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Monday, July 30, 2007

We Have an Opinion on This as Well.....

I'll submit my musings on this in a few, but feel free to discuss amongst yourselves first.

Ok my musings:

There is a commonly held belief that conservatives of color attempt to assuage the existence of racism or discrimination to curry favor with the White community. This perception is a gross mischaracterization. What concerns the Black conservative are issues of accuracy and specificity. Take the Michael Vick controversy as an example. Vocal factions within the liberal end of the African-American community are already viewing this case under a racial microscope, when race has yet to be determined as being vaguely involved. As I have stated several times during our Afronerd Radio broadcasts, Vick is entitled to the innocent til' proven guilty standard but the case should be viewed through a singular prism-simply, was a crime committed? The racial implications are specious and appear to be extemporaneous at best. Now, what does Vick have to do with Nike's (besides the potential loss of his endorsement deal looming) loss of discrimination suit? Simply put, people of color can not fall on the racism sword when it does not apply. False claims of racism and/or discrimination hinder legitimate occurrences of dicriminatory practices. Let's wait and see how the Vick case plays out-without the racial implications. Last time I checked, we have enough real racism to worry about.

Nike pays $7.6 million to settle Chicago discrimination suit
Ameet Sachdev | Tribune staff reporter
3:06 PM CDT, July 30, 2007

Nike Inc. has agreed to pay $7.6 million to settle a race discrimination lawsuit brought by current and former African-American employees at its Niketown store on Michigan Ave, the athletic-shoe giant said Monday.

Nike also submitted to independent monitoring of the store and the appointment of a compliance officer at its corporate headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. Under the consent decree, the company admitted no wrongdoing.

In a statement, Nike said it reached a legal settlement to "avoid continued and protracted litigation."

The deal eliminates a potentially damaging public relations problem for Nike. Its shoes and clothing have a huge following among African-American youth. It also relies on high-profile black athletes, such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, in its marketing campaigns.

The suit, filed in 2003, gained momentum last year when a federal judge in Chicago granted the case class-action status, expanding the base of plaintiffs to include 400 current and former African-American employees. At issue is whether Niketown systematically discriminated against these workers in hiring, promotions, benefits and workplace discipline, thus subjecting them to a hostile environment.

Nike, like most companies, has corporate policies addressing discrimination and harassment. But, as Nike corporate representatives said in depositions in the case, the enforcement of such guidelines is left to managers at the store level.

In Chicago, that resulted in African-American employees being singled out for poor treatment, plaintiffs said.

The allegations include: -- Segregating African-Americans into lower-paying stockroom and cashier positions. -- Denying opportunities for promotions to sales positions by failing to post job openings. -- Hiring African-Americans into part-time rather than full-time positions that received benefits, such as health insurance and paid vacation. -- Subjecting African-American employees to searches when leaving the store, while Caucasian employees were free from such searches. Work rules regarding attendance, sick leave and employee discounts also were unequally applied, the suit said.

Attorneys for the class could not be reached immediately for comment.

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