In what seems to me an all-too-rare moment of what I would call real corporate responsibility, a Target spokesman explained that they ignored the NAACP survey "because Target views diversity as being inclusive of all people from all different backgrounds, not just one group."
The Target spokesman went on to add that minorities make up 40 percent of Target employees and 23 percent of all officials and managers.
Now, of course, the NAACP is opposed to racial profiling. But apparently just when we're trying to find terrorists in airports, not when Target is responding to their surveys.
But, hey, Gordon has a job to do and was recently brought on to head up the NAACP because of a reputation of competence. I guess it's justified. Previously, he was a senior executive at Verizon, whose foundation just announced a $1.5 million gift to the NAACP.
Who knows if pressure will be stepped up on Target and, if so, whether it will be able to withstand it?
I wonder how many corporate CEOs, in private conversation over a cup of coffee, would say that they honestly believe in the causes that their corporate foundations are funding. And if they personally don't, can they really honestly say they are being responsible with their shareholders' dollars?
A representative of a corporate foundation told me that they wouldn't touch an organization that appeared to be religious. Try and find a corporate foundation that funds efforts to promote traditional values in inner-city families, to fight black abortion or to promote school choice.
Yet, tens of millions of corporate dollars flow to the NAACP, which you will find as a plaintiff on every lawsuit challenging school-voucher programs or promoting gay marriage.
The great economist Milton Friedman argued that corporations should get rid of their foundations and tend to what they really are responsible for and know something about _ delivering outstanding products at the lowest possible prices. If they want to support causes, let managers do it out of their operating budgets so it is clear how the funds tie to the profitability and efficiency of the company, he said.
I think Friedman was on to something. It's clear that much of what is called corporate responsibility today is really quite the opposite.