At Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit, Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, discussed the U.S. economy and business climate for African Americans during President Donald Trump’s administration.
Unlike every U.S. president since 1947, Trump has not met with the NAACP. Johnson says he’s not aware of Trump meeting with a single historic or traditional African American organization outside of the White House.
“Everything is such a controlled environment. There is no way you can govern all the people if you only see the reflection of yourself across the table,” he said.
Johnson blames the president for the country’s current divided political climate and growing bias against African Americans.
“The sad commentary what we are seeing germinate out the White House … This administration has set a very negative tone of intolerance,” he said.
Johnson also called out Trump for criticizing NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem to protest the aggressive policing of African Americans. Johnson believes the president’s tweets about the protests are to deflect from the FBI investigation into his ties to Russia.
“I think he used it as a distraction. I think who we have sitting in the White House, unfortunately, is the un-indicted co-conspirator to a potential crime of a foreign nation [that] meddled in our election,” he said.
Tackling implicit bias
Johnson believes that it’s important for institutions and corporations to work together to get ahead of implicit bias. He praised Starbucks for closing its stores for a day of sensitivity training in response to an employee calling the police on two innocent African American men waiting inside one of their stores.
“Starbucks is a good corporate citizen. They have always sought ways to right-size the relationship with multiple communities. I think they learned a lot from their response. You cannot fix it with a Band-Aid or one day activity. It is an ongoing process.”
Sibile Marcellus is an on-air reporter covering the day’s top stories in business for Yahoo Finance’s three daily live shows. Follow her on Twitter @chasingsibile
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