The hip-hop generation must thank the Rev. Jesse Jackson for the efforts he has made with valor, confidence and thoughtful analysis. Jackson has highlighted the discrimination and social engineering that is taking place in Silicon Valley at the expense of the hip-hop generation, diversity and overall progress of the United States.
It is here that we must focus on Jackson working in tandem with future engineers and CEOs who can not only acknowledge the past but also, influence the behavior of their team and commit to diversity. Kudos and high marks to Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, who doesn’t look to the past, but is living in the principle of change and pushing forward to understand the potential of African Americans, Hispanics and those underrepresented inside Silicon Valley’s vast opportunities.
It is key that Jackson be applauded and supported in our social media communications so that the $300-million, five-year commitment that Krzanich has made is recognized. We must know that this is a civil rights leader clearly understanding the value of businesses being committed to those individuals who are liking their Facebook page each day, those who are tweeting, and posting on Instagram daily. To our own detriment and self-disrespect, we are not demanding daily on our Facebook pages that Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, do something differently in regard to his company’s hiring practices. It is the actions of CEOs that will showcase the necessity to remove the economic shackle that racism really is.
Jackson’s commitment to being on the front line speaks to the necessity of corporations being better citizens to the individuals who are helping and allowing their stock prices to soar. We also need to hear from our president in support of Jackson’s efforts to communicate how important diversity is. We need Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct investigations as to why discriminatory practices in hiring still occur and we need the labor secretary to host forums.
It is not just in Silicon Valley that this practice of hiring or not hiring African Americans and Hispanics has become the norm. Quotas were erased as a bad word but there is a sense that individuals will not hire anyone outside of their inner circle if not mandated to do so. They’ll hire only the friends just like on their Facebook pages, they like.
Many do not know African Americans who are accomplished, but this is a time where reaching out in a network is critical. Jackson deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for actually moving an entire industry in a positive direction. For many, the lack of opportunity and the deaths that occur in Chicago, D.C., Detroit and New Orleans for young Black men and women are based on the lack of economic enterprise in their surroundings, and the lack of recruitment from companies who are doing business with local and national government and companies that are using public dollars.
Why isn’t there a commitment from Wall Street and investment bankers given the Wall Street Project that Jackson hosts annually? Why haven’t they delivered a diverse social media presence when they are taking these companies public and helping the community move forward by making some type of measurable commitment to hiring African Americans and Hispanics and investing in minority companies?
Rev. Jackson is a hip-hop hero for he was not advocating for a job for himself. He was advocating for equality and parity from a group of companies and industries that would be nothing if Questlove didn’t tweet, it would be nothing if Rihanna didn’t use Instagram, and it would be nothing if Beyoncé didn’t use Tumblr.
We must acknowledge and respect those who are advocating for us when we cannot, those who open doors when we cannot, and those who push forward the agenda of the African American community when we don’t.
We thank you, Jesse Jackson.