Rev. Jackson slams Silicon Valley

Says his Rainbow Coalition will mount shareholder pressure on companies with eyes to the future but hiring practices from the past.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson paid a visit to Silicon Valley on Monday, and the former presidential candidate, famous Civil Rights figure and outspoken activist didn't pull any punches.

Jackson said technology has created a digital divide, and he's urging Silicon Valley companies to put low-tech workers in high-tech jobs, people of color on their payroll and attract minorities to their boards of directors.

Otherwise, the Rainbow Coalition will put the pressure on their pursestrings by buying stock in certain high tech companies that have, he said, their eyes on the future, but practice hiring policies from the past.

"I listen to the top Silicon Valley types and I sense a kind of oozing ideology that must be addressed," he said. "Those who are not qualified are qualifiable, but, when it comes to high tech, it's as if they have to have some special kind of gene."

Not everyone agrees., "I think he really doesn't know what he's talking about," declared T.J. Rodgers, the CEO of Cypress Semiconductor Corp., a chipmaker headquartered in San Jose, Calif. "Silicon Valley is the most unpredjudiced places I've ever been. To fly in and make bunch of noise, then fly out is a usless exercise."