Although many companies are making statements of solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter posts, not all companies out there seem genuinely concerned. The desire for profit often supersedes that of basic human rights for Black men and women. Below are five companies which have either remained silent, have been pressured by people to change their stance, or have taken a hypocritical stance given their current corporate policies toward their workers. With so many other businesses to support — including Black-owned businesses — why spend your hard-earned coins at establishments like these?
Late last Thursday afternoon, BuzzFeed News reported on an internal memo circulated to Starbucks employees prohibiting them from wearing their own Black Lives Matter attire to work. Some reasons cited were dress code violations, the company’s prohibition of political attire and an argument “that wearing clothing and accessories highlighting Black Lives Matter could be misunderstood and potentially incite violence.” In response to the backlash, Starbucks has now changed its tune. A new memo was issued to employees welcoming them to “[w]ear your BLM pin or t-shirt.” Let’s choose companies that value Black lives over profits. Think local for your next caffeine kick.
The Daily Mail reports that former employees in the Canadian and U.S. store locations have taken to social media to call out the companies racial profiling tactics. Apparently, management instructed employees to watch Black customers, and to identify them using the code word “Nick.” Social media has also seen former customers claim they were followed by employees while shopping at the fashion retail chain.
Although its social media presence reflects solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter, Amazon’s history as a company makes their claim that they support Black lives really problematic. Some of the complaints lodged against the company are poor working conditions at warehouses, selling facial recognition software to U.S. law enforcement, selling racist literature, and allowing racist abuse in product images, just to name a few. Most — if not all — of your Amazon shopping can be redirected to local businesses.
After Mike Bloomberg’s disastrous Democratic presidential run this year, one might wonder why anyone would chose his media conglomerate as their news source. This Washington Post op-ed defending his “Stop and Frisk” program really says it all. With an estimated $60 billion net worth, Bloomberg has yet to make any monetary donations to support #BlackLivesMatter.
Former Reddit CEO Ellen K. Pao said it best when she called the company out on allowing Donald Trump to promote messages of hate, violence, and racism which very clearly negatively impact Black men and women. Even before Trump’s presidency, Reddit has allowed entire subreddits dedicated to posting racist content. It’s hard to see the company’s new stance as sincere given their history of protecting hate speech and racist content.