The 50th anniversary for the march in Selma, Alabama, provides an opportunity to remember a dark period in history when black Americans were victims of outrageous acts of racism and hatred, including Jim Crow laws and lynching. While many Americans reflected on the heroic efforts of civil rights leaders of that time, a few used the media spotlight to hijack the event to advance their personal agenda – in tragic irony- by fanning the flames of racism and injustice.
The week following the Selma anniversary, Jesse Jackson attended Apple’s shareholder meeting in California to demand that Apple do more to help blacks. Apple CEO Tim Cook took the bait and gave Rev. Jackson an opportunity to address shareholders and the board of directors.
In his prepared remarks, Rev. Jackson referred to President Obama’s comments about the 50th anniversary of the march in Selma and noted, “In Silicon Valley, the march for diversity and inclusion is just beginning.”
He made several demands to Cook, including: electing a black individual to Apple’s board when new seats open up, annually releasing workforce and supplier diversity data, setting timetables to achieve Apple’s diversity and inclusion objectives (seeking full representation by 2020), and expanding minority participation to include management of your 401K retirement plan, cash management and stock repurchase programs.
Comparing a violent and bloody march over equal rights to Jesse Jackson demanding equal outcomes in corporate America is a slap in the face to the brave people who marched 50 years ago. Rev. Jackson talks a big game about racial equality, but the only color Jesse Jackson sees is green—-the color of money.
Rather than celebrating the advances of blacks in all segments of American society due to hard work and determination since Selma, he exploited the anniversary to enhance his prominence and wealth.
The march in Selma was a march for equal treatment under the law. It was a struggle for equal opportunity to work hard and earn a living, not to become a shakedown artist like Jesse Jackson.
Dr. Martin Luther King preached about equal opportunity, the freedom to prosper and make for society, not take from society.
Imagine for a moment if Jesse Jackson took all the energy he spends trying to make a buck during shareholder meetings and breaking bread with corporate insiders, and instead used his hustle and talent to do good in the black community. He could work with local boys and girls clubs to cultivate and support the future talent of America. He could teach the values of hard work and resilience, not victimization and anger.
Real communities don’t wait for a crisis to show up for their neighbors, and they certainly don’t manufacture a crisis like Rev. Jackson did in Silicon Valley.
Whether it’s a business opportunity or a position on a sports team, the opportunity should be granted to the best firm or person for the job at hand, not based on skin color. This is the United States of America, and this is not the 1960s. People should be hired based on their talents, and they should be retained based on their results. There should be no color-coded hiring in the United States.
The world is very competitive, and the talent marketplace should determine who gets contracts or promotions. There shouldn’t be special treatment for anyone. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. taught us all, men and women should be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.
Let’s not allow Jesse Jackson to turn back the clock and exploit the 50th anniversary of Selma, when he should be taking the day to celebrate the significant strides of blacks in America. Let’s look towards the future, and teach our children empowerment, not entitlement.
Deneen Borelli is outreach director for FreedomWorks, contributes to Conservative Review, is a Fox News Channel contributor and the author of “Blacklash: How Obama and the Left Are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation.”