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

     

     

    I agree that firms should hire the best people for the job without regard to race, age, sex etc. 

     

    However, I also think that there are real inequities in society that need to be addressed, and that in far too many cases people who say what you said (and what I agree with) pretend those inequities don't exist or are opposed to every single idea for addressing them. 

     

    So I think that if one rejects one idea, then there is some burden on the rejector to suggest an alternative. 

     

    The alternative I suggest is to focus on economic inequality rather than racial/gender/etc inequality, and use mildly redistributionist policies to address those inequities. By "mildly redistributionist" I mean taxing the rich at a higher marginal rate than the middle class and poor, and using that money to support things like the earned income tax credit and education and health care for the poor. In other words, I support the types of policies that the mainstream Democratic party supports, and that the Republican party is constantly trying to eliminate. 


    Exactly - there's definitely a problem, but the tough part is figuring out where that problem comes from. Is it the hiring process (i.e, people of different races being passed over for some reason)? Is it the applications (people of different races aren't applying for some reason)? Is it before that, in the education system? Or before that?

     

    In my opinion it's an issue at the most basic level with quality of life, as you said. We see the same lack of diversity at college / university level, not just with businesses - so it can't be to do with the companies themselves. The most obvious factor that is likely to be influencing this is economic equality or lack thereof. 

  • Reply 4 of 271
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,787member

    Somebody's trying to stem the tide of growing irrelevance.

  • Reply 5 of 271
    zabazaba Posts: 226member
    This inequality has to be tackled much lower down the food chain, in education and work and in promotions. It's often the case that the arse lickers climb up the corporate ladder quicker than the qualified. You can't make changes at that level by statistical targets it should happen organically by removing prejudice wherever it manifests itself in society.
  • Reply 6 of 271
    wingswings Posts: 261member
    I think Jesse Jackson is probably the worst spokesman for racial equality. He can create more in the negative column than he can in the plus.
  • Reply 7 of 271
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    The world isn't perfect. Perfect solutions to its problems, reducible to comforting sound bites, will never be found. And yet those problems still need to be solved, not ignored.

    So, let's face a little uncomfortable imperfection and start to change things. It's past time.

    One uncomfortable imperfection: the color of your skin can affect your career. It's not 100% evaluation of talent that's at work. That's true even if (as I believe true at Apple and many modern firms) it is unplanned. So--step one: admit the problem and talk about it without being afraid.
  • Reply 8 of 271
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    I’d rather have all white men who can do the best job than “one of each flavor” who can’t.

     

    If that makes me racist, I’m happily so.

  • Reply 9 of 271
    emig647emig647 Posts: 2,440member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zaba View Post



    This inequality has to be tackled much lower down the food chain, in education and work and in promotions. It's often the case that the arse lickers climb up the corporate ladder quicker than the qualified. You can't make changes at that level by statistical targets it should happen organically by removing prejudice wherever it manifests itself in society.

     

    Completely agree with this. 

     

    Though I will say, there are a few high ranking Senior Software Engineers at Apple that aren't white & male. How do they progress into the even higher ranks? That's a mystery I've tried to figure out even if you are white & male. Usually means climbing the corporate ladder by throwing people under the bus and taking credit for things you didn't do. 

     

    So what Jackson really wants is non-whites to be more deceitful. /s

  • Reply 10 of 271
    bvgkbvgk Posts: 9member
    While we are at it .... lets also bring diversity into NFL , NBA as well
  • Reply 11 of 271
    Been missing the media coverage, Jesse?
  • Reply 12 of 271
    Life is about choices both for the individual and the individual's family. One of the most irresponsible choices that many African-Americans make is to have children when they can not reasonably support those children. Over 70% of African-American children are members of single parent families, and the single parent is usually the Mom, who then struggles to make ends meet. Although there are exceptions, the odds of becoming well-educated and successful are against children from single-parent families. Why is it the responsibility of wealthy Americans and corporations to offset the poor choices made by individuals?

    For more than half a century, the Democratic party has initiated and supported policies and programs of higher taxes and more entitlements and here we are fifty years later, after spending trillions of dollars on these programs, with the very same problems. One would think that a party that espoused the concept that it was "time for a change" would finally put into practice what they preach.
  • Reply 13 of 271
    Quote:


     I mean taxing the rich at a higher marginal rate than the middle class and poor


    How much more tax should the "rich" have to pay? What is your definition of middle class?

     

    Quote:


     health care for the poor


    Like medicaid?

     

    Quote:


     I support the types of policies that the mainstream Democratic party supports, and that the Republican party is constantly trying to eliminate


    With 4 years of a Democratically controlled Congress, 6 years of a Democratically controlled Senate and White House are minorities are worse off now then 6 years ago? African American unemployment rates are almost double that of men and women. If you count the people that have left the work force (i.e. gave up looking for work) since 2008 you have an 18% unemployment rate for African Americans. How are those policies helping minorities again?

  • Reply 14 of 271
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member

    How many boards can Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice serve on?

     

    The fact is the there just isn't a huge pool of top-notch executive level African Americans to draw from.

  • Reply 15 of 271
    kibitzerkibitzer Posts: 1,114member
    malax wrote: »
    The fact is the there just isn't a huge pool of top-notch executive level African Americans to draw from.
    That's your assertion that you're trying to label as a fact. Where's the data to support your assertion?
  • Reply 16 of 271
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member

    We know what works.  When Jessie demanded the A&E network and the Cracker Barrel meet with him regarding Duck Dynasty's Robertson's race claims, A&E and Cracker Barrel ignored Jackson's demand in short order. 

     

    Having been adamantly rebuffed, Jessie slinks away, his relevance and lack thereof shown for all the world to follow.

     

    Sorry Jessie, your usual lowbrow shakedown tactics failed, because you are now insignificant!

     

    Apple, simply ignore this buffoon!

  • Reply 17 of 271
    Throughout my life young life I considered Jesse Jackson a wanna be. He never seemed to be a true leader. As I grew older my opinion of him never changed.

    In this country anyone can try to be more than he/she is IF they choose to try. Trying will not be easy. There will be many knocks. Many of those knocks will come from fellow minorities.

    With so much hardship going on in cities around the country, why is Jackson focusing his attention on disparity in board rooms? The Rainbow Coalition obviously does not consider providing inspiration where it is truly needed a priority considering it is targeting technology companies for not having minorities on their boards!

    I have started a software company developing iPhone/iPad apps. This is not easy stuff. If my company does become successful enough for me to hire people, the odds ate the people will not be minority. This is due to the lack of minority talent able to do what I do. Heck, in this area there are few non-minority people who are doing what I am!

    If there are minorities bitching because they are not Apple's board, who are they? Have the submitted their resumes to Apple or any other company?

    I do not consider myself missing out because I chose not to submit my resume to Apple, Google, etc. for admittance to their boards. I have too much to do to make my company successful.

    Hmmm... Jackson could promote minority technologists who are out there busting their butts everyday just like the Silicon Valley technologists and are having a great time attempting to create great technologies.
  • Reply 18 of 271
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post



    The world isn't perfect. Perfect solutions to its problems, reducible to comforting sound bites, will never be found. And yet those problems still need to be solved, not ignored.



    So, let's face a little uncomfortable imperfection and start to change things. It's past time.



    One uncomfortable imperfection: the color of your skin can affect your career. It's not 100% evaluation of talent that's at work. That's true even if (as I believe true at Apple and many modern firms) it is unplanned. So--step one: admit the problem and talk about it without being afraid.

    and it's a barrier for entry that goes back generations.   If we are a people who 'apply energy to fix problems [inequality/justice]'  then this means an 'affirmative' set of 'actions' (being careful not to link those together).   The fact that, especially for African Americans, several generations got no return on their sweat, and even now, a black man with a pristine college degree will more than likely lose out to a white guy with a felony criminal record is telling. 

     

    under-privileged people means (if you look at a bell curve) there is a set of over privileged people.  Equality means no place for privilege.   Every corporation is run not for the good of the human race (the 1 and only 1 race of people on earth), but for the good of the owners....

     

    Unless they purport to 'think different' (and use Muhammad Ali as an icon of their message).

  • Reply 19 of 271
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by malax View Post

     

    How many boards can Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice serve on?

     

    The fact is the there just isn't a huge pool of top-notch executive level African Americans to draw from.


    Gotta Fill the pool.  This isn't about taking some schmoe off the street and putting him on the Board.   This is executive grooming.   Large Corps pride themselves in their executive development (Apple, actually doesn't do what the military and GE do, which transfer their protege's into other divisions to get a feel of the 'whole company' - they are very 'up from the bottom' mode).   

     

    The problem won't be solved tomorrow.  But the solution can be started today.

  • Reply 20 of 271
    kibitzerkibitzer Posts: 1,114member
    Given where we are today, we have to separate the objective of diversity from the questionable behavior patterns that we have come to know in Jesse Jackson, the individual.
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