Racial Makeup of Rose Parade Committee Raised as Issue

BLACK leaders have bitterly denounced top officials of the Rose Parade for saying their overwhelmingly white, male group would never use affirmative action to advance minorities.

"It's the old-boy network again," developer Jim Morris said.

The controversy arose after parade officials, including president Gary Hayward, were quoted as saying that promoting minorities who do not have seniority would destroy the group's morale. Black attorney Joe Hopkins said that the remarks were blatantly racist.

Officials of the century-old pageant said they're just following the organization's strict seniority system, which requires people to volunteer for years before being promoted to leadership positions.

All nine members of the executive committee and 28 of 29 committee chairmen are white men. The next seven presidents, already picked, are white men.

The group's leaders say few blacks or Hispanics have moved into leadership positions because few have volunteered.

Organizers said they would form an "ethnic diversity" committee in January to recruit minority volunteers and reach out to community leaders.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.