Following Jackson's embarrassing himself in front of a corporate meeting, Earl Graves Jr., president and CEO of Black Enterprise magazine, said, "Jackson is shining a light on the fact that technology companies don't come close to hiring or spending what is commensurate with the demographics of their customers."
Say what? Since when does the number of Blacks that buy HP computers have anything to do with the number of Blacks employed to design them? What qualifies you as a customer is not the color of your skin, but the ability pay. And what qualifies you as an employee is not the color of your skin, but your ability to do the job that you're being paid to do. Any criteria less than that would result only in computers that no one would want to buy.
If you want to work for Hewlett Packard, acquire the requisite skills. To expect a for-profit company to hire you just because your skin contains an excess of melanin and without regard to our ability is unrealistic to the point of childishness.
Black leadches like Jesse Jackson, Earl Graves, and Al Sharpton seem to operate on the assumption that Corporate America "owes" Black people something just because they're Black. This concept, touted as social responsibility, is rooted in the myth of White guilt – the propaganda promulgated sophistry that Whites are somehow responsible for the conditions imposed by other Blacks on the Black community.
But corporations are neither White nor Black. They are colorless and colorblind. And to a corporation, "social responsibility" is a meaningless concept. A corporation is a legal entity, and it has no responsibility to anyone for anything that it did not legally contract to provide.
You can appeal all day long to the compassion of Meg Whitman, but Meg Whitman is not Hewlett Packard. Hewlett-Packard is a corporation, and corporations have no compassion, no conscience, and no commitment to anything other than what is legally binding on that corporation. In short, corporations are incapable of exercising "social responsibility."
Another "social responsibility" argument currently being made is that a business entity, such as McDonalds or Wal-Mart, owes its employees special consideration just because they are employees. That argument is specious. An employment agreement is a contract, in which the company agrees to pay a specified amount and to provide specified benefits to the employee in return for a specified job performance. Once you have accepted the terms of that contract, both signatories have a responsibility to honor it.
To strike or threaten to strike on the basis that you have decided the agreed upon specified pay or the agreed upon specified benefits are insufficient is a breach of contract – just as it would be a breach of contract for the employer to arbitrarily cut your wages. If you are dissatisfied with what you previously agreed to, you have two choices – petition your employer to modify the contract, or quit. You do not have the right to disrupt your employer's business because of your petulant refusal to keep your word.
Corporations are, of course, composed of humans, and humans may from time to time display the maudlin sentimentality described by emotional manipulators as "social responsibility," but they do so as an independent entity, divorced from the objectives and concerns of the corporation. Corporations have a responsibility only to their shareholders.
"The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits" – Milton Friedman in The New York Times Magazine (13 September 1970)