April 13, 2005

Deere hires J.C. Watts to recruit black dealers

After settling a bruising anti-discrimination lawsuit this past month, which in turn led to a high publicity campaign by Jesse Jackson Sr. and his Rainbow PUSH organization as well as prominent black broadcasters Tom Joyner and Tavis Smiley, Deere & Co. needed to get some black dealership owners in a hurry.

Apparently, they feel that hiring former congressman J.C. Watts (only the second black Republican to serve in the U.S. Congress since reconstruction.) is the way to go. Watts has experience in business, having been found to have participated in several shady sweet-heart deals involving apartment complexes and other businesses in Oklahoma. He's Republican, which makes him acceptible to Deere execs, and he's black, which to Deere's way of thinking makes him qualified to speak to other blacks, apparently.

Of Deere & Company's 1,400 golf and turf or agricultural equipment dealers, exactly none are black.

This situation was spurred on due to a discrimination lawsuit from a black former executive of Deere, Kenny Edwards, who claimed that Deere placed unreasonable barriers to approving of his purchase of two Deere dealerships in the Atlanta area. The case was settled out of court last month and the terms are confidential. Deere has maintained the suit was without merit and that they never used race to deny anyone ownership of their dealerships.

As detailed in the article, Deere then found themselves taking heat from Rainbow PUSH, Jackson, Joyner, Smiley, and others.

And now they've responded by hiring J.C. Watts, who until he quit, was the only black Republican in both houses of congress.

Evidently Deere would rather go down in flames than hire a Democrat. In that respect, they're lucky that the Republicans managed to elect at least ONE black congressman. And Watts is likely raking in the big bucks from corporations that hire him for his ability to... I don't know... talk to blacks or something?

The hiring of Watts seems to show that Deere still is a bit out of step when it comes to black or minority issues.

And I can only imagine the choice words Deere execs have for Jesse Jackson et. al. for applying pressure on them to actually do something about the issue, rather than simply paying off the lawsuit and hoping it all just went away.

Much more background and details in the Dispatch/Argus.


At 4/13/2005 10:12 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

It's so nice the JC Watts has found his niche. And a highly paid assignment at that.

This after the Republican party pretty much forgot all about him a few years back.....and he packed up his toys and went home.

Now everyone is making up and holding hands while writing checks to JC.

Seems like smoke and mirrors to me but who am I?

At 4/13/2005 5:54 PM, Blogger Rich said...

This is a step up for JC-

last I saw him was a couple nights ago on a late night "make money through real estate using government money" type infomercial on Rockford TV.

At 4/14/2005 5:16 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

THAT'S RIGHT!! Thanks for reminding me. I actually saw that infomercial myself one night and was shocked to see him lowering himself for a buck like that. But then I just realized that such shamelessness shouldn't really come as any surprise.

That's true. J.C. Watts now does late night get-rich-quick infomercials. How dignified can you get?

At 5/21/2006 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we should stop playing up Willie Lynch. If this brother is getting opportunities then I'm all for it, we need to stop letting Willie Lynch plan hold true.


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