Earl Graves, the 68-year-old founder of Black Enterprise magazine, says he’s not a civil rights activist but a businessman.
In that role, he’s urging African-Americans to take their vacation business out of Mexico in the wake of President Vicente Fox’s comments that “not even” blacks want the U.S. jobs taken by Mexican immigrants.
“I don’t think it was insensitive; it was racist,” said Mr. Graves in an interview in Dallas, where he opened the 10th annual Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference.
Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson met with Mr. Fox in Mexico City on Wednesday, and Mr. Fox is expected to be on Mr. Jackson’s radio show Sunday.
In Mexico City, presidential spokesman Salvador Musalém reiterated Mr. Fox’s regrets regarding his statements. Mr. Fox will publicly explain himself on the radio show, which can be heard on the Internet at www.keephope aliveradio.com, the spokesman noted.
“It is not necessary to have a boycott against Mexico, as he has said he didn’t mean to offend anyone,” Mr. Musalém said.
Mr. Fox is known for describing Mexican migrants as the nation’s heroes—something few Mexican presidents have ever done. Thus, his remarks on U.S. blacks could complicate the Mexican government’s efforts to advocate an immigration policy in which U.S. employers play a critical role in legalizing the Mexican immigrant workforce.