Right now, a critical conversation about race and inequality needs to keep happening. My next guest says corporate America has failed black America. That's. His quote. There are only four black CEOs in the entire fortune 500 and last year.
Just the third of those companies, didn't, have a single black board member Darren Walker. The president of the Ford Foundation says we are living in a time of consciousness capitalism. He argues in a New York Times.
Op-Ed quote those of us with power and privilege must grapple with a more profound question. What are we willing to give up? Sharon Walker joins us now. Both quotes from you very provocative and very important right now.
I don't disagree with you that corporate America has failed black American. A number of white CEOs have also told me they agree with you, but what I hope to know from you Darren is: why is it apathy, no one held them responsible? What is it I don't think it's apathy.
I think it is culture and race. I think culture of corporate America is white or african-americans. It is often unwelcoming and does not embrace and recognize the reality of racism and how it excludes and puts barriers in place that make it difficult for African Americans to succeed in corporate America.
There has to be a reckoning with a state in this country of corporate America with fewer CEOs than we had five years ago. The numbers of african-americans on boards is basically flatlined and, as you say, we literally have dozens of companies that do not have an african-american in their senior management.
This is shocking. In a country as diverse as America, it is, and it can be changed. Boards can be changed overnight. As you know, you're on the board of Pepsi. Now you're on the board of Ralph Lauren square, but you say in this: in this intriguing op-ed, you know privileged wealthy me.
White leaders need to talk about and actually act on. What are they willing to give up? Do you mean stepping down from these positions and making room for African Americans in them like Alex Ohanian? Did it reddit? What I mean is recognizing that there is talent all around the CEOs that they are blind to see or because of their own privilege, their own background.
They don't see themselves in a black executive, and so I think we have to recognize that privilege, which is basically a status that most white men in this country enjoy, is a barrier. Their own privilege is a barrier to our advancement and some of that privilege has to be interrogated.
I know many white CEOs say things to me like. Well, I'm, a self-made man. I did this all on my own. You started with skin color of white in a society that has a legacy of white supremacy, and this is what we must talk about.
You know when you look, I just want people know you. Are you &? # 39 re, proud, capitalist? As I said you, your honor, you worked on Wall Street at the beginning of your career, but you also say that inequality is fixates, hope and I wonder if you could explain why inequality is not only bad for those who are on the lower end where you Started right in the bottom 1 %, but why it's so bad for in your argument, democracy, and why it's bad for rich people too, because at the center of the American dream is the idea of hope and inequality.
Asphyxiates. Oh, it makes us believe that our systems and our institutions are red or the rich and the powerful and poppy. Regrettably, the latest surveys from pew and Edelman Trust also indicate that growing numbers of Americans believe that our systems are rigged or the rich, the wealthy and the and therefore I think it is incumbent upon those of us who are privileged to interrogate our privilege and ask Why is it that systems our tax policies are anomic policy favored us in fact compound our advantage, while they compound the disadvantage of working class Americans and poor Americans and particularly Gort Americans of color.
You know the colonel Commission told us right under Lyndon Johnson more than 50 years ago, what a key issue was here: an inequality and race and what to do about it and then not a lot happen. But now the statements from companies are different.
The money companies are putting forward is different, Darren Apple, one hundred million dollar initiative to fight racism, Bank of America over a billion Google right up there and their numbers as well.
But an interesting conversation has been starting among some of the protesters about reparations and corporate America and what role companies may have in the conversation around reparations for the descendants of slaves.
I wonder what you think about that. Let me start with where you started the Kerner. The mission - and why was the owner permission, shell, because that is what President Johnson did it was shelved because the executive summary that the problem of america's, negro communities, what they call the ghettos, were the problems, the result of white racism, president johnson, Could not take that message to the American people that white people and white racism was the reason we were seeing so much social unrest in our cities, and so today that same challenge of understanding racism, and I believe that the murder of George Floyd for white people In America was a moment of grief and heartbreak, but the hearts of African Americans in this country had been broken for over four years because of racism and now white American.
Our understanding that racism is with us, it is no longer deniable. Deniability is not an option, and so we come to the conversation about reparations, which is an important conversation to have, and corporations have a role to play in helping African Americans to grow well to build assets.
But in order for that to happen, we're, going to have to have a reckoning in this country with the challenge of race, and it is the work of the next decade or corporate America and all Americans to come together and help this nation Heal from its division ill from our history, but understand that together we can be a better America.
Langston Hughes said in his great poem: let America be America. America never was America to me. He was defiant, but he said in the next stanza, but America someday will be and while he was angry and defiant, he believed, as I believe that America could live up to its honorable and valiant and noble aspirations as a nation, and we must be on that Journey that is our war poppy.
It certainly is thank you so much Darren for being here. I hope everyone goes and reads what you have written on this IN K: AMER HCKG. G SI AESS & quot, OP M UP OM ANT GRU IWHIT RA, RFATKOHCEENU, ONTW, YOV, T HENG, T & gt & gt.
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