Corporate Personhood and the Corporate Responsibility to Race
Often overlooked in studies of the corporation is the recognition that the modern corporate form and its power are rooted in the issue of race, and more specifically, in racial oppression. The racialized roots of the corporation become exposed when we acknowledge the significance of slavery and the Fourteenth Amendment to the evolution of the corporate form along with the discriminatory role corporations have traditionally played in shaping race relations in the U.S. This article draws upon several theoretical perspectives, primarily critical race theory, management theory, legal studies, diversity management, and corporate social responsibility to introduce the corporate responsibility to race concept and establish it as a new basis for understanding why corporate persons have a responsibility for improving race relations.
KeywordsCorporate social responsibility Corporate personhood Race Public relations
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
Nneka Logan declares that she has no conflict of interest.
Research Involving Human and Animal Participants
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the author.
- Alexander, M. (2012). The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New York: The New Press.Google Scholar
- Aljalian, N. (1999). The Fourteenth Amendment and personhood: Fact or fiction. St. John’s Law Review, 73(2), 495–540.Google Scholar
- Allen, B. J. (2011). Difference matters: Communicating social identity. Long Grove: Waveland Press, Inc.Google Scholar
- Bell, D. A. Jr. (1995). Racial realism. In K. Crenshaw, N. Gotanda, G. Peller & K. Thomas (Eds.), Critical race theory: The key writings that formed the movement (pp. 302–312). New York: The New Press.Google Scholar
- Ben, & Jerry’s. (2016). Why black lives matter. Retrieved from http://www.benjerry.com/whats-new/2016/why-black-lives-matter. Retrieved 15 Jan 2017.
- Black Lives Matter. (n.d.). About. Retrieved from https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/. Retrieved 15 Jan 2017.
- Blackmon, D. A. (2008). Slavery by another name: The Re-enslavement of black Americans from the Civil War to World War II. New York: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
- Carr, A. (2015). The inside story of Starbucks’s Race Together campaign, no foam. Fast Company. Retrieved from http://www.fastcompany.com/3046890/the-inside-story-of-starbuckss-racetogether-campaign-no-foam. Retrieved 13 Jan 2015.
- Collins, C. W. (1912). The Fourteenth amendment and the states. Boston: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
- Donnella, L. (2016). Does it matter when a white CEO says ‘black lives matter’? NPR. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2016/11/10/499633977/does-it-matter-when-a-white-ceo-says-black-lives-matter. Retrieved 20 Jan 2017.
- Dred Scott v. John F. A. Sanford (1857). 60 U.S. 393.Google Scholar
- Dunaway, W. A. (2003). Slavery in the American mountain south. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Elkington, J. (1999). Cannibals with forks: The triple bottom line of the 21st century business. Oxford: Capstone.Google Scholar
- Fields, J. (2016). AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson addresses the Racial Tension in American Society. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThO74-oFt_Q&t=204s. Retrieved 20 Jan 2017.
- Foner, P. S., & Lewis, R. L. (Eds.). (1989). Black workers: A documentary history from colonial times to the present, Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
- Fung, B. (2016). Watch AT&T’s CEO give a forceful defense of Black Lives Matter. Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2016/09/30/watch-atts-ceo-give-a-forceful-defense-of-black-lives-matter/?utm_term=.5ed8fbaa0f9f. Retrieved 20 Jan 2017.
- Graham, H. J. (1968). Everyman’s constitution: Historical essays on the Fourteenth Amendment, the ‘conspiracy theory’, and American constitutionalism. Madison, WI: Madison State Historical Society of Wisconsin.Google Scholar
- Greenfield, K. (2001). Competing conceptions of corporate personhood. Stanford Agora: An online journal of legal perspectives, 2(1). Retrieved from http://agora.stanford.edu/agora/libArticles2/agora2v1.pdf. Retrieved 12 Dec 2015.
- Harris, C. (1995). Whiteness as property. In K. Crenshaw, N. Gotanda, G. Peller & K. Thomas (Eds.), Critical race theory: The key writings that formed the movement (pp. 276–291). New York: The New Press.Google Scholar
- Horwitz, M. J. (1985). Santa Clara revisited: The development of corporate theory. West Virginia Law Review, 88, 193–224.Google Scholar
- Judge, M. (2016). AT&T CEO Delivers rousing speech on racial tension in American society.The Root. Retrieved from: https://www.theroot.com/at-t-ceo-delivers-rousing-speech-on-racial-tension-in-a-1790857039.
- Kolakowski, L. (2005). Main currents of Marxism: The founders; the golden age; the breakdown. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.Google Scholar
- Kornweibel, T. Jr. (2010). Railroads in the African American experience: A photographic journey. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
- Lukács, Y. (1923). History and class consciousness (Livingstone, R., Trans.). London: Merlin Press, 1967. Retrieved from http://marxists.org/archive/lukacs/works/history/index.htm. Retrieved 15 Jan 2017.
- Lund, J. (2015). We went to Starbucks to talk to baristas about race. Rolling Stone. Retrieved from https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/we-went-to-starbucks-to-talk-to-baristas-about-race-20150320. Retrieved 6 Apr 2015.
- Magliocca, G. N. (2013). American founding son: John Bingham and the invention of the fourteenth amendment. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
- McAdam, D. (1982). Political process and the development of black insurgency: 1930–1970. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Million, D. (2001). Competing conceptions of corporate personhood. Stanford Agora: An online journal of legal perspectives, 2(1). Retrieved from http://agora.stanford.edu/agora/libArticles2/agora2v1.pdf. Retrieved 12 Dec 2015.
- Mills, C. W. (2004). Racial exploitation and the wages of whiteness. In G. Yancy (Ed.), What white looks like: African-American philosophers on the question of whiteness (pp. 25–54). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Moore, D., & Mitchell, M. (2006). Black codes in Georgia. Atlanta: The APEX Museum.Google Scholar
- Nkomo, S. M. (1992). The emperor has no clothes: Rewriting “race in organizations. Academy of Management Review, 17(3), 487–513.Google Scholar
- Northup, S. (1853/2014). Twelve years a slave. Los Angeles: Graymalkin Media. (Original work published in 1853).Google Scholar
- Pearce, N. (2015). The discrimination debate: Why it hurt Starbucks, but worked for Apple. Fortune. Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2015/04/03/the-discrimination-debate-why-it-hurt-starbucks-but-worked-for-apple/. Retrieved 6 Apr 2015.
- Porter, M. E., & Kramer, M. R. (2006). Strategy & society: The link between competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility. Harvard Business Review, 84(12), 78–92.Google Scholar
- Porter, M. E., & Kramer, M. R. (2011). Creating shared value. Harvard Business Review, 89(1–2), 62–77.Google Scholar
- Race Forward (n.d.). About Race Forward. Retrieved from https://www.raceforward.org/about. Retrieved 1 Dec 2017.
- Rosenthal, C. (2016). Slavery’s scientific management: Masters and managers. In S. Beckert & S. Rockman (Eds.), Slavery’s capitalism: A new history of American economic development. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
- Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company. (1886). 118 U.S. 394.Google Scholar
- Slaughterhouse Cases, 83 U.S. 16 Wall. 36 (1873).Google Scholar
- Smith, T. A. (2001). Competing conceptions of corporate personhood. Stanford Agora: An online journal of legal perspectives, 2(1). Retrieved from http://agora.stanford.edu/agora/libArticles2/agora2v1.pdf. Retrieved 12 Dec 2015.
- Stiller, R. (1972). Broken promises: The strange history of the Fourteenth Amendment. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
- Thomas, H. (1997). The slave trade: The story of the Atlantic slave trade 1440–1870. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks.Google Scholar
- U.S. Const., amend. XIV (n.d). Retrieved from https://www.senate.gov/civics/constitution_item/constitution.htm#amdt_14_(1868). Retrieved 1 Dec 2017.
- Waymer, D. (2010). Does public relations scholarship have a place in race? In R. L. Heath (Ed.), The SAGE handbook of public relations (pp. 205–222). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Woodward, C. V. (2002). The strange career of Jim Crow. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Zinn, H. (2010). A people’s history of the United States. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics.Google Scholar