Dutch Martin holds a BA in international relations from Boston University and an MS in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University. He is a member of Project 21, an African American leadership network out of Washington, D.C. An avid reader, he has also written several book reviews for Townhall.com.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition have targeted oil giant British Petroleum in their latest high-dollar shakedown, an organization that monitors corporate ethics said Thursday.
Despite the fact that BP was a "Bronze Sponsor" of the Coalition's 35th annual conference held this week in Chicago, Jackson announced that he was returning the company's $10,000 donation as part of a boycott to demand greater minority involvement in the corporation's business practices.
Peter Flaherty, president of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) was not impressed with Jackson's gesture.
"It is pretty obvious what is going on here," Flaherty stated. "BP sponsors Jesse Jackson's conference at the $10,000 level, but the company is certainly capable of a lot more. No doubt, Jackson seeks to upgrade them to the $150,000 'Platinum Sponsor' level for next year.
"Nobody likes being called a racist for obvious reasons, but instead of these corporations defending themselves and standing up for themselves, they basically just want to buy off the enemy," Flaherty added.
In addition, any money BP spends to stay in Jackson's favor would be wasted, Flaherty said.
"Jesse Jackson is bluffing a foreign company," Flaherty noted. "He has virtually no ability to affect the consumer habits of Americans, or even African-Americans.
"The reason he is going after BP is the same reason he threatened a boycott of Toyota in 2001," Flaherty said. "Executives of foreign companies are often under the misimpression that Jesse Jackson still commands wide respect in this country."
Jackson claims that while British Petroleum gets 30 percent of the money African-Americans spend on gas, BP has few minorities in executive positions and few African-American distributors. In addition, fewer than 20 of its 13,000 retail stations in the United States are owned by blacks.
"We don't want charity, we want parity," Jackson noted. "We are challenging the petroleum industry. We want equity and parity and access to distributorships." Click here to read the rest.