Ford Foundation president: 'Corporate America in many ways has failed Black America'

Darren Walker, head of the social justice philanthropic foundation, says "access to jobs, access to the board room, access to the C Suite has been almost systematically denied" to the Black community.
7:08 | 06/25/20

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Transcript for Ford Foundation president: 'Corporate America in many ways has failed Black America'
When you look at history and people now assertive examining. Original sin of this nation which we know the economy was built on the backs of slaves but. Black businesses over the years have not been beneficiaries. Of this success. Once the system sort of design. To keep blood business is down. Absolutely. Black businesses. Like black people have been excluded. From opportunity. From our very founding. Emancipation. Did not provide us with the pathway. To capital. With the potential. To accumulate. Wealth and assets. With the opportunity to our home land property. To have the chance to pass on. Assets to our children and grandchildren the normative ways in which wealth. Over generations. Has been created in America. Was not available to African Americans. And was that sort of a side effect of the system was set design of the system in your mind it was intentional. There was intentional intervention to pre yet. African Americans. From accumulating. Wealth and property and not corporate America what is good corporate America's. Role in all of this. Corporate America in many ways. Has failed black map. And that is be taught us access. To jobs. Access to the board room and the C suite. Has been almost systematically. Denied. Especially. At the highest levels of corporate America it's also important to remember that there is. A massive system of employers. Or not fortune 500 companies. Their private equity. There are owned privately. They are small to medium businesses. He's also contribute. To the challenge for. African Americans to progress. And to accumulate wealth they're. A lot of people who don't have a sense of the Brett. And that and that depth up black businesses around this country insurance companies banks and so forth. Why is that do you think that there really isn't over a well known presses. Well what's remarkable to me is in spied. In the face. Racism. We have had a flourishing. African American business community. It has flourished because of that determination. And perseverance. Of some remarkable men and women. Who were successful. In spite of the odds in spite of the debt being stacked against them. I also think that the narrative. About African Americans has been that we on business people. And that is. Such a disservice. But it's also served the larger. Enterprise. Racism. And white supremacy. And I believe that we have now come to a reckoning in this country. But people were applying for these PPP loans. Minority own female owned businesses didn't they wish I. In ways that others were not. Well they were shut out because the rules of engagement prioritized. Clients who knew the bankers. They prioritize. Customers. Existing customers of banks. Often our small black businesses don't have banking relationships. They certainly don't have relationships. For low and they don't have relationships that result in loans. The reality is most. African Americans don't need debt. They need equity. And there is the difference between debt capital and equity capital. Equity capital. Is the early stage investment that traditionally. Comes from friends and family. Mark Zuckerberg founded FaceBook. With funding from friends and family. Bill Gates founded Microsoft. With funding from friends and family. African Americans have never been given the opportunity. To accumulate. Well to pass on wealth. So that we can look to each other. For friends and family investment the loans. Are nice but they're not going to move the dial. Equity investment. Actually investing. In the entrepreneur. And his or her idea to start a business. Art scale a business. That's what's going to move to die. In his that was going to help but this does is say stay self sustaining. It will absolutely. Help black businesses grow which is the key to long term sustainability. The ability to overtime. Costs to rent then your balance sheet. To grow your business will come when there is more equity investment that wall not come. From just piling on more debt they don't have relationships that result and loans. I'm and so because of this structural. Problem. We work structurally. Shot out of a major. Opportunity. To build resilience. And to be able to keep one's business alive we were shut out of that. So where do we start and how we do it and what about other blacks who are investing many of us are the first in the history of this country to actually have. It's that we can invest. In other black businesses. In black enterprise. And it is incumbent upon us. To ask the question how were we successful blacks. Investing. Because we have an obligation I believe. To support. Other African American entrepreneurs to use. Our power our privilege our influence. To direct capital. End to those businesses. Only then will we feed that kind of world of black enterprise in America. That will flourish and what actually delivered the potential of capitalism to work for everyone in this country.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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