In the wake of the recent efforts of the All Black Lives Matter movement (I’m a firm believer in saying ALL because of the gross dismissal of black LGBT persons who are dual targets due to racism and homophobia), a huge movement has manifested, one which impacts all facets of American life. Frustrated by on-going inequalities, the COVID-19 crisis (which has put so many people out of work), more tensions and problems are arising. No aspect of these situations is helped by our racist commander-in-chief who seeks to divide us instead of bringing us together.
Policies both on the local and national level are currently being reviewed as people are demanding more accountability and changes to address these longstanding inequalities and the need for public support. However, for the sake of this article, I won’t be discussing those because personally, I don’t see major reforms happening anytime soon with our current president in charge.
What I want to talk about are the sweeping changes already happening with American businesses. Motivated by the calls for change, many businesses are being held accountable to act or scared they might eventually lose credibility (and customers). As a result, they are jumping on the All Black Lives Matter movement.
Here are just some of my personal favorites:
Fox canceled the TV show Cops after 33 years of being on the air. This show is as old as I am! Folks even came after Paw Patrol too!
Netflix and Hulu are promoting black TV shows and movies, in addition to announcing their intentions to work with black creators.
Companies like Reddit and Twitter donating money to All Black Lives Matter and related causes or even making Juneteenth a paid holiday.
ABC is FINALLY giving us a black man as The Bachelor. Honestly, I hate that show but okay, I guess.
Starbucks, you know that place with terrible and overpriced coffee? The one whose former CEO thought it was a good idea to have your barista talk to you about race? Now, Starbucks is allowing its employees to wear All Black Lives Matter gear at work.
Nascar, that sport no black person actually cares about, FINALLY, after like 1,000 years, is banning the Confederate Flag.
And as I was typing this, I got a notification from the New York Times reporting that the company that owns Aunt Jemina maple syrup is looking to finally change both the name and image. If you know anything about Aunt Jemina, then you know why she has always been problematic as a figure.
I am not even kidding, even websites like Porn Hub (don’t ask me how I know this) are showing their support for the All Black Lives Matter movement. It’s insane and nauseating.
As all of this is going on, I am sitting in the corner, shrugging my shoulders as my face reflects a mixture of assessment, confusion, and meh. You might be asking yourself, “Damn Jessica! Why are you such a hater?”
I can’t commend the efforts of these companies and I refuse to be convinced into doing so. Why?
Because the last time I checked, issues like police brutality, access to healthcare, affordable housing, quality education, and family-supporting jobs didn’t just magically occur in 2020. I am pretty sure about that, but I will confer with my parents to make sure. And these issues won’t go away just because somebody changed a maple syrup bottle or TV show.
And just a friendly reminder, just as recently as LAST YEAR, many people and companies who now bark about their support for All Black Lives Matter wouldn’t even touch it wearing a mask, gloves, and a hazmat suit!
The question instead we all ask ourselves is, why? Why all the changes now? Money. Plain and simple. These companies are trying to attract black dollars, but more importantly, they are fighting amongst each to show what company is the most “woke.” Hell, you know it's gotten crazy when a porn company throws itself into the mix!
I refuse to be complacent. Companies need to be held accountable to real, long-term change and it will be very telling to see what companies keep this same energy six months from now, a year from now, even two years from now.
To that end, here is just a small list of ways companies can actually support the All Black Lives Matter Movement aside from just posting about it on social media.
Be intentional when it comes to hiring black employees
Understand what retention means, why it matters, and how to achieve it
Culture fit is BS
Fix your internal toxic culture
Fire problematic employees
Engage your black employees, listen, and learn from them
Offer them real opportunities for growth and development
Promote more black professionals to leadership and executive roles
We need to hold all businesses accountable to anti-racism all day every day and not become complacent because we are finally seeing a black bachelor. There’s a lot of work to be done.