President Gordon calls for big changes
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) announced its new plans to monitor the economy and corporate report card at its 97th annual convention in Washington, DC, on July 17.
NAACP President Bruce Gordon announced his findings on the state of the economy and the NAACP's intended solutions to help further establish racial equities in the workforce and economy. He explained, "Our goal since day one has been to shift some of the focus from social justice to economic empowerment."
The re-engineering program, as he called it, has three main steps: change focus to supply and diversity, create a consequence system and establish a best practice organization.
The supply and diversity system will encourage companies to buy their supplies from companies with a diverse workforce. This will help to stimulate the economy as a whole instead of helping only one demographic group, said Gordon.
The consequence system would allow companies with a "good track record" to benefit by receiving a NAACP product endorsement. Companies that fail to reach NAACP standards will suffer because the NAACP will lead a boycott of their products. Creating a best practice organization will allow the companies that have been successful in establishing a diverse work environment to help companies that have been less successful but want to improve, according to Gordon. By comparing techniques, the less successful company will be able to benefit.
This new system supports Gordon's philosophy. He said, "If corporations spend their money on us, we will spend our money with these companies. It is real simple."
Gordon emphasized that since roughly 13 percent of citizens of the United States citizens are African-American, companies should be spending that much on minority contracts. In reality, even the most minority conscious companies spend barely five percent, while the majority of companies spend in between one and two percent. Gordon believes that these statistics justify a reorganization effort because, "the numbers are inexcusable."
For the last 10 years, the NAACP has been releasing grades that show how corporations work with African-Americans in employment, charitable giving, advertising, contracting and community service. This year the NAACP graded corporations in five industries: telecommunications, lodging, finance, retail and auto.
The companies are graded on a scale of A to F, a grading system similar to that of most schools'. Companies that do not respond to the survey receive Fs. This year, Target, Dillard's, Kohl's and Sears all received failing grades. Gordon has called for a boycott of Target stores to demonstrate the importance of working with the NAACP to promote fair diversity. Gordon explains that a boycott will help direct African-American consumer dollars while pushing companies to be more responsive.
Gordon said, "We will be moderate and scientific, so we are beyond question, and we will create a win-win situation."
Miriam Ragen. Miriam Ragen is a senior. Her favorite things are harry potter, the heroes wall, seattle and how awkward kate is. You can usually find her awkwardly pulling at her shirt sleeves. More »