PLATFORM : Still the Old System

GENE HALE, chairman of the Black Business Assn. of Los Angeles, commented on the prospects of black business expansion in Southern California. He told The Times:

Considering the obstacles, the state of black business is fine. Opportunities are limited because the old system--a system that usually denies blacks access to capital and contracts--is still in place. Access to capital affords you an opportunity to grow.

Many of the major banks and (financial institutions) have hired more blacks over the last few years, but they haven't been placed in positions that give them full lending authority.

Major corporations also have more black employees. However, corporations don't have many blacks in the contracting and purchasing departments--and that's where the hard decisions of selecting vendors and suppliers are made. A chief executive officer might try to sensitize his people at the lower end to the policies of affirmative action. However, the people (in purchasing departments) will resist those efforts. Until you change the corporate culture and until you change the structure of power at the bottom, there will be always be deterrents to access to mainstream business.

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