by Gray Graham
It was not long ago in the business world and probably the general public, no one would expect an international corporation to issue public statements about current social issues. After all businesses exist only to make money, they are not created to have morals.
Of course this was never true. A business is nothing more than an individual or group of people that use their collective resources to increase their wealth. The policies of nations have always been decided by those with wealth who use that wealth to influence what decisions their leaders made. This has been the case throughout human history.
So it should come as no surprise that companies today quickly issue statements against sexism and racism. They know that for a lot of their clients and employees these statements provide a level of dedication that can not be achieved any other way. They are also aware that the opposite is true and a number of clients will be turned off by these messages and no longer do business with them. I am sure a lot of office meetings with a lot of sweating have happened the past couple of years trying to decide; to speak or stay silent.
The other side of this coin are those public figures that have a very loud opinion on just about everything the instant it happens but when the world is discussing a topic like say racism they are strangely silent. So many people like this lack the courage to embrace their current unpopular opinion. We all can pretty much guess where they stand on the current issue, but until they speak we can only speculate but their silence speaks volumes.
Now do I put much value into companies making these big proclamations in support of social issues? No. I am much too cynical for that. Even though I am old enough to remember that my boss would drop the n-word when addressing me, I am not naive enough to believe that this many hearts have changed in that short of time. I know that companies are making these statements because they believe it is good business not necessarily because they believe in them.
So do you really want a company to make a hollow statement or would you prefer they just kept on doing business as usual? I have seen plenty of companies issue statements that I know do not support the cause they just said they did. For instance you can not be a cosmetics company that issues a statement saying you support Black Lives Matter but then have no products for Black women.
This is probably why it takes protests in the streets and threats of boycotts to get a statement out of most companies. In a country like ours where everything from fighting a pandemic to kids watching TV is a political issue, companies are always caught between a rock and a hard place, which begs the question do we really want our companies taking a stand on social issues? It’s great when you see some support what you believe but not so great when you see them support the other side.
It has always been my belief that good people shine through and you can find them anywhere. I have worked for companies that had nice corporate slogans and mission statements that were as bad as you can be. I have worked at companies that never said anything about anything but making a profit that had some of the best people I have ever known working there.
At the end of the day actions speak louder than words. Having your PR person issue a statement that gets you likes and retweets for a week is one thing. Firing a high profile employee as soon as they do something immoral or making a policy in support of civil rights that you know is going to upset the majority of your customers says a lot more. Let’s pray for and work with the people that control businesses to show them that they are not separate from society but an integral part of who we are as human beings.
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