Why Corporate Wokeness?

The left is more adept than the right at getting its way with corporate America. Witness the spate of “wokeness” at the largest corporations and the kowtowing to threats by the left. Many large Georgia firms condemned the changes in the state’s voting law after being threatened by the left – even though some had previously voiced no opposition to the law. Consider also the number of firms that have incorporated Critical Race Theory into their training programs even though there is no evidence that such training changes behavior. America’s woke corporations read like a who’s who: Twitter, Facebook, Disney, Nike, Coca-Cola, the NBA, the NFL, PayPal, Starbucks and many others. Firms are advertising using transgender and homosexual themes. In a market-oriented economy, one would think that these ads must be directed at the entire market since so few people are either transgender or homosexual. The question is why? Perhaps it is because “discrimination” as a toxic concept has been thoroughly ingrained in our society’s psyche. Corporations do not want to be labeled as being discriminatory toward minorities. First this was racial minorities, then religious minorities and now sexual preference minorities. Being perceived as discriminatory is bad for business, so corporate America puts on a nondiscriminatory, all are equal, face even if it is a façade. Ask these corporations if wokeness extends to the boardroom or the C-suite or the workforce. Sure there will be some minorities present but are they in positions of power? Maybe but, in most firms, not likely. More fundamentally does wokeness extend to the leaders of the corporations’ personal life – their church, their neighborhood, the schools for their children? Again, not likely. Wokeness is do what I say – not do what I do. Wokeness is trying to impose changes on our language with pronouns being put under the signatures of many academic administrators, eliminating gender-specific pronouns and even trying to force Latinos to call themselves “LatinX’.

Another reason for corporate wokeness is that the “social justice” mantra has taken hold amongst the young, educated cohort with the most purchasing power. That group has embraced wokeness and has given it the appropriate clucking noises. Corporate America has listened and feels that showing social awareness is good for the bottom line. Why else has Nike embraced Colin Kaepernick? Nike obviously believes that it will gain more young customers than it loses in old fogies. It was correct. Marketing surveys report that the Kaepernick ads resulted in a net 28% positive impact on the brand. Michael Jordan once said in response to why he was silent on social justice issues that “Republicans buy tennis shoes too”. But since Jordan’s shoes are a Nike product, then Nike can have it both ways, with the young crowd buying Nikes and the older folks buying Jordans.

In our local Knoxville market, the loud left is grousing over the temerity of some prominent local businesses to actively promote more business-friendly elected officials. Knoxville’s left is advocating boycotting their businesses. The question they make the businesses cower. I guess they assume if they yell and whine loudly enough that they will get their way. As for me, I will patronize these merchants even more. But of course I gave up my membership when Costco canceled my favorite pimento cheese when its owner said truthful things about Black Lives Matter. I had no impact on Costco and hopefully Knoxville’s left will have no impact either. 

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