Organizations are making a lot of noise in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. It suddenly seems as though every major firm in America has their fist in the air for George Floyd.
But in many cases, it’s not a fist at all. It’s an open palm, waiting for us to drop cash into their suddenly ‘woke’ brand.
African-Americans have been oppressed for over 400 years, primarily for economic reasons. America has profited from their enslavement, their oppression, and their prison sentences.
Why not, then, turn the tables and stop supporting the businesses that have contributed to their oppression?
Here are seven such companies that you should think twice about supporting if you believe that black lives truly matter.
To understand Wal-Mart’s role in systemic oppression, you need to know about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
ALEC is a business that creates conservative bills and hands them over to legislatures to enact. Many of their laws line their partners’ pockets and oppress people of color.
Some bills they have enacted are:
ALEC is advised and funded by corporations like Koch Industries and, formerly, Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart profited immensely from the laws they helped enact. After stoking fear into Americans with laws like the “Stand-Your-Ground” act, Wal-Mart became known as the largest gun retailer in the world.
They raked in profits while communities of color were destroyed.
Even though Wal-Mart cut ties with ALEC in 2012, the Walton family continued to donate to the council.
AT&T is doing all the right things on the surface. In 2016, their CEO Randall Stephenson gave an impassioned speech on racial injustice.
When a person struggling with what’s been broadcast on our airwaves says, ‘black lives matter,’ we should not say ‘all lives matter’ to justify ignoring the real need for change.
Stephenson conveniently gave that speech one week before the explosive documentary ‘The 13th’ was released.
And yet, AT&T remained an active member of ALEC two years after that speech. Can we really trust such a company?
In 2016, one of Home Depot’s cofounders, Bernie Marcus, donated $7 million to Trump’s campaign. He recently said that he planned on donating to his 2020 reelection campaign.
Lowe’s, meanwhile, has an African-American CEO. They donated $25 million in grants for minority-owned businesses. Your hardware store choice shouldn’t be too difficult.
*Disclaimer: Marcus is retired from Home Depot and the company claims to give no money to presidential campaigns.
In 2017, L’Oréal fired black transgender model Munroe Bergdorf after she spoke out against white supremacy.
Now they’re on Instagram saying, “speaking out is worth it.”
In a fiery response, Bergdorf claims,
You dropped me from a campaign in 2017 and threw me to the wolves for speaking out about racism and white supremacy.
Take your business to companies like Glossier instead.
This is the most obvious company in opposition to Black Lives Matter on the list. And yet, they’ve started posturing as allies.
How many billions of dollars would Fox have to donate to undo the damage they’ve done to the black community? How much money have they donated?
So far, it appears to be none.
The same organization that blacklisted Colin Kaepernick for protesting police brutality is now claiming that black lives matter.
Until they force the Washington Redskins to change their name, let’s assume it’s just lip service.
Amazon is a bit more complicated. While Jeff Bezos is no saint, he’s far from the worst tech billionaire out there. He’s issued several statements in support of Black Lives Matter.
However, Amazon has been accused of promoting discrimination through its home security app Ring.
They’ve been accused of selling facial recognition products to police that disproportionately misidentifies black faces.
85% of their black employees hold unskilled jobs, many in warehouses, where worker mistreatment has been well-documented.
After holding out for years, one of the richest companies on Earth just announced it would donate $10 million to social justice organizations.
While it’s a start, Amazon can do much better.
Support local businesses whenever possible and research the companies you invest in. If they don’t support all of us, then we shouldn’t support them. And, sadly, they won’t listen until we speak with our wallets.