NAACP: Blacks Should Shop Where Hired

AP, July 18, 2006

Even companies that make an effort to work with minority-owned businesses typically spend barely 5 percent of their contracting dollars with them, the NAACP president said Monday as his group released report cards on several industries.

Blacks shouldn’t spend money with companies that don’t hire them or advertise in their communities, NAACP President Bruce S. Gordon said.

“If corporations spend their money on us, we’ll spend our money with those corporations,” he said. “It’s real simple.”

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The NAACP has graded corporations since 1997 on how well they work with blacks in employment, charitable giving, advertising, contracting and community service. This year, the civil rights group looked at the telecommunications, lodging, finance, retail and auto industries.

Most companies did best on charitable giving and community service, and worst on hiring and contracting. Gordon said the contracting numbers were “totally unacceptable.”

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Of the 50 companies contacted by the NAACP, five ignored the survey, including four retailers: Dillard’s Inc.; Kohl’s Corp.; Sears, Roebuck and Co.; and Target Corp. All were given Fs for not answering. The other company that failed to answer was Excel, a telecommunications company; it also received an F.

Gordon called on blacks to stop shopping at Target, in particular, until they answer the NAACP’s questions—though he stopped short of calling the action a boycott.

“They didn’t even care to respond to our survey,” he said. “Stay out of their stores.”

The NAACP focused on Target because they’re one of the nation’s most prominent national retailers, said John C. White, NAACP spokesman. However, the group does not plan to picket or leaflet Target, but will rely on word of mouth, he said.

A Target spokeswoman said via e-mail that the company opted out of the survey “because Target views diversity as being inclusive of all people from all different backgrounds, not just one group.” The NAACP survey asks only about blacks.

She added that minorities make up 40 percent of Target employees and 23 percent of all officials and managers.

During his keynote address, Gordon said black Americans should end their “victim-like thinking” and seize opportunities to help close gaps between the nation’s rich and poor.

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