US corporations have now taken a stand on the cultural issues surrounding the unjust death of George Floyd, but some have received backlash by their own employees for not doing enough.
US corporations have sent off a flurry of statements of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, with some pledging more than $1.7 billion in effort to apparently advance racial injustice and equity.
But many social justice warriors have come down hard on these corporations for not doing enough, despite their being outspoken and pledging large amounts of money. Some have even insisted that companies focus on "equity" when it comes to hiring and promoting minority workers.
This position by the social justice advocates has been heavily criticized in the past by neglecting to determine someone's viability within a company based on talent or qualification, but rather based on immutable qualities.
According to Reuters, major companies including Nike Inc., Comcast Corp., and Warner Music Group Corp. have announced substantial gifts to advance racial justice amid the protests over the wrongful death of Floyd.
Bank of America has pledged $1 billion over a period of four years in an effort to address racial and economic inequality. More than a dozen other large companies have announced gifts between $1 million and $100 million for similar efforts.
"Our Black community is hurting, and many of us are searching for ways to stand up for what we believe," Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google parent Alphabet Inc., said.
Companies are now facing pressure from investors, consumers, and workers to take the lead on issues that range from climate change to gun control to immigration and racial inequity.
“It’s good for their own employees to hear this, because especially their younger employees are part of a generational group that cares more about these issues,” Francis Byrd, a corporate governance consultant in New York, said.
Adidas is one company that has recently come under fire for apparently not doing enough to address the inequity within the workplace.
Adidas hires black people to help it “connect with the black consumer,” said Aric Armon, an Adidas footwear designer, who has worked for the company for 7 years. He said that it has been difficult for black people to move up within the company. “It really becomes evident that we’re just kind of there for our insights and not necessary for leadership,” he said in an interview.
Nike and Adidas have faced criticism on Twitter for not backing up their politically correct statements with financial contributions or hardline anti-racist statements.
When asked for a response to the criticisms, a Nike spokesperson said, “Nike has a long history of standing against bigotry, hatred and inequality in all forms. We hope that by sharing this film we can serve as a catalyst to inspire action against a deep issue in our society and encourage people to help shape a better future.”
Adidas did not comment on its retweet of Nike's video.
Reebok has taken a similar approach, by posting what could be considered a sentimental photo on Instagram that, in part, read: "We are not asking you to buy our shoes. We are asking you to walk in someone else's."
Many activists, again, do not feel that this kind of marketing is enough to really address the issues facing America.
Three decades ago, the landscape for companies to take a stand on social issues was almost non-existent, whereas now the "socially and politically astute" Gen-Zers and millennials aim to force brands to take a stand on issues involving race, gender, and sexuality, often through social media.
Employees appear to be in support of their own company going under if they do not live up to the political stances expected of them.