Consider Yourself Warned, Apple, Sharpton Wants Bite Out of You

File under predictable news -- peerless grievance-monger Al Sharpton has found another target to shake down for insufficient diversity in hiring and upper management.

Sharpton is turning his easily aroused wrath toward high-tech giant Apple. After all, if you're looking for cash, go where there's lots of it, to paraphrase the comparatively more honest Willie Sutton. (Audio after the jump)

Here's a clip from his radio show of Sharpton and businessman/former NBA player Earl Graves Jr., complaining about Apple, one of the most innovative and profitable companies in the history of humanity, not making hiring decisions based on skin hue (h/t for audio, Brian Maloney, mrctv.org) --

 SHARPTON: There are no blacks on 30 percent of the Fortune 500 companies' board of directors. Apple, where we spend a lot of money on Apple, they have a new iPhone coming out today, no blacks in board of Apple. We buying up all this Apple stuff and can't get a bite. ... Now today the iPhone comes out. That is of course produced by Apple and Apple is one of those companies, I mean, we do a tremendous amount of business in our community with Apple, yet we're not on their boards and there is no evidence they do a lot of advertising or a lot of contracting in our community, is that correct?

 GRAVES: That's correct and I think, you know, it's one thing to have the measurement being the people who are on the board, but once a person's on the board then it's really measuring four different things. And the key is, what is the percentage of money that they spend in procurement that they're spending with minority-owned businesses or African-American firms? The second is, what percentage of senior managers or direct reports are people of color? The third is, what percentage of money that you spend are you spending with or directed to African-American media? Of course, the last is the board of directors. The part that is so shocking is that Apple, which is probably the best known of the companies, basically strikes out against all four.

 SHARPTON: Really?

 GRAVES: They have no African-American directors in the company. They do little to no spending in African-American media. They do little to no spending with, in procurement with African-American firms. And as you, as I quote you all the time, the corporate board, not corporate board but the corporation in the executive ranks, looks like the Himalayas.

 SHARPTON: Right.

 GRAVES: Because the higher you go, the whiter it gets.

Not so sure about that. When was the last time you saw a white sherpa?

Psst, Rev. Al -- when you're "buying up all this stuff," that constitutes getting a bite. If you weren't actually buying, then you wouldn't be getting a bite. Apple provides products you want, you buy them, you and Apple both win. See how it works?

I've always believed there is a correlation between racism and intelligence -- the less intelligent a person is, the more likely he or she is racist. And suffice to say that Apple, Google and other high-tech companies consistently attract many of the brightest people, not just from the US, but around the world.

It makes no sense across the board for these eminently intelligent people to engage in racist hiring practices. What makes far more sense is that they are hiring and promoting based on merit, since this is what got most of them where they are.

Woody Allen once said he'd have an easier time believing in God if only He'd leave a sign, such as a large deposit in a Swiss bank account. Sharpton would undergo a similar conversion if Apple began spending heavily on advertising at a specific cable network situated in Rockefeller Center. Providing, of course, that the commercials employed plenty of blacks. The man does have his standards.

Jack Coleman
Liberated ex-liberal from the People's Republic of Massachusetts