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Saturday, July 22, 2006

BellSouth, Target Stores and the NAACP

The NAACP recently scored Target Stores very low on its annual corporate report card. In fact the group has asked blacks not to shop or support Target in the marketplace. In turn it rated BellSouth very high among telecommunications companies working with the black community. This is a joke, right?
The Red Queen shook her head, "You may call it 'nonsense' if you like," she said, "but I'VE heard nonsense, compared with which that would be as sensible as a dictionary!"
Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
Recently BellSouth has sent out thousands of "come back to BellSouth for service" offers, which include as an incentive a gift card to none other than, Target Stores. I guess their mantra is "if we can’t abuse you Target will".

Truly it is only in a country so accustomed to racism that BellSouth could ever be considered supportive. Reminds me of, "I’ve seen hills compared to which this hill would be a valley"-apologies to Lewis Carroll; Or in this case I’ve seen racism compared to which this racism is considered affirmative action. Yes boy you will get your turn, after the white lady and the white man, and those 100 little white children, well maybe you will get your turn.

I wonder-- how many blacks will "come back to the New BellSouth", putting the Old South back into the Bell to receive this incentive? I wonder when BellSouth, now that it has received its good rating from the NAACP, will endorse other corporations the NAACP rated poorly? How many poorly rated companies will BellSouth endorse in this way? It’s patronizing to both its customers and the NAACP. It's insulting to everyone. But of course BellSouth cares?

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BellSouth in Collusion with Target Stores to Deceive NAACP?

What's going on here? You say the oldest organization for the promotion and protection of the civil rights of blacks and all people in the United States, the venerable NAACP- doesn't want folks to shop at Target because the top retailer's performance in the black community is graded to be an "F"?

You say while taking away the dollars on one front the retailer is colluding with BellSouth, the telecommunications corporation that received the highest grade among its industry companies for its activity in the black community?

Yes, Virginia, even with all that high-minded talk at the NAACP convention during last week it seems BellSouth lauded by the NAACP as being a "a 3.5 out of a possible 4.0" is working with the enemy. Of the 50 companies contacted by the NAACP, five ignored the survey, including four retailers: Dillard's Inc.; Kohl's Corp.; Sears, Roebuck and Co.; and Target Corp. All were given "F"s for not answering. The other company that failed to answer was Excel, a telecommunications company; it also received an "F".

BellSouth, the Atlanta-based telecommunications company's Chief Diversity Officer, Vice President Valencia Adams says "They take it to heart and really work hard on it." Is that so, Valencia?

I suppose BellSouth Vice President, Retail Markets-- Joseph Schultz , didn't get the memo. Since June of this year the company has been sending sales letters signed by Schultz inviting former BellSouth local and long distance customers to return. Many of the telecommunications so called "WinBack" customers are African Americans. You'll receive "bundled services" at a low monthly rate; and if that's not enticing enough, BellSouth is offering a Target gift card valued at $100 to lure you. So black folk you'd better hurry. This offer ends December 31st 2006.

Okay maybe this is the corporate remedial thing Bruce Gordon, president of the NAACP was speaking of. NAH! Not very likely. Corporate America doesn't respond to the minority community's requests that quickly.

Perhaps, just perhaps, this is one of those "oversights". It happens all the time in business. The right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing; and vice versa. Could it be the right hand doesn't care about what the left hand is doing, and vice versa?

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