So, imagine if you will, the CEO of a top Fortune 500 company. A long-standing leader in the industry, with satellite branches in other countries and significant influence across the globe. Thousands of employees, hundreds of divisions, involved in everything from pharmaceuticals to oil refineries to high-tech research and development.
Now, imagine that this company is plagued by scandals. An overseas plant is caught using child labor. Another facility is shown to have falsified safety reports. Low-grade medicines being pawned off as premium quality with high prices. The more the problems that come to light, the more people start digging, and things just keep getting worse.
Now, imagine that time and again the CEO’s response to each new revelation of wrong-doing, oversight, or unethical business practice is, “You can’t blame me, I only found out about this when I read about it in the Wall Street Journal!” And even as his corporation begins to crumble around him, he continues to go on golf outings with his rich buddies, takes his extended family on numerous overseas vacations on the company dime, and continues to try and divert attention from his problems by pointing fingers at everyone else but himself.
Now imagine millions of customers and consumers of this corporation’s products — who might otherwise hate big business — turning a blind eye to evey misstep and instance of malfeasance on the part of the CEO…because he’s black. And then attacking his critics as racist for daring to impugn the character of this fine, upstanding member of the community!
In the real world, just how long do you suppose that this CEO would remain the CEO? How many more instances of incompetence, disconnectedness, and destructive business practices would the clientelle endure before the stockholders got fed up and had him fired?
Hypothetically speaking, of course.