A Memo to tone-deaf JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon
If JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon was really serious about fighting racism, his next memo would be sent to the owners of the Golden State Warriors about their unpaid $40 million debt owed to a Black Oakland, CA community. (UPDATE: Warriors paid up by order of California State Supreme Court order on 5/24/21).
Apparently, Dimon has no problem paying $200 million for the naming rights on a $1.3 billion basketball arena that was moved from a Black Oakland community, 11 miles to a White community across the bay in San Francisco.
Would this same CEO who is embarrassed about a New York Times article calling out racism in his bank write a memo “disgusted” with his bank’s name associated with stiffing a Black community?
Dimon sent a memo to all his employees in response to an embarrassing New York Times article titled, “This is What Racism Sounds Like in the Banking Industry.” The article detailed his bank’s racist and discriminatory practices in several Phoenix, Arizona branches.
As a Black man who has heard more than enough White rhetoric on how best to fight racism in America, I feel qualified to send a memo to JPMorgan’s CEO.
What Black person is gullible enough to place their hard-earned money in a bank that believes a memo from its CEO can slowdown the racist, hateful, or discriminatory culture of its employees?
A bolder act is in order but I’m not holding by Black breath.
In my experience fighting racism, convincing all those opposed to racism in a memo to employees, JPMorgan Chase takes this issue serious is akin to pressing the snooze button.
Not only is Jamie Dimon just another clueless, or tone-deaf CEO doing all the wrong things to address racism, in my opinion, he has unintentionally insulted the intelligence of any Black person who read his clueless and tone-deafness memo. And I say that with knowledge of his efforts to help Blacks attend college.
Notwithstanding the crumbs many large banks hand out in support of struggling communities of this great nation, which I do appreciate, there is a bigger memo needed to make an everlasting statement from the nation’s largest bank.
The JPMorgan Chase name is on several arenas and stadiums in this nation for a financial reason. So, to show little or no respect for even a former professional athlete who happens to be a Black man is noted. And if JPMorgan Chase is the biggest bank, it should take on a leading role in the fight against racism.
The New York Times reported acts caught on an audiotape of how JPMorgan Chase treats both Black employees and customers. Former NFL player Jimmy Kennedy experienced discrimination by a Phoenix, Arizona branch of the bank. Seeking “Private client” status for those who make large deposits, Kennedy was denied such treatment and benefits. As explained by his banker Charles Belton, who is also Black, Kennedy was denied due to his color and “size” (a big Black man). For how he was treated, Kennedy has taken most of his $800,000 out of JPMorgan Chase and is suing.
Kennedy’s financial advisor, Ricardo Peters said, he too was a victim of discrimination as an employee of JPMorgan Chase. His time at JPMorgan Chase is a sobering read in the New York Times article. Peters is no longer with the company. He was fired.
In responding to the fire set by the New York Times piece, Dimon sent out a weak and clueless memo. His memo began, “Dear colleagues, I am disgusted by racism and hate in any form. Any such behavior — explicit or veiled, deliberate or unconscious — is unacceptable and does not reflect who we are as a company and how we serve our clients and communities every day…”
Juxtapose his memo with my unsuccessful two-year effort to stop a racist $1.3 billion San Francisco arena project that bares the name, “Chase Center.” Dimon proudly spent $200 million for the naming rights of a project, which took from a proud but struggling Black Oakland, CA community, and gave to a new White San Francisco community.
Though San Francisco City Hall was the mastermind behind this theft, the fingerprints of JPMorgan Chase are clearly visible as an accomplice.
And though I believe any owner of a professional sports team should have the right to move to wherever its investors can make the most profit, the new Golden State Warriors arena in San Francisco called, “Chase Center” has the stench of racism.
I invested more than $70,000 in donations to shine light on what many well-thinking people from both Oakland and San Francisco saw as not a “Business deal but a racist deal.
My failed campaign was supported by 98,000 San Francisco voters. But 131,000 San Francisco voters supported coveting from a neighbor.
I cried foul with several good arguments as a Warriors basketball fan who has lived in San Francisco since 1960. San Francisco has a $10 billion a year tourism industry verses Oakland’s $800 million. If we have so much already why should we be taking from our less fortunate neighbor? And personally, you can’t make me a bigger fan by moving the team 11 miles closer to me. A world-class city helps its neighbors, it does not help itself to its neighbor’s jewels.
Adding insult to injury, the Golden State Warriors are still trying to weasel out of an arbitration ruling to pay the city of Oakland and the county some $40 million in unpaid upgrades to their former Oracle Arena home in Oakland, CA. If the name JPMorgan Chase is not to be associated with racism and discrimination how is stealing money from a struggling community less of a sign of hate and greed?
Furthermore, San Francisco acted un-neighborly due to the 47-year history that the NBA franchise had in Oakland. In 1971 San Francisco forced the team out of its first West Coast home of San Francisco when it reneged on building a basketball arena at the time.
I do not expect Jamie Dimon to know of the politics of a basketball arena anywhere. But you do not need eyes to see any racial issue when the owners of the Golden State Warriors moved from a struggling Black community to an affluent White community across the bay in San Francisco. Common sense says the move was either racism, greed, or both.
Dimon ended the memo: “We will use this moment as an opportunity to do better — as leaders, as employees, and as human beings.” In other words, roll over and go back to sleep.
This memo is a bald-faced lie if JPMorgan Chase continues to associate the good name of JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in America, with the racist act of theft from a Black community.
And though I don’t think Dimon’s should be writing any memos on this subject, I challenge this bank CEO to write his next memo to the owners of the Golden State Warriors about a loan to pay off their $40 million past due debt to the City of Oakland, CA.